Ruaridh Jackson almost gave up a career in rugby to become a cricketer - but he has never been happier with his decision to stay in the sport after his surprise call-up to the Scotland squad.
The 20-year-old Glasgow fly-half was one of two uncapped players named yesterday by head coach Frank Hadden in a 33-man party for the RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales.
Jackson was selected despite having started only one match for the Warriors, with Hadden putting his faith in a rookie widely considered one of the brightest prospects in the Scottish game.
Yet that talent was almost lost to rugby, with the teenage Jackson torn between two sports he excelled at.
Jackson, who played cricket for Scotland at Under-17 level, said: “There was definitely a time when I was very into my cricket and was close to choosing that over rugby. But the way things have worked out, I’m pretty happy with my choice.”
His decision may have been influenced by his rugby-mad parents, who used to take their son to Scotland internationals at Murrayfield, fostering a dream that now looks certain to be realised.
Jackson explained: “My parents were always quite keen on rugby as well so they would take me to most of the internationals during the Six Nations etc.”
He added: “You just dream of playing in them and playing at Murrayfield. Hopefully, the dream is starting to come true.”
Upon announcing his squad yesterday, head coach Hadden was fulsome in his praise of the youngster.
Jackson said: “It’s obviously good to hear coming from the head man himself. It gives you confidence that you’re doing something right if he’s saying it.”
However, Hadden did express some concern at Jackson’s lack of senior experience at fly-half.
The player himself said: “I’ve been fly-half pretty much all my life and I’ve had a few games at full-back. I’ve played a mixture of both this year but stand-off is where I’m most comfortable.
“Obviously, there’s going to be pressure there and being involved with Scotland is the biggest experience I’ll have had.
“But, as a professional, that’s what you relish. You want to be in the big-pressure situations - that’s hopefully where you can excel.”