NORTH Berwick rugby ace Cammy Hutchison is targeting a professional contract on his return from a year on the French Riviera.

The former Scotland under-20 cap is one of six young Scots playing with Stade Nicois, the Nice-based club who play in the third tier of French rugby, Federale 1, this season.

The former North Berwick RFC player has been adjusting to swapping his home on the town’s Fidra Road for life in Nice.

He told Courier Sport: “It’s been tough to get used to – the weather especially, it’s pretty hot out here.

“Obviously there’s a language barrier as well but we’re taking lessons – mainly focusing on learning the rugby phrases just now.”

Centre Hutchison, a member of the Fosroc Scottish Rugby Academy, has made the move in the second year of a partnership between the French club and Scottish Rugby that last season saw three players ply their trade at Stade Nicois.

Hutchison, who was schooled at Geoge Heriot’s in the Capital, added: “The boys that were here last year have been a big help – they’ve passed on a lot of information and we’re staying in the same flats as they did so they’ve been able to help us with little things like getting the wi-fi set up.”

The 20-year-old told how the move came about: “About two weeks before we went to the World Championships, I was on my way home after training and Graeme Beveridge [Scottish Rugby academy manager] called me in for a chat.

“He and Bryan Easson [academy coach] put it to me that they were impressed with me and they’d like me to spend the year in France.”

While he admitted the first thing he did was phone parents Vanessa and Neil, who were “very supportive”, the 20-year-old was thrilled to have been given the chance after an injury-ravaged year.

He added: “I missed the Junior World Championships last year because I ‘did’ my ACL [anterior cruciate knee ligament] against England in the Six Nations.

“I had a partial [shoulder] dislocation but made the decision to play the Six Nations, so when I did the knee I got the shoulder fixed too.

“My knee healed really well but the shoulder took a lot longer, probably close to 12 months, so I missed this year’s [U20] Six Nations but I managed to get the World Championships this year which was a good way to end my time with the under-20s.”

Hutchison is looking on the year in France as a “fresh start”, while off the field he is also focused on returning to Scotland “as fluent” a French speaker as he can be.

But his main aim is to emulate Dave Cherry and Bruce Flockhart – who spent last year in Nice and have gone on to win professional deals with Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively.

“I want to come back and earn a contract with one of the two professional sides in Scotland,” he said.

Stade Nicois are fourth in pool four of Federale 1, having won three of their four fixtures so far.