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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Son follows dad into Scotland rugby shirt

Gary Graham never needs to look very far for advice as he takes the first steps towards his dream of playing rugby for Scotland.

Gary Graham photo
Gary Graham

His dad George is the former Scotland prop, who won 25 caps for his country during a career which saw him play in a star-spangled Newcastle Falcons team. The Falcons led the professional rugby union revolution as George played alongside the likes of Inga Tuigamala, Rob Andrew, Tony Underwood, Alan Tait, Dean Ryan, John Bentley and Doddie Weir.

He then went on to become part of Scotland’s backroom coaching team during a career which also saw him dabble in rugby league with the now defunct Carlisle Border Raiders – a move which led to him settling in the city more than 20 years ago.

Now Gary, a 19-year-old Carlisle electrician who lives in Harraby, is set for rugby stardom after being selected for Scotland Under-20s for the Junior World Championships in South Africa.

The Galashiels flanker is one of three Cumbrians involved in the tournament as England’s squad includes Sale Sharks winger Will Addison, from King’s Meaburn, near Penrith, and London Wasps hooker Will Addison, from Cargo, near Carlisle.

Gary is part of the hugely-successful Gala team, coached by his dad who has succeeded in waking a sleeping giant, and which also includes his 21-year-old brother George junior, a scrum-half.

They helped Gala win promotion back to the top flight in Scottish rugby, and last season won the RBS Scottish Cup at Murrayfield, the Border League Final and a place in the British and Irish Cup.

Gary has now been rewarded with a call-up for Scotland Under-20s, who open their Junior World Championships campaign against Australia on June 4, before further group matches against France and Argentina.

The team is coached by former British Lions and Scotland prop Peter Wright.

Gary said: “It’s going to be great to test myself against some of the best young players in the world.

“The game against Australia is going to be on Sky Sports 1 and I’m sure my dad will probably shed a tear when he sees me play.

“I would love to play for Scotland like him and he’s told me just to keep working really hard at my game. He says if you do that you can’t be disappointed with what you’ve done.

“If you’ve done your best, you can always take comfort in that.

“I was chuffed to bit to be selected for the Under-20s. I’ve put in a lot of hard work and this is what I’ve been working towards.

“We’ve had a great season with Gala and I hope I can take some of those performances into game for Scotland Under-20s and hopefully play well. It’s going to be brilliant experience and I can’t wait. South Africa is a massive rugby nation so it’s going to be some place to go.”

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