New Edinburgh centre Cammy Hutchison reveals why he was ready to call it quits after dark days in France
Cammy Hutchison thought the chance of a pro rugby career had passed him by. Lost in France, the inside centre endured a miserable season with Stade Nicois before being released from the Scottish Rugby academy set-up.
Resigned to missing out on a professional contract, the former Scotland Under-20 international found a job and went back to university. Now, after a successful stint in Super6 with Heriot’s, Hutchison is preparing for the new season with Edinburgh after winning a full-time deal.
It’s a heart-warming story for the product of North Berwick High School who, at the age of 23, is something of a late starter.
“My mindset coming back from Nice was that I was ready to call it a day,” he said. “When I found out I wasn’t getting kept on after Nice I became comfortable and happy with the level I had played at. Scotland Under-20s is still better than a lot of guys do.”
Hutchison paints a grim picture of his time with Stade Nicois, the lower league French club with whom the SRU has gone into partnership.
“I went through a lot of dark times in France not really knowing what I was doing,” he said.
“I was only there for one year. It was tough. It was still early days for the club as professionals. They were still trying to adjust to things and the facilities weren't quite there.
“We had to join public gyms and go on our own. Our weight sessions consisted of us putting discs into a shopping cart and wheeling them out on the pitch.
“The league we were in was quite front-five dominated. As a centre who was trying to see a lot of the ball, it really wasn’t coming that much.
“When you find out you're not been kept on it can get a bit frustrating. It can be quite isolating out there as well.”
Hutchison returned to Edinburgh and found work with Carlyle Associates, an executive recruitment company.
The launch of Super6 in 2019 offered him a route back into rugby, with then Heriot’s coach Ciaran Beattie taking him to Goldenacre.
“That really sparked my need to get back enjoying rugby,” said Hutchison. “It wasn’t about playing for Edinburgh or getting a pro contract, it was just about enjoying the game.
“With that came a couple of good performances and I felt I had a really strong second half to the season. But there was still no call from Edinburgh. So I felt that that door was closed.”
However, an injury crisis last season saw centres Chris Dean and George Taylor ruled out and the Edinburgh door opened for Hutchison.
“I was sitting in my company office when I got a call from the team manager asking if I could come in, get a PCR test and do 10-day isolation. That flipped everything on its head.”
Hutchison joined the squad but had to wait until June for his Edinburgh breakthrough when he made a try-scoring debut against Ulster in the Rainbow Cup.
Edinburgh announced his first professional contract later that month and Hutchison hopes his convoluted journey will stand him in good stead
“I feel I have built up pretty good resilience,” he said. “I’m hoping that will add to my longevity.”