by George Plevan August 23, 2019
Glasgow Hawks President, Kenny Hamilton, and prop Gary Strain, are rooting for ex-players Scott Cummings and Grant Stewart as the duo prepare for Scotland’s World Cup warm-up Test vs France.
This weekend sees two of Glasgow Hawks former players in Scott Cummings and Grant Stewart feature in Scotland’s match-day squad of 23.
Cummings, who came on for his international debut last weekend in Nice, will make his first start for his country, while Stewart follows his ex-clubmate’s lead, and is set to make his debut from the bench at BT Murrayfield.
But seeing the pair in the Scotland line-up is no surprise for Glasgow Hawks president, Kenny Hamilton, who remembers watching the pair develop their game at Balgray
Speaking to SCRUM about his first sightings of Cummings and Stewart, Kenny remembered: “I’d actually watched Scott Cummings coming up through Kelvinside Academy, but I think it was always was pretty clear that he had a straight-line trajectory towards the very top.
“He was always an incredibly talented athlete: a big guy, very athletic with some really quite surprising skills for a guy of his size.
“For Grant, he was much more somebody that we picked up after he was bypassed by academy structures.
“He has an incredible skill set, and a burst of pace and a sidestep that you just don’t expect from a hooker. He is terrific.”
Similarly, Hawks’ prop Gary Strain, who played with the duo during their spells at the club, echoed his president’s sentiment, suggesting that the two could “only improve and impress people even more.”
Although Gary recalls that “Scotty always had that little bit of x-factor about him”, his abiding memory is of Stewart, who he remembers as a 15-year-old turning out to train with the senior club side.
“In those days there weren’t the same rules as to when players could play senior rugby or any strength testing or anything like that so there he was, a 15 year old boy, absolutely smashing these grown men, smacking them about!” Gary said of Stewart’s first session at Hawks.
“He was so quiet in his first season that some of the boys never heard him speak – he wouldn’t say boo to a goose!
“But he was the kind of guy that, at Premiership level, could beat a guy by sprinting past him, stepping him, running over the top of him; he could pass the ball beautifully off both hands; and he could get all kinds of offloads away.
“We all knew he had all the natural talent required for the game, and that when he got the opportunity to play professionally, that he would grab it.”
Indeed, now both Cummings and Stewart will be looking to make the most of their most recent opportunity this weekend and convince Scotland boss Gregor Townsend that they are World Cup material.
Unsurprisingly, both Kenny and Gary would have the duo booked on the plane to Japan.
Asked about Stewart’s place in the final squad, Kenny said: “If it was me, I would certainly take him to Japan.
“I genuinely believe he could be the surprise package of the whole tournament!”
Gary responded in a similar vein, backing Scott to make the final 31 before suggesting that neither would disappoint.
“I think Scott warrants a place, he’s in the top four locks that Gregor has to choose from,” the Hawks man said.
“I really hope they make the final cut. There’s still competition in both positions but they’re both guys that, if they’re given that opportunity, wouldn’t let anyone down.”
Certainly, seeing two ex-players feature in Scotland’s match-day squad is a proud moment for all involved at Hawks, but it is no strange sight for a club who have helped the likes of Matt and Zander Fagerson, and George Horne on their way.
Speaking on the club’s international pedigree, President Kenny said: “We’re absolutely incredibly proud of all of the boys who have come through Hawks and made it to that level.
“They still come around to talk to the other Hawks guys, and they visit the club pretty regularly so we’re very keen to maintain that connection.
“It inspires the younger guys, the new generation of Hawks, and it’s worth saying that we’ve got four or five guys at the moment, who I think will almost certainly go on to pro-rugby at some point.
“But we’re proud of them all, and just incredibly pleased that they’ve managed to achieve their ambitions and that we’ve had a contribution on the way.”
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