Scottish Rugby Academy call-ups for three new faces from Borders
They’re among 30 youngsters contracted for the coming campaign, alongside former Southern Knights players Harri Morris and Finn Douglas, both retained by the academy.
Hooker Morris and winger Douglas, previously with Melrose, are both aligned to United Rugby Championship side Edinburgh, though the former has been loaned out to English Championship outfit Doncaster Knights for the season ahead.
Former Jedburgh Grammar Campus student Patterson, 18, will join them there as he’s among 11 new players to be aligned with the capital side, currently also home, at senior level, to Hawick’s Darcy Graham, Jedburgh’s Glen Young, West Linton’s Patrick Harrison, Melrose-born Charlie Shiel and ex-Knight Jacob Henry.
Johnston, latterly with semi-professional outfit Boroughmuir Bears alongside Hawick’s Rhys and Corey Tait and former Jed-Forest winger Mason Cullen, will be aligned with Glasgow Warriors, as will Smyth.
The coming season might well bring Patterson, Douglas, Johnston and Smyth back to the Borders – if not Morris as he’ll be south of the border – as visiting opposition for the Southern Knights as they’ll be eligible for selection for the new Fosroc Future XV squad taking part in the forthcoming Fosroc Super Series Championship campaign and the new boys’ first assignment will be a visit to the Greenyards in Melrose on the opening day of the season, Friday, July 28.
Kenny Murray, Scottish Rugby’s head of player transition, said: “It’s a really exciting time of the year for these young players and in particular for the 20 of them that will experience regular involvement in a professional environment for the first time.
“The fact that once again a number of the players from last year’s group have gone on to sign professional contracts here in Scotland shows there is a reward for continued hard work.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing these 30 players in the Fosroc Super Series Championship later this summer, and with so many of them eligible for Scotland under-20s, they have another platform to kick on and test themselves at a high level.”
Patterson and Douglas will be overseen at Edinburgh’s pro-academy by former Knights gaffer Rob Chrystie, and he added: “It’s an exciting set of players that are joining us this summer from around Edinburgh and the Borders.
“All of them have experience in a Scotland age-grade environment, with the majority having played senior rugby at a very young age.
“A number of the players impressed while playing for Edinburgh A and for their respective clubs in the Fosroc Super Series Sprint, so we’re excited to see how they all develop while at the club.”