Uncapped, Inverness-born stand-off Tom Heathcote has tonight joined the Scotland squad in Aberdeen in preparation for Saturday’s EMC Test against Tonga. Heathcote, 20, who has already featured in the Heineken Cup for Bath Rugby, has previously played age-grade for England but is “delighted” to accept the call-up from the land of his birth.
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “Tom has worked his way into the Bath first team squad from the academy and we’ve been monitoring his progress for the last couple of years.”
Heathcote, who was recently short-listed for the 2013 LV= Breakthrough Player Award down south, told www.scottishrugby.org: “I am delighted to be called up to the Scotland squad. I’ve always known I was eligible to play for Scotland and I’m grateful to be given this opportunity.”
Five players have been released from the Scotland squad which arrived in Aberdeen tonight. They will go back to their pro-clubs who have matches this Friday in the RaboDirect PRO12 – Glasgow Warriors at home to Leinster and Edinburgh Rugby at home to Ospreys. They are Ruaridh Jackson, Alex Dunbar and Tom Ryder (all Glasgow Warriors) and Lee Jones and Allan Jacobsen, who has now retired from international rugby (both Edinburgh Rugby). The Scotland team to play Tonga will be announced in Aberdeen on Wednesday.
Tom Heathcote -Facts and other news
Bath Rugby First Team Coach Mike Ford commented (on Heathcote’s selection for Scotland squad): “This is fantastic news for Tom and the Club. His form last season, and what we’ve seen this season, has been very mature for his age and he has impressed a lot of people with his attitude and skill level – we are delighted for him.”
Position: Fly Half
Date of birth: 11th Feb 1992
Height: 1.79m (5′ 10″)
Weight: 89kg (14st 0lb)
Schools: Bishop Wordsworth’s School
University: University of Bath
Club teams: Salisbury
County: Dorset & Wilts
Division: South West
Bath Academy: July 2007
Tries: 1; Conv: 18; DG: 0; Pen: 29; Pts:128
YC: 0; RC: 0
Bath Rugby fly-half Tom Heathcote has qualified for the shortlist for the 2013 LV= Breakthrough Player Award, after outstanding performances in the first round of the LV= Cup.
After the analysts at Opta reviewed the performances of every under-23 player in all eight matches last weekend, Heathcote and Ospreys’s back row Sam Lewis were confirmed the two brightest stars from Round One.
Last year, LV= unveiled the Breakthrough Player Award, which is designed to recognise the outstanding breakthrough talent in the LV= Cup competition. Gloucester Rugby’s Jonny May was the winner and as part of his prize, chose to give £1,000 donated by LV= to Royal Wootton Bassett RFC where he first played rugby.
Following the completion of each round in the 2012 / 2013 LV= Cup Competition, the analysts at Opta will drill down into the data and nominate the outstanding forward and back from each week.
Heathcote wasn’t the headline-grabber fromBath’s 36-15 defeat of Newport Gwent Dragons but the fly-half’s composure ultimately decided the clash at The Rec.
The 20-year-old landed eight goals from eight attempts to record a personal 21-point haul. Furthermore, Heathcote’s two try assists in the match meant he directly contributed to 31 of the 36 points the Premiership outfit scored. Throwing in a clean break, Heathcote displayed the complete array of talents that the modern day outside-half requires.
The University of Bath student may need to wait until next season before he aims to make the No 10 jersey his own as he completes his studies. But Heathcote’s efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed and Saturday’s Man of the Match Semesa Rokoduguni was the first to heap praise on him.
“Tom had a good day and set up my first try, and there were good performances across the pitch which made it a lot easier for me,” the two-try Fijian winger said.
Back-rower Lewis was made captain for the day as Ospreys secured a dramatic victory over near-neighbours Gloucester on Friday evening.
The 22-year-old was skippering the Welsh side for the first time and impressive stats explain why it was he that took the plaudits after the game. For the amount of carries and tackles in the match, Lewis ranked joint-second and third of all players respectively. He also shrugged off a tackle and won ball for his side with an effort in defence. Four lineout takes compliment his efforts.
Head coach Steve Tandy commended the ‘captain’s knock’ that Lewis played. “Sam captained the team for the first time at 22, he puts the shirt before anything else and put in another outstanding performance,” he said.
Two players from each round, along with two players who have phenomenal overall competition statistics will form a shortlist which will be submitted to a fan vote online. Fans will vote for the winner of the LV= Breakthrough Player Award from the end of Round Four until midnight after the second semi-final.
The winner will be announced prior to the final and LV= will donate £1,000 to a rugby club of their choice.
Tom Heathcote – Round One:
Carries – 10, Metres- 36, Try Assists – 2, Clean Breaks – 1, Kicks at goal – 8 from 8
Sam Lewis – Round One:
Carries – 9, Tackles – 10, Defenders Beaten – 1, Turnovers won – 1, Lineouts won – 4