A NEW star has been launched into the Scottish rugby Premiership with 18-year-old wing prospect Damien Hoyland notching his first Boroughmuir try in a pulsating clash with Currie at Meggetland.
’Muir lost 32-37 but not before Hoyland had made his mark with some attacking verve as well as showing resilience when an opponent’s high tackle knocked him to the floor.
Without fuss or fanfare, the teenager picked himself up and continued to pose a threat which belied limited experience having only come into the starting line-up two matches previously.
Afterwards it emerged, too, that Hoyland has had to work extra hard for a foothold, coming from James Gillespie’s High School which has no rugby team. “Fortunately there is a link between Gillespie’s and Boroughmuir which allowed me to try rugby at third year,” said Damien, adding: “I took to the game straightaway and found myself representing Edinburgh from Under-16 through to Under-18.
“A big break, though, was being selected by Scotland sevens for the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man last year as well as the Under-17s for the annual Wellington (Somerset) Festival tournament.”
The Games squad, who were just edged out 15-12 by Australia for the bronze medal, also included the likes of Jamie Farndale and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, who are being absorbed into the Edinburgh professional set-up and the benefits of that schooling are now being seen. While Paul Jennings also came out of Gillespie’s to join Boroughmuir and play in Edinburgh’s first European Cup team at second row, Hoyland’s dashing style is reminiscent of Ally McLean, another Capital regular from ’Muir in the mid to late 1990s, whose professional career eventually took him to England with Bedford.
The next stage of Hoyland’s development is to get a settled run at Premiership level while staking his claim for a place in Scotland’s Under-20 squad.
It may not have gone unnoticed in sevens circles either that when Boroughmuir won their own tournament last spring, Hoyland led the way with eight touchdowns.
“My priority is playing rugby of a good quality with Boroughmuir and if it was a massive boost to get the first game under my belt – I played in a pre-season friendly last year at Hamilton and managed a try, but don’t count that – scoring my first official try provides even more confidence,” said Damien, adding: “Last season was horrible as I was out injured for eight months in total, but the time is right to start making a mark if I can. The pass I received from Mark Hare to score my try really set me up and every week it is getting better as I begin to know the players around me.
“It was just so frustrating to get within a score of a team as strong as Currie but no further. Starting slowly is the main problem for this Boroughmuir side, but we know we are capable of winning more games including this weekend when we visit Gala.”
Mark Hare is another up-and-coming and the centre could not conceal his frustration after the Currie loss, telling the ’Muir website: “We are our own worst enemies. To go out and score 32 points and not win the match is criminal really.
“We are having positives in every match. It is (about) putting it together for 80 minutes and it is just not happening at the moment.
“We cut them open when we go wide and get quick ball, (but) we didn’t have much ball in the first half when they turned us over in scrum and line-out.”