Jamie Hodgson: Scotland call would cap breakthrough season for young lock

It’s not been a vintage season for Edinburgh by any means but the emergence of Jamie Hodgson has offered a sign of better things to come for the capital club.

Jamie Hodgson signed his first full professional contract with Edinburgh in January. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

The Livingston-born second row has enjoyed a run in the team and impressed sufficiently to be offered his first full-time professional contract in January.

The 23-year-old has played 13 games this season, including his European debut in the away win over Sale Sharks just before Christmas, arguably Edinburgh’s most impressive result of the season.

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A former Scotland under-20 international, he is reluctant to talk himself up for a full cap but admits he has ambitions to play for his country.

Jamie Hodgson played for Edinburgh in the recent derby matches against Glasgow. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

Mike Blair will announce a Scotland squad on Tuesday for the A international with England and full Tests against Romania and Georgia and it is likely to include a host of new faces. With Blair taking charge while Gregor Townsend is on Lions duty, there will likely be a youthful feel to the selection and the chance for some fringe players to stake a claim.

The welcome return of the A team is a further opportunity for experimentation.

“I’m only concentrating on the next two games and finishing off the season with Edinburgh,” said Hodgson. “But going away with Scotland is something I’d be very keen to do if I got the call-up.

“Second row is a very competitive position, especially in Scottish rugby. There’s a lot of very good players there. Jonny Gray was unlucky not to be included on the Lions tour and is probably one of the next in line. And there are other big names in the second row.

“Every professional player always dreams of representing their country and any step closer to doing so would be amazing. That Scotland A game against England would be a great experience and good to train with whoever is selected.

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“I played under-20s with Scotland which was great. We don’t play A games that often. So it’s good to have that fixture back in there for some of the guys who are maybe looking to bridge the gap between the national team and under-20s. That’s a target for some of them to try to hit.”

Hodgson originally joined Edinburgh on a partnership contract which meant his time was split between the pro team and the Watsonians Super6 side. When the latter competition was suspended around the time of the first lockdown Hodgson wondered if his chances would be limited but he has taken the step up and forced his way into Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill’s squad.

“I think I played about 13 games this year and I made my European debut as well,” said the lock. “And there have been a lot of derby games too. That’s been amazing for me and my development.

“At the start of the season I was looking at my position and wondering how much game time I was going to get. But the circumstances have meant I’ve played a fair amount and I like to think I’ve taken that opportunity and proven what I can do. Hopefully I’ve put my name in the frame to play next year.

“There was a period when I first came into Edinburgh when I was in the academy and didn’t know if I was going to get kept on. And then I was on a partnership contract, training hard or holding the pad and then playing club rugby at the weekend. And you were thinking if there were maybe other things to do and that maybe it wasn’t for me.

“But I stuck in there and have been given my opportunity. All the experience I’ve gained this year will definitely help me in the future. I’d like to think I could become a senior player in the Edinburgh team and stay at the club.”

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