The flanker is learning from top back-rows like Hamish Watson and Viliame Mata at Edinburgh

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Scotland U20 captain Connor Boyle

Date of birth 19 February 2000 Born Livingston Position Openside Club Watsonians Country Scotland

Where did it all start for you?

I went to school at Stewart’s Melville in Edinburgh, then started playing for Watsonians. I’m in the Edinburgh Academy now and I’m lucky to train with brilliant back-rows Monday to Friday. As an openside flanker, I’m not short on guys I can learn from. The problem is how do I get past them and get some game time.

You won’t turn 20 until February, you’ve got time…

Yeah, I’m in a great place. Richard Cockerill says work hard and know your detail and the chance will come. I got to play London Scottish in a pre-season friendly, but I’d like a few first-team games in 2020. That’s one of the ambitions. Cockers doesn’t have a problem putting in younger guys. I just have to make sure I’m ready.

And your other ambitions?

I was captain of Scotland U20 last year and we had some challenges. The Six Nations was tough for us (they won one game) and so was the World Cup (they got relegated). It was a massive honour leading my country but we didn’t perform the way we wanted to. I had to deal with that and put it behind me.

That tournament highlighted to me what I needed to work on. I think I became too focused on the physical side of my game and as a team we probably didn’t spend enough time working on the technical side, the skill-set side.

Have you always been a back-row?

I was a prop for a while when I was younger but back-row is the position I love the most. Openside is where I’m happiest. I like being involved in everything. I’m not the biggest No 7 so growing up I always looked at Michael Hooper and, more locally, I looked at Hamish Watson and John Hardie. ‘Mish is incredible. He just wants to dominate his opposite man.

What do you outside rugby?

I’m studying business management at Heriot-Watt University so between that and rugby it’s full-on. I used to play guitar in a band but I don’t have time anymore.

RW VERDICT: A Scotland U18 and U20 captain, he’s clearly a leader with a pretty dynamic game. He’s learning every day from the likes of Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie, John Barclay and Bill Mata. One to look out for.

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Rugby World magazine.

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