James Couper may be just 17-years-old, but he’s already one of the first names on the team sheet for GHA rugby club.
Since joining the national league side this summer, the youngster has dazzled the Braidholm faithful with his combination of tenacity and lightning speed.
Having played for every national age group side so far (U16, U17,U18), the winger hopes to cement his reputation this year.
With a strong showing for Scotland’s U18s in the FIFA-AER Justin Bridou Elite division championship in April, as well as continuing his impressive run of performances for GHA, he can do just that.
As part of his path to professional rugby, he, along with fellow GHA hot prospect Zach Mercer, is part of Scottish rugby’s regional academy, which sponsors top 30 young rugby players in the country with the best potential, allowing them to train in a professional environment.
However, despite all his accolades, the youngster still thinks he has a lot to learn.
He told ExtraSport: “Senior rugby is a huge step up from school rugby. Things don’t come quite as easily and it has taught me to go looking for the ball.
“Everybody has been extremely helpful since I joined the club but learning from a guy like Hefin O’Hare, who has played my postion as the highest level, has been an eye-opener. He has so much knowledge and his advice on defensive and attacking lines”.
“After training, guys like (former international) Andy Henderson stay behind to work on passing with me. You don’t get that at every club”.
Winger Rangi Jericevich is excited by the promise shown by a number of young players in the Braidholm set up, but he feels James deserves special mention.
He said: “James is still only 17 but has quickly found his feet in senior rugby. He is a strong runner with an electric turn of pace and is one of the most exciting prospects to play at GHA in recent seasons.
“If he works hard there’s no doubt that he has he has the potential to go far in future.”
The flying winger’s ambition is to play for Glasgow Warriors. He continued: “It’s an honour to be involved in the academy set up. Training in the gym with the Warriors shows me how hard I have to work if playing I hope to one day earn a contract with them”
“Becoming a professional rugby player will involve a lot of hard work, but it is something I am willing to make sacrifices for”.