He’s the latest rising rugby star from the Graham family – meet back-row Guy

Newcastle and Scotland U20 back-row Guy Graham

Date of birth 29 August 1998 Born Stirling Club Newcastle Country Scotland Position Back-row

When did you first play rugby?

I started playing at Carlisle when I was six or seven, worked my way up through the colts and made the first team at 17. My dad and my brothers played, so I thought I may as well give it a go.

Was it competitive in your family with three brothers?

Definitely – everything’s a competition in this household. George is the oldest, then Gary and Greg. It was tough as the youngest but it helped me in the long run.

Have you always played in the back row?

No, I started as a hooker. It wasn’t until I was with the Carlisle first team that I moved to the back row. Originally I was a six and then I went to seven.

Talk us through your progress…

It’s got crazy this year! I was in the first team at Carlisle, then I was picked for Hawick. I played for a Borders representative side and got picked for Scotland U20 for the Six Nations and World Cup.

How did you link up with Newcastle?

My brother (Gary) gave me a mention! They took notice of me in the Six Nations and called me in. Dean Richards said: “What do you think of playing for us next year?” I was gobsmacked.

What were you doing before the Falcons deal?

I worked in construction. I’m a groundworker by trade. I started an apprenticeship after school and have been doing it ever since. It means I appreciate it that little bit more and it’ll be different playing rugby week in, week out.

What are your strengths?

The basics – turnovers, ball-carrying and running hard.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

My dad, who was capped for Scotland, and Gary, when you look at what he’s achieved in such a short time.

So is it England or Scotland for you?

I don’t know to be fair, I’ll see what comes. Scotland is my first choice but if England comes up before then…

We’re all passionate Scots but it’s a huge achievement to get in the England squad (as Gary did last season), so we’re proud of him.

Who were your childhood heroes?

Probably my dad. Obviously he played a bit before I could watch, but in the house there were caps everywhere and he’d talk about his memories. It was an inspiration.

RW VERDICT: A great pedigree, with dad George a former Scotland prop and brother Gary standing out for Newcastle. Having Gary at Falcons will help Guy settle into pro rugby and he’s hoping to push for game time in the Premiership.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 edition of Rugby World.

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