TIGHTHEAD props are not meant to mature until their late 20s or early 30s so Murray McCallum is well ahead of schedule.
The 22-year-old former University of Aberdeen student was a key part of Edinburgh’s fantastic season last year, and capped that off with a first Scotland appearance during the 2018 Six Nations.
His progression was in large part possible to the long-term injuries suffered by WP Nel, first choice for both Edinburgh and Scotland, and the veteran prop has been impressed by the way McCallum stepped up in his absence.
Nel explained: “Murray is really good on learning and taking on, asking questions and knows he wants to improve in his position.
“That’s what you want from a young boy. He almost wants to suck up everything and learn to get better. He’s a really good prospect for the club.
“It’s awesome that the young boys stepped up and have taken some ownership in the place. I know I need to be at my best every time and that’s what the competition is there for.
“It’s good to have those guys around, it makes you a better player when you know every time that you have be spot on in your role.”
McCallum made 17 appearances in all competitions for Edinburgh last season, while also earning three Scotland caps.
That helped the club from the capital to the play-offs in the Guinness PRO14, the first time they had achieved that since knockout stages were introduced, while they are also back in Europe’s top competition after qualifying for the Champions Cup.
But while that was a hugely promising campaign, the experienced Nel has warned that matching those performances will not be easy this year.
He added: “It’s difficult to say what would be a successful season. We’ve sat down as a club, and said that we haven’t proved anything.
“We had a really great season but we’ve got nothing on the table so as a team we need to look at last season and build on that. We can’t take a step back, we have to go forward and show we are building something special.”
Mitsubishi Motors is proud to support Edinburgh Rugby and welcome WP Nel as an Official Mitsubishi Motors ambassador.