Traynor has the degree, now he's looking for more honours

KYLE TRAYNOR collected a degree in quantity surveying this week at a ceremony organised by Napier University.

Now, the 22-year-old prop forward insists he is totally committed to graduating to professional rugby as he embarks on a full-time career with Edinburgh.

"It's great to finally put my studies behind me and, hopefully, focus entirely on my rugby for the next while," says the former Watsonian captain, who initially represented Edinburgh Accies and then moved on to Boroughmuir after venturing back to Scotland from the Surrey home set up by his Glaswegian parents.

In entering the Edinburgh ranks – he signed a full-time contract in April – Traynor brings with him the tag of being of a lucky mascot.

He said: "I made my debut as a 19-year-old, when called up from the club scene, at Newport Gwent Dragons three seasons ago and my introduction from off the bench at hooker with seven minutes to go coincided with a 37-11 win, which was Edinburgh's biggest-ever victory there.

"More recently, I got some game time in the second-last match of 2007-08 at Neath/Swansea Ospreys and again we managed to win."

While understandably proud of that record there is no question, though, that Traynor arrives with his feet firmly on the ground having been given an early reminder of the ups and downs attached to professional sport.

"When I got the nod from (then) coach Todd Blackadder to go on for my debut everything came so quickly that it was natural to think, as a teenager, that you were in the team to stay.

"I look back now and think about what still had to be done.

"This was reinforced by my outing against Ospreys in direct opposition to their Welsh international prop Adam Jones.

"I got positive feedback on that occasion, though, from Edinburgh coach Andy Robinson, who I was particularly keen to impress on my first appearance after earning a contract.

"At the same time, Andy identified things to work on mostly based on scrummaging techniques.

"So, having started full-time it is all down to me how I take my chance."

Although brought up in England, Traynor says there was never any question that he would honour his ancestry.

"It might seem strange for the son of Glaswegian parents that a lot of my childhood was spent at relatives in Balerno for school holidays and Christmas.

"That helped to convince me that after I left school I knew I'd be trying to go down the Scottish rugby route and there has certainly been no cause to regret that decision.

"When I ended up at Watsonians for my club rugby I was delighted to be playing amongst a lot of friends from university and I must have done an okay job as captain because it was flattering to be the club's first pick in the draft that affiliates pros with the Premiership on occasions.

"I'm sure Watsonians will understand if I say I hope not to be called upon due to a heavy involvement with Edinburgh.

"But, if I do go back, I know it should be seamless having spent so much time there in the past.

"What's more, although Cammy Mather has moved on as coach, I watched the first pre-season session and saw enough to know that things will go well in the capable hands of Bruce Aitchison and Donnie Macfadyen.

"There's no doubt, however, that compared to the Premiership my occasional appearances so far with Edinburgh have taught me a lot about the jump up which can hopefully be put to good use.

"For example, the intensity of the contact at breakdown situations is far greater but at least I have had a taster with Edinburgh which leaves me wanting a lot more.

"Hopefully that will include the opening pre-season friendly with Wasps at Murrayfield on August 23."

Traynor revealed that he will have contacts in the opposition camp having gone to the same school – John Fisher's in Croydon – as Wasps' England winger Paul Sackey and England A second row George Skivingston.

Traynor said: "I owe a lot to the fact my school took rugby extremely seriously and when I went back recently and spoke to my old school master his exact words were 'We'll put your shirt up on the wall alongside Paul's England jersey when you play for Scotland.' It is definitely a goal I aspire to, but I realise there is a long way to go before that becomes a reality; starting with making the breakthrough with Edinburgh."