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New breed of Scottish tens take centre stage

Guinness PRO12 Editor

16 Nov 2011

Man-of-the-match Leonard spins out a pass

Top notch Scottish fly-halves are almost as rare a breed as world class Scottish scrum-halves are common.

However with the emergence of Edinburgh’s Harry Leonard coinciding with the breakthrough of Glasgow pair Ruaridh Jackson and Duncan Weir, the natural successor to Gregor Townsend could finally be here.

While Jackson has already made his bow on the international scene, and appears to have won his battle with Dan Parks for the fly-half jersey, young pretenders Leonard and Weir are already staking their own claims for higher honours.

Leonard has been a revelation since getting his RaboDirect PRO12 chance against Leinster last month, playing an instrumental role in the Scots’ back-to-back away wins over Treviso and London Irish.

And having been handed the keys to No.10 by coach Michael Bradley, Leonard admits he is relishing the chance to strut his stuff.

“I’m really enjoying the chance to play for Edinburgh,” said 19-year-old Leonard.

“It’s quite a big step up for me but I’ve had some great support from some of the experienced guys in the squad which is really helping.

“Mossy [Chris Paterson] has been great giving me advice and helping since he came back from the World Cup.

“He’s been really helpful with myself and Gregor Hunter, who is one of our other young fly-halves, and we know we can go and talk to him if we have any questions.

“Michael Bradley has also been brilliant taking a chance on the younger players, it’s not every coach that would take a gamble like that.”

It’s been a whirlwind rise to fame for Leonard who was plying his trade for Boroughmuir last season but Leonard believes his trip to New Zealand on a MacPhail scholarship this summer has played a big role in his development.

But having kept his starting spot despite the return of Edinburgh’s World Cup stars, Leonard knows the pressure is on him to keep performing as Bradley’s side look to their add to their three RaboDirect PRO12 wins so far this campaign.

He added: “I came in pretty late to pre-season because of the scholarship to New Zealand, but I got to play some club rugby over there which was a great experience for me.

“It’s great having the World Cup guys back now because they know the playbook inside out and can help us younger players out.

“Now it’s just up to me to take the opportunity I’ve been given.”