Student of the game

Student of the game

Studying for an undergraduate degree and striving to make it as a professional athlete are goals that both require a significant amount of dedication.

one of those goals is a big commitment. Undertaking both is just part of daily
life for Rufus McLean.

“I’d be
lying if I said it was easy to balance everything!” laughed the Scotland U20

I’ll have rugby from 7.30am until 11am, depending on my lecture timetable. I’ll
then go into uni for about 12 for a lecture or tutorial, and then I’m in uni
until about 4pm. It’s then back home and make sure I get my assignments done!”

The 20-year-old is unfazed by the delicate balancing act, however, combining his
Spanish and Marketing degree at the University of Strathclyde with his FOSROC
Scottish Rugby Academy commitments. McLean is quick to highlight the support of
the Glasgow-based institution, with the university having recently extended its
partnership with Glasgow Warriors.

“The support
at Strathclyde has been invaluable for me,” he said.

“I was
introduced to the elite athlete liaison almost straight away, and she sat down
with me and got straight to the point – ‘here’s your timetable for rugby,
here’s your timetable for uni, let’s shuffle it around and see what works best
for you’. There’s a bit of compromise sometimes where I’m occasionally pushed
for time, but it’s been smooth sailing so far.

your mind focused after fully exerting yourself at rugby is something that I’m
still learning to cope with, but at the same time it’s a different environment
and different social group. It makes you excited to go back into uni because
you can catch up with everyone. The academic work definitely keeps me focused

McLean is already planning for life after rugby through his studies. Having been side-lined due to injury, the former Merchiston Castle pupil is beginning to
form a clear picture of his plans off the pitch.

injured gave me a bit of perspective early on that I need to have something
else lined up if rugby doesn’t work out for whatever reason,” explained McLean.

“I’ve been
learning Spanish for a while and really enjoy it, and I wanted to go down a
more guided route with it. Hopefully it opens up a route to work in some sort
of international company further down the line that requires me to make use of
those language skills.”

On the
field, a shift to the west of Scotland saw McLean swap the Edinburgh base of
the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy for Glasgow over the summer of 2019. With the academy
for Glasgow and the west based at Scotstoun, the young full-back is making full
use of the opportunity to observe and learn from some of the best players the
country has to offer.

“It’s been unreal so far,” smiled the

definitely different to Edinburgh, mostly in terms of whereabouts we train – to
have the opportunity to train in the same facility as the Warriors is amazing.

“Just being
able to watch them and how they act as a professional team is incredibly

Scotland caps at U16 and U18 level under his belt in addition to his U20
representation, the future looks bright for McLean. The man himself, however,
is refusing to look too far ahead, instead focusing on picking the brains of
the academy coaching team.

incredibly useful having guys like Shade [Munro] and the other coaches on hand
– it’d be a waste to have them available and not ask them for advice!” said

“It’s great
to know you can go and speak to any of them – they’ll identify parts of your
game that you can improve on that you might not have seen yourself.

“I think
it’s good to have goals and ambition, but for me the most important focus is
getting back out on the field. I want to get my body fixed first – I don’t want
to get ahead of myself. I’m just focusing on getting out there and continuing
to enjoy my rugby.”

This interview was first published in Issue 3 of Warrior, the official magazine of Glasgow Warriors

Spread the word

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign up to our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Glasgow Warriors.