Heriot’s player Callum Bell credits playing the Australian rugby season in 2019, made possible by the Teague Scholarship, for aiding his comeback from injury.
Sponsored by MNM Developments, the scholarship provided the opportunity for the 21-year-old lock to play with Western District Rugby Union Club in Canberra between March and August in 2019.
Callum received a warm welcome to the Premier Division club, staying with a coach and his family with club physiotherapists closely monitoring his recovery.
‘‘The season in Australia was good for me because I had broken my ankle. I was able to get that time back, during what would have been my off season,’’ he said.
Building firm MNM Developments has been a long-term sponsor of Heriot’s Rugby Club since 2011, creating the Teague Scholarship to provide players an opportunity to develop, not just as a player but as an individual.
MNM Developments Director Marc Teague, a former Heriot’s Rugby Club captain, Scotland 7s and Edinburgh Rugby player, benefitted himself from the experience of playing and training in Australia.
‘‘The scholarship is to help more players grow outside of their comfort zone. From our point of view, it is about the players benefitting from that experience,’’ he said.
‘‘This is my way of giving back. I don’t think I would have played professional if it wasn’t for the club.’’
Becoming part of a young Western District 1st XV team during the 2019 season, Callum took on a leadership role in the squad.
‘‘I think I will bring back the confidence I developed to Heriot’s. I was calling lineouts and playing against seasoned 1st team campaigners,’’ he said.
‘‘The style of play is faster and less structured and because there was less structure you had to rely on your skills more.’’
Before his trip to Australia, Callum spoke to former Teague Scholarship recipient and current member of the Heriot’s Rugby Super6 squad Ali Johnstone.
‘‘Ali told me about all the boys and what to expect,’’ he said.
‘‘I loved my time there to be honest. It shows you no matter where you go, you can always fit into a good rugby club.’’