Frostwick on cloud nine
Edinburgh Rugby has a proud history of talented scrum-halves – from club legends like Greig Laidlaw and Mike Blair, to the current crop of Nic Groom, Henry Pyrgos and Charlie Shiel.
Hoping to add to this list and make his mark at the club is youngster Roan Frostwick, who has just got his first minutes of PRO14 rugby under his belt.
Making his first appearance for the club in the recent league derby against Glasgow Warriors, Frostwick replaced fellow young nine Charlie Shiel at scrum-half for the final 10 minutes, and although not given too much time, still put in an impressive shift.
A product of North Berwick RFC, the 20-year-old turned out for Watsonians last season in the FOSROC Super6, but joined the club's academy system over the summer.
Being just one of a flurry of young, promising players that Richard Cockerill has brought in to the squad, Frostwick revealed his impressions of his first professional rugby match for his boyhood club.
“It was amazing – so amazing.” he started. “As a kid that’s the sort of stuff that you dream of – especially coming on against rivals of Glasgow’s stature. It was just surreal.
“Standing across from Ali Price at the scrum – a starting nine for Scotland – that probably made it a bit more special in itself. It was quite the experience, but I didn’t feel out of place for one minute. I really just loved the feeling and could definitely get used to it!”
Having turned out for Scotland U20 in recent years, Frostwick is no stranger to the standard of rugby required to reach the senior level of professional rugby – but admitted that there were still certain aspects of the game that came as a shock.
“The pace was obviously totally different, because the last game I played was against Wales in the Scotland U20s, so obviously when I did come on, it was a bit of a shock but I just got my head down and started running, and tried to keep the momentum up.
"I would say the physicality was the big shocker though, because these guys are proper men. In the U20s you’re playing against some big boys, and then in the Super6 you’re up against men, but these are top athletes and you really notice it – but I still loved it nonetheless.”
Starting his career with North Berwick, the youngster is just one of a long line of talent to come out of East Lothian. Frostwick himself believes that the region’s commitment and attitude to rugby makes for a great conveyor belt of talent.
“I think that the systems that they have for East Lothian players are actually some of the best – in terms of teaching the kids that if they work hard they can really achieve something, and getting them all bought into the mantra of ‘you’ve got to work hard to get what you want’ – I think that’s what makes it so special.
"You felt like you could really kick on, and even as kids, everyone would want to play for Edinburgh. You’d always want to be able to say that A; you’d played at BT Murrayfield, but B; you’d pulled on one of the Edinburgh jerseys.”
Frostwick is among good company in the youth ranks of Edinburgh – competing with Charlie Shiel for the scrum-half jersey and playing (and living!) alongside Nathan Chamberlain.
“Charlie is a brilliant scrum-half. I was at Currie with him as well, so I’ve known him for quite a while now, and I’ve always looked up to him. I’ve always wanted to compete with him because of our positions and our similar ages, but I’ve always looked up to him as well.
"I have a lot of respect for him – he’s a quality nine who has all the skills you need. It’s great to have him at Edinburgh, and it’s great to be able to work alongside him, and learn from him.”
“Nathan’s a brilliant player as well – having played with him at U20s level both this year and last year I know him quite well – plus he’s my flatmate right now! He’s got an amazing kicking game and he’s really good at reading the game. I love playing alongside him, and I think he’s going to bring so much to Edinburgh.
Aside from these names though, Frostwick is confident that the season ahead is the time for not only himself, but also for the rest of the young players in Edinburgh’s ranks to shine.
“I think the majority of the U20s boys – so the likes of Connor Boyle, Rory Darge, Jack Blain – are all really going to kick on. We’re all training hard and so I’d like to think that we’re all going to do pretty well.
"I know that we’re all buzzing for the season ahead of us and I know that each and every one of us is going to put our heads down, really work hard, and take the opportunities if and when we get them – and if we do get one, we’ll take it and make sure we try our best to make the position ours.”