He probably wasn’t destined to become a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. Edinburgh Rugby yesterday announced the signing of Charlie Shiel on his first ever, two-year professional contract and Edinburgh Rugby is pretty much the family business.
Charlie is the son of Graham Shiel, who earned 18 caps for Scotland as a classy centre and captained Edinburgh for two years in the early noughties. His grandfather Dougie Morgan went three better, representing Scotland 21 times and touring with the 1977 British and Irish Lions while playing for Edinburgh throughout. Presumably, young Charlie has been getting some handy hints around the family breakfast table?
“He’s helped,” says the young No,9 of dad Graham. “He comes to watch the Currie games and he was my coach for all the while I was at school (Royal High).
“He’s had a lot to do with me, throughout my whole career and he’s been good especially since he’s still involved doing the academy stuff so he’s still learning as much as I am at the same time.
“We watch a lot of rugby together on Saturday morning and on Friday nights. It’s good to just chat with him and get his thoughts and after games as well, most likely he’ll be the first person I will speak to, so I get his feedback as well.”
Those of a certain age will remember Dougie Morgan ripping up Murrayfield in the late 1970s and, despite appearing in “black and white”, as Charlie would put it, it’s nice to know that granddad still has something to offer. “I manage to speak to him quite a bit and he comes and watches games quite often,” said Charlie, “but obviously the game has changed quite a bit since then. I still manage to chat about how I’m getting on. He enjoys it. He’ll give me his tips and his little tricks up his sleeve. I still need to try a few out but he’s good.”
Shiel has been training with Edinburgh for much of the season while turning out with Currie Chieftans in the BT Premiership. He is a livewire of a scrum half and a natural replacement for Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, who failed to agree terms with Edinburgh to extend his contract.
The high water mark of the young No.9’s career, at least until yesterday, came in last year’s U20 World Championships where Shiel came off the subs’ bench to score the winning try against Australia that gave Scotland their highest-ever finish in fifth place.
Shiel is soaking up all the information he can under Ben Cairns at Currie while learning some game management from the more experienced scrum halves at Edinburgh so he can hit the ground running next season, just as Luke Crosbie did this year with four starts and four appearances off the bench for the young flank forward.
“Luke has done really well,” says Shiel. “He has managed to rack up quite a few caps now. It shows that there is a lot of young talent coming through and just getting that opportunity to show what you can do is massive to a young boy and Luke has shown that pretty well.”