A SCHOOLBOY sports star has pulled on his hallowed shirt of Scotland after completing his first decade of rugby at just 15.
Innes Hill, a student at Stokesley School, was a member of the Scotland Qualified team which pitched a hard fought battle against Scotland Red, a top Edinburgh and Borders side at Murrayfield.
With a Scottish father and half Scottish mum, the 6ft 3in teenager qualifies for Scotland selection even though he was born south of the border.
The No8 has been playing rugby since he was five-years-old and is a member of Darlington
Mowden Park RFC, Durham County and Newcastle Falcons Academy.
“My school friend Matthew Gaunt got me into rugby but he didn’t grow quite as quickly as me and now plays cricket for Yorkshire Pathways,” said Innes.
“It was great finally pulling on a Scotland shirt and even though we lost 36-32 it was an incredible experience and felt fantastic to be part of the international scene.”
Innes’ passion for rugby stems from coming from a sporting family; his father David played and now coaches rugby and mum Lindsey is a PE teacher at Stokesley School. His brothers Loughlin, 10, and Rhuari, nine, also love their rugby.
Innes plays for the Falcons U15 and U16 sides and will be in the Mowden Park team which has won through to the U16 County Rugby Cup final against Ryton in April.
“I would love to have a career in rugby as a player and a pundit,” he said. “I hope to be part of the Falcons’ AASE Programme which would see me continue my studies in Gosforth. I would get to play other academies and it is a really good standard.
“My size helps and I am quite useful at running through the opposition but I also try to use my brain, think about how each game is developing and work out strategies to win.”
Head of sport at Stokesley School Darren Beattie said: “There must be no better feeling than representing your country in international sport and Innes really deserved his place in the team.
“His passion and commitment to rugby is commendable and he is a great example of how professional sport is now a game of brain and brawn. I have no doubts that one day we will see him playing at the highest level.”