Edinburgh Rugby have announced the signing of Charlie Shiel on his first ever, two-year professional contract
The young scrum-half probably wasn’t destined to become a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker as 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, pictured. “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 Morgan ripping up Murrayfield in the late 1970s and despite appearing in “black and white”, as Charlie would have 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,” says Junior, “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 Chieftains 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 scrummy’s career, at least until yesterday, came in last year’s Under-20 World Championships where Shiel came off the bench to score the winning try against Australia that gave Scotland their highest ever finish of fifth. Andrew Simmers was selected ahead of Shiel that day, another young Scot with an impressive pedigree. Meanwhile, Shiel is soaking up all the information he can under Ben Cairns at
Currie, while learning some game management from the older nines at Edinburgh.
He’s aiming to 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 had gone really well,” says Shiel. “He has managed
to rack up quite a few games now.
“It just 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.”
If he stumbles at all on his first clash with the media it is in denigrating back row forwards whose sole job, according to Shiel, is to “to run and tackle, pretty much”. He may live to regret those words as one of the breakaways’ many other tasks is looking after their scrum-halves.