HARD work has paid off for a former North Berwick High School pupil who has signed his first professional contract with Edinburgh Rugby.

Former Scotland age-grade internationalist Cammy Hutchison has worked hard behind the scenes for a breakthrough opportunity with the senior side and impressed when that chance came, enjoying a try-scoring debut against Ulster last month.

His performance earned him a first start a week later in the dramatic end-of-season 28-28 draw against Scarlets.

The “delighted” 23-year-old said: “It’s been a long road for me to get to this point so I feel very fortunate, lucky and really grateful for the support network that’s helped me over the past few years in particular.

“To now be in a position to compete at a level I’ve wanted to for a long time is a privilege, especially in Edinburgh, where I’ve grown up, with a club I’ve grown up supporting, [is great].”

The former Scotland under-19 captain featured prominently in the Scotland under-20 sides of 2017 and 2018, having been part of the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy system from the 2015/16 season, alongside playing his club rugby at Currie.

He then moved to the south of France – via Scottish Rugby’s performance partnership with French Federale 1 side Stade Nicois – and returned to the Scottish Capital for the beginning of the 2019/20 FOSROC Super6 season.

Hutchison, who grew up in North Berwick, was a stand-out for Heriot’s Rugby in the inaugural FOSROC Super6 season before the coronavirus pandemic ended his plans to use the competition to kickstart his pro career.

The centre was, however, invited to train with Edinburgh in November, waiting and working patiently for his opportunity, with his commitment behind the scenes ultimately rewarded with his debut in the senior side.

“I knew the Rainbow Cup was coming and I saw it as an opportunity to get some game time for me and other young boys like Matt Currie, Paddy Harrison and Benny Muncaster,” Hutchison said.

“There was a part of me that felt the road I’d been on for the past few years had all led to that point, so I wasn’t too nervous. It was more about enjoying the opportunity.

“I had worked hard for the last couple of years to put myself in that position and felt like I’d earned a chance, rather than one being taken on me.

“That put me in a confident mental state going into the game.

“I knew there was a lot on the line but for me it was just about enjoying it.

“What’s the point of going through all the training for the past few years if you’re not going to enjoy it and take it in?

“To get on the bench against Ulster was massive for me and my family and to start against Scarlets was the icing on the cake.”

Now, Hutchison can look ahead to the new season after signing full-time professional terms.

He added: “This is now the starting point.

“It’s come later than I probably would have hoped and planned when I was leaving school and going through Scotland under-20, but I feel I’ve had the full experience of what ‘going through the system’ really means.

“Now I’m in the pro environment, this is where the hard work really begins.

“It’s the start of my career in a sense and I’m really looking forward to getting into it.”

Richard Cockerill, speaking prior to his departure as Edinburgh Rugby head coach, welcomed the new signing, who has signed in partnership with FOSROC Super6 side Heriot’s Rugby.

He said: “We’re really pleased to offer Cammy his first professional contract.

“He’s shown a lot of grit and determination to force his way into contention and we were delighted with how he performed and took his opportunity once he got out on the pitch.

“He’s a great example of how the system can recognise and reward promising players who have the talent but also the desire to pursue a dream with his local team.

“Hopefully he’ll use this first pro deal as another springboard to kick on once more.”