INTERVIEW | McLelland: "It's going to be an amazing experience."

The vast majority of Edinburgh’s squad may be recovering following a hectic and tiring season, but 18-year-old stand-off Callum McLelland – who joined the club from rugby league outfit Castleford last November – is gearing up for the U20 World Championship in France, which starts at the end of the month.

McLelland – who made three appearances for the age grade side during the U20 Six Nations campaign earlier this year before suffering a championship ending concussion – has enjoyed a smooth transition since switching codes to union and now on the eve of his first World Rugby Championship, the young stand-off is excited to once again grace the international stage.

“I’m really looking forward to taking part in my first U20 World Cup - I’ve obviously never experienced anything like it,” admits McLelland.

“The U20 Six Nations were quite disappointing for me due to injury and we obviously didn’t do ourselves justice as a team. But we’re really looking forward to regrouping and giving this month’s tournament a really good crack.

“This U20 squad are a special group of lads and we’ve got such a close team. It’s going to be an amazing experience and it’ll be interesting to see what types of results we can get in France.”

Despite his tender age, McLelland has settled into Edinburgh’s squad with ease. And the young stand-off feels that his game has improved immensely thanks to the club’s experienced group of 10’s and coaches, such as former Scotland international stand-off, Duncan Hodge.

“Moving into stand-off in rugby union was obviously difficult, but with it being a similar skill set it wasn’t too tricky. I’m open to any experience I can get my hands on – so it’s been brilliant for me personally. It’s really stood me in good stead moving forward.

Joining Edinburgh has been brilliant and I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I’ve improved so much more as a rugby player than I think I could have anywhere else. All the squad have been absolutely class to me the entire season and it’s just been a really enjoyable year.

“Working with people like Kitty [Callum MacRae], Duncan Hodge and obviously Cockers as well has really brought me on. They’ve been able to look at little bits of my game that I need to improve on and now it’s all building upon that for next year - I can’t wait.”

And although McLelland is yet to make his first appearance in an Edinburgh shirt, the stand-off is adamant that if, or when, the chance comes, he’ll be ready.

“I’m obviously still learning the game, but If I just keep my head down and keep working and a chance arises, then I’ll take it with both hands.”