Hodgson living the dream
The second-row is often described as rugby’s engine room, but up-and-coming lock Jamie Hodgson has proven that he's more than just a cog in the machine with a string of impressive performances in 2020-21.
A product of the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy, Hodgson has been in the thick of the action this current campaign, having made his initial breakthrough in 2018-19 while on a partnership deal with FOSROC Super6 side Watsonians.
Representing the side he grew up watching as a supporter, Hodgson is living his childhood dream by playing for Edinburgh Rugby every week, and in high profile derby days against old rivals Glasgow Warriors.
The lock has featured in eight of 12 possible games this season and on Monday progressed to a new full-time contract with his hometown team.
“I’ve loved every game that I’ve been involved in, whether that’s starting or from the bench," said Hodgson.
“I want to make as many appearances for this club as I can, and I’ve been learning a lot from every performance, trying to get better and better and make my mark in the shirt.
“It’s a privilege to play for for the club I’ve grown up supporting, especially in the derby games against Glasgow in the 1872 Cup, they’re a bit more special.
“It’s gutting not to be able to have fans, it’s never the same without the crowd. There’s a lot more talk on social media about things, and support coming from fans there, so they’re still managing to have their say which is good.”
The lock from Livingston isn’t just playing for the team he supported in his youth - he’s also playing alongside the Scottish Internationals he admired from the sidelines.
For Hodgson, a part-time economics student at Edinburgh University, taking the field with role models like Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis is another learning opportunity.
“You learn a lot from them, I enjoy picking their brains. Especially with Gilco, in terms of calling line outs and looking at footage of other team’s line-outs.
“It’s exciting to get to play with them, at a high level with people you’ve grown up watching and admired, having come through the system.”
The position of second-row has - arguably - evolved more than any other on the pitch in recent years. The role and tasks of the position are ever changing, but for Hodgson the key part of his game is grit and hard work around the pitch.
“There’s a lot of different second rows out there that are capable of doing a lot of different things," continued Hodgson.
“There are guys that can jackal over the ball and play in the back row, and some guys that are probably 120kg that could do a job in the front row.
“The way I try to base my game and the people I look up to are the workhorse second rows, guys like Paul O’Connell.
“I love my role at the lineout and the work in set-piece, but primarily it’s all built around putting hard work around the pitch and putting a shift in.”
A key part of Jamie’s development has been his involvement in the FOSROC Super6, where he represented Watsonians.
“There was a bit of setting aside school rivalries,” says the former Stewart’s Melville student, “Steven Lawrie helped massively with that because he was in the same boat, so it eased things a little bit!
“I was training with Edinburgh through the week and got to play at the weekend, which is really important for young players coming through.
“It’s something we probably took for granted given what’s going on at the minute, there are guys that are frustrated training week in week out, but not getting a run out at the weekend.”
Hodgson has done more than just get a 'run out' on Saturday afternoons, with lock already proving that he's capable of making his mark at pro level - and then some.