CAMERON HUTCHISON says his target for the rest of the season is to become a ‘triple threat” for Edinburgh, by developing his passing and kicking game to complement his potency with ball in hand.
The 23-year-old centre signed a partnership deal with Edinburgh in the summer, meaning that he was supposed to play for Heriot’s in Super6 when not required by the pro team. However, his strong performances at the start of this United Rugby Championship campaign meant that he missed the whole Super6 season, and he has now been rewarded with an immediate contract upgrade which means he is now on a dedicated Edinburgh deal.
As is customary in Scottish Rugby these days, the length of the deal has not been divulged, but Hutchison indicated that it will last beyond the end of 2021-22.
“It was a surprise to come in so early,” he said. “We knew that things were positive based on the early game-time I was getting, but that doesn’t always indicate that the offer is going to come in. I was absolutely delighted when my agent spoke to me and said they would be offering me professional terms and then an extension on that as well.
“As you can imagine, it was on my radar from when the partnership was signed. It was always my intention to try and graft away the whole season to get the opportunity to stay on for a couple of years after that. But the offer came in a bit earlier than I thought it was going to so as soon as it came in it was a really simple decision for me to sign.”
Hutchison was disappointed to miss out on selection for last Friday night’s home win over Benetton, but is generally delighted to have been involved in four of the team’s seven games played so far – three starts and one bench appearance – on top of the two outings he picked up at the tail-end of last season.
“I have a good six games under my belt now and I just want to build on that for the rest of the year,” he continued. “Back in pre-season I was just going to try to stay fit and wait for the opportunity to come, but there is a lot more rugby to be played so I’ll keep chipping away and learning what I can.
“My big work-on is identifying the space out wide and making sure I am in a position that I can pull the trigger when we need to go,” he continued. “It means working on my distribution ability and my kicking game so that I’ve got a triple threat when I’ve got the ball in my hands.
“Ball-carrying is probably what I’m more known for from playing for Heriot’s, and for Currie Chieftains in the Premiership before that, but if I can add the passing and kicking game then it will make me much more of a threat for the defence to worry about.
“Effectively, I’ve only been a professional in this full-time environment for less than six months. To be of the club and to feel so happy here, I really feel I can kick on with my rugby and get to grow as a person and a player.”
Had Hutchison been involved in Friday’s game against Benetton, he would have been proud to wear the socks his hometown club, North Berwick, as part of an Edinburgh initiative to recognise the grassroots game.
He may have finished his schooling at George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh, moved into the senior game with Currie Chieftains, followed by a year playing in France with SRU partnership club Stade Nicois, and then the inaugural Super6 season with Heriot’s, but North Berwick was where he started his rugby journey, and he was keen to pay tribute to the role the East Lothian town has had in shaping several recent rugby careers, including Glasgow Warriors flanker Rory Darge and SRU Academy player – currently on loan to Ampthill – Roan Frostwick.
“In the years after I’ve left, the school has dropped off a little bit, so if we can encourage rugby in the town through guys like myself, Rory Darge and others, there is some really good talent there,” he said.
Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair welcomed Hutchison’s new deal. “Cammy brings an energy in training every day and is a great example of a local guy that has worked tirelessly to get where he is now, having not taken a traditional route to pro rugby,” he said.
“He is still a young man and has plenty of room to grow and improve as a player, but we’re really happy with how he’s progressing in his position and what he brings to our overall game.”