Rugby prospect Jake Kerr admits he has had a frustrating few months as he battles back from a knee injury – but the enforced break has only made the 19-year-old more determined to hit the ground running in 2015/16.
Having left George Watson’s College last summer and been handed an Edinburgh Rugby academy contract, the hooker made quite an impression for Watsonians in the opening months of the season as well as sitting on the bench for the pro team away to Leinster.
He then turned out as a replacement for Scotland Under-20 in their Six Nations matches against France and Wales in February before suffering a big setback.
“During one of the training weeks for the Six Nations I suffered a knee injury, it was a bit of a shock and I was gutted at the time,” Kerr recounts.
“I had fully ruptured my PCL [posterior cruciate ligament] and suffered a grade two tear of my MCL [medial collateral ligament] and to know that I was going to miss the rest of the Six Nations and then the World Championships in Italy was pretty tough.
“At first I got too bogged down in thinking how long my recovery was going to take, but I know things need to be right and I have been working hard with the physios to get back to full fitness. There is still a bit of a way to go, but I am determined to keep focusing and come back stronger.
“I have a scan in a couple of weeks to see how much muscle I have go back in my leg.”
Kerr was one of the inductees named in the new BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and he is to be based at Napier University’s Sighthill campus. He is expected to be involved with Edinburgh during the season at some point especially if fellow hookers Ross Ford and Stuart McInally are on Scotland duty.
Scottish Rugby are keen for all of their male Stage Three academy players – those on the cusp of pro rugby – to turn out for clubs in the BT Premiership, so Kerr has moved from Watsonians to Boroughmuir.
Kerr said: “I was very lucky at Watsonians last year because I was able to work with coaches who had played for Scotland [Marcus Di Rollo, Jason White and Barry Stewart] while Simon Taylor was there too so I just tried to learn from them all.
“They helped me out a lot, but obviously I understand that I need to be playing in the Premiership and Boroughmuir are a great club who did well to stay up last year and also won the BT Cup, so I am looking forward to that new challenge. Hopefully it is the next step in what will be a long career.”
Prior to focusing on rugby, Kerr was a handy athlete and his younger brother Josh, a middle distance runner, is in the British team for the European Junior Championships in Sweden next month.
Over the years the duo have spurred each other on in their chosen sports while their father John – who represented Scotland Sevens and Scotland ‘A’ in the 1990s as well as Haddington and Watsonians – is always there to offer advice.
“Dad’s experience in rugby has helped me and Josh because he knows what it is like to compete on the big stage. He has helped us learn how to focus and not get overawed by a situation.”