Matt Currie: Centre to seize 'surreal but cool' Scotland chance as he flourishes under Mark Bennett's wing

Matt Currie knows that this summer’s Scotland tour to South America will be an excellent learning experience, but the 21-year-old centre insists that he is not going to settle for being a peripheral observer when it comes to match-days.

Matt Currie says it has been a 'surreal' experience being in the Scotland camp.
Matt Currie says it has been a 'surreal' experience being in the Scotland camp.

Gregor Townsend’s squad flew out to Santiago on Sunday and will play four matches during the next month, starting with a non-cap game against Chile this coming Saturday, followed by a series of Tests against Argentina over the next three weekends.

Currie is one of six uncapped players in the 39-strong squad, alongside Edinburgh team-mates Ben Muncaster and Glen Young, Glasgow duo Ollie Smith and Murphy Walker, and Kyle Rowe of London Irish. All are likely to feature against Chile, knowing that a big performance in that match will push them into contention to play the Pumas, when the English-based players in the squad will also come into contention.

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“I’ve been invited along to train with the Scotland a couple of times before, but I think that was more of an opportunity for me just to get used to the experience of being part of the group,” said Currie. “To get a chance to tour with the squad and actually play is awesome.

Currie has played much of this season in the Super6 with Watsonians.

“It has come around pretty quickly, to be fair – I wouldn’t have said it was on my radar necessarily – but it’s always a goal to play for your country and it’s something I’ve been driving towards for a long time.”

Currie has made 13 appearances – eight starts – for Edinburgh since his debut last April but has played most of his recent rugby with Watsonians in the part-time Super6 league. Despite this, he insists that he feels ready for the step up to the full Scotland squad.

“Mike Blair [Currie’s head coach at club level] is really good at making the Super6 an avenue for Edinburgh players,” he explained. “Quite a few of us have gone to play in that league. The clubs are great and it’s a good level, so boys are happy to go and play if asked.

“Chris Dean was one guy who went to play in Super6 earlier this season, got some games under his belt, then started pretty much all of Edinburgh’s games towards the end of the season. So, it’s an opportunity to get some rugby, and you know you are not just being sent away to be forgotten about.

Edinburgh's Mark Bennett has been a mentor for Matt Currie.

“Making the step up to Scotland is pretty surreal but cool at the same time,” Currie added. “The nation’s best players are here, so it’s an awesome opportunity for me to learn as a young player and play rugby at a high level. The senior players have all been really helpful, and there’s been some good crack with the boys so far. “

Currie will compete against Mark Bennett for the No 13 jersey on this tour, just as he does at club level with Edinburgh, and he says it is a friendly rivalry.

“Mark is kind of my mentor. We got paired up when I came in as an academy player, and he’s helped me massively with my game by going through footage of matches with me and so on.

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“And he’s obviously in great form at the moment, playing some unbelievable rugby, so it is brilliant for me to just be around a guy like that and see how he operates.

“You see Mark’ ability to beat defenders, it is pretty unbelievable, so it is just about working on things like that – and to keep working on the things I am good at as well.”

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