Edinburgh-born rugby prospect Andy Cramond has had a great year learning from a clutch of world class stars at French club Toulon – and he cannot wait to watch them at Twickenham in the European Rugby Champions Cup final tomorrow.
They take on fellow French side Clermont Auvergne at 5pm in the showpiece event and 21-year-old second-row Cramond, a former Royal High pupil, admits he has had to pinch himself more than a few times in recent months as he has trained with the likes of Leigh Halfpenny, Carl Hayman and Bakkies Botha.
Cramond, who played club rugby for Edinburgh Accies and Aberdeen Grammar, joined Toulon’s academy set-up after impressing in last summer’s World Championships for Scotland under-20 and by September he had been called into the first team to play in a league match against Brive.
He has not featured for the top team since, but has made quite an impression during his time at the club.
“It’s gone well, one of the highlights has been obviously just getting to know all of the guys here,” Cramond said from his base in France.
“To get a game in the first team was well beyond what I expected, but once you get a taste of it you want more so I’d hoped to perhaps play for the first team a bit more.
“I have been playing well with the ‘Espoir’ team over recent weeks and I just need to keep doing that until the end of the season really. We are trying to secure second place which would see us into the semi-finals of the league.
“On the whole it has been amazing to be at a club preparing for a European final. The buzz has been starting to build up and the guys are all really focused on what they have to do.”
When asked who he has learnt the most from at the club, Cramond said: “[All Black] Ali Williams due to his lineout work. He’s a really nice guy so it’s easy to go and have a chat with him about anything. He has told me once he retires at the end of the season that if I still have anything to ask I can simply give him a ring which is brilliant to know.”