Gala and Edinburgh Rugby prop Ewan McQuillin will have the chance to follow in some famous footsteps this summer.
Along with Glasgow Warriors back-row man Adam Ashe, the 22-year-old Borderer will spend 15 weeks in Christchurch, New Zealand, playing for local clubs and profiting from first-class coaching and facilities through the Canterbury RFU International High Performance Unit.
The pair received this golden opportunity when they were named as the latest recipients of the prestigious John Macphail scholarship earlier this month.
Previous Macphail scholars include Scotland caps John Barclay, Grant Gilchrist and Jonny Gray.
McQuillin, who has played for the Scotland Club International side, was nurtured by Galashiels Academy, Gala Red Triangle, Gala Wanderers and the senior Gala club, and his scrummaging strength has impressed coaches including former Scotland caps Stevie Scott and George Graham.
He said: “I’m really privileged to get this chance.
“It’s a really good opportunity for me to learn from some of the best players in the world, such as All Blacks prop Owen Franks.
“I’ve spoken to quite a few of the Edinburgh Rugby boys who have been on the scholarship and they all spoke of how great an opportunity it is to work on your skills in another country and to spend the whole summer focused on getting a good bit of game time under my belt before coming back fit for the new season in the UK.”
The Macphail Scholarship was established in memory of former Scotland hooker John Macphail, who died in 2004.