Bedlington rugby player hopes to follow in great grandfather's footsteps and win Scotland cap
Harry Wanless has been playing rugby union since the age of seven and competed at school, club and county level before being selected for the SQ programme, designed to support and develop eligible players living outside Scotland.
More than 90 years ago, Harry’s Scottish-born maternal great-grandfather, William Swan, played in the first XV at Dunbar RFC and gained two caps for Scotland.
“He always was, and still is, a huge inspiration to me,” said Harry. “He gained his caps for Scotland playing as hooker and when I was selected onto the Under-16s squad for a SQ fixture I also played hooker.”
Both Harry’s paternal and maternal grandmothers were born in Scotland, making him eligible to play for the country. SQ first stage training sessions are held across the country, with upcoming North East division training events taking place at Dame Allan’s Schools’ grounds in Newcastle next month and in February.
Harry, who studies at Dame Allan’s Schools, added: “Playing for SQ is a great experience. It puts both my skills and my confidence to the test.
“Like my great grandfather, I would love to achieve a cap for Scotland. I know the competition to play international rugby is incredibly high, so I intend to keep working hard at both the game and my studies.”
Harry’s grandfather, Peter Swan, said: “I am extremely proud that my grandson Harry has been able to start to follow in my father’s footsteps in rugby. It is a great privilege to see Harry grasping the opportunities he has been given.”
Harry, 16, has represented Northumberland in Under-15 and Under-16 county fixtures and recently joined Tynedale Rugby Club.
The teenager juggles his commitment to rugby with his school studies and is studying A Levels in biology, chemistry and psychology.
His mother, Katrina Wanless, said: “We are thrilled with the way Harry has relished every opportunity given to him within school and beyond. It is through his own hard work and determination to make himself and his family proud that he has achieved the targets he has set for himself.”