Find out more about Callum McLelland, the teenager who has crossed codes from league to union and is already representing Scotland U20
Scotland U20 fly-half Callum McLelland
Date of birth 16 September 1999 Born Pontefract, W Yorks Club Edinburgh Country Scotland Position Fly-half
How did you get involved in rugby?
I first played union when I was five at Castleford and was there until I was 12. Then I decided to play league as there’s always contact and it’s the part of the game I enjoyed most.
Talk through your progress in league…
I was training with the Castleford Tigers development team from the age of 13. It was massive for me as where I’m from is heavily rugby league.
I played England U15s and U16s, and captained them. At my first England camp no one knew who I was, so to then be told I’d be captain was a massive achievement. Then I was with the Castleford pro team.
You joined Edinburgh in November. Why the switch to union?
Because of the amount of avenues you can go down. Rugby union is massive in many countries whereas league is in England and Australia, with a couple of teams in New Zealand and France.
I’m still young and by making the switch now I can develop my skill-set. I want to test myself.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Being away from home. Not having my family around is tough and I’m living on my own for the first time.
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Did you expect to play for Scotland U20 so quickly?
Alan Tait scouted me and talked to my agent about it. He said there was a possibility of playing this year but definitely next year. I wasn’t expecting to start the first game of the Six Nations! That was a huge shock.
What’s your link with Scotland?
My grandad was from Ayr. He passed away a couple of months before I was born, but we’ve always stayed in close contact with our family in Ayr and go up a few times a year. It’s not as if I’ve just realised and got a bit of an interest.
What are your strengths?
Manipulating defences. In league it’s the main thing the half-back and stand-off have to do, so I’ve brought that.
What do you do away from rugby?
I’m doing a part-time college course in sport. Being full-time it’s tough to keep up, but I’d like to go to uni in a couple of years. I’d probably do something like physiology. I want to stay in sport, be that coaching, strength and conditioning, physiotherapy…
RW VERDICT: McLelland had only been in union for two months when picked to start Scotland’s opening U20 Six Nations games – at fly-half and centre. He has the ambition to succeed in this code, with the U20 World Cup his next goal.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Rugby World magazine. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.