DUBAI // A Dubai schoolboy will put his homework on hold for a few hours this weekend while he attempts to impress the Scotland Under 17 selectors at Murrayfield. Tom Ogilvie, who is in his first year of studying for A-Levels, was born in Aberdeen and hopes to represent his homeland as a back-row forward. The Jumeirah College pupil earned an invitation to train with the Scottish performance squad, on the basis of a video of his performances in training and matches in Gulf age-group rugby.
At his first training camp last July, he was picked for the tier one group for potential future internationals, and returned for further assessment in October. After impressing there he was invited back this weekend. He will train with the squad at Murrayfield tomorrow, then play for the Scottish Exiles - one of five regions from which the side is selected - in a trial match against Caledonia on Sunday, in front of the national selectors.
The Exiles side is for Scottish qualified players who have lived outside the country for two or more years, but the extent most of the squad have travelled is across the border in England. "It does feel a bit like 'Who is this lad from Dubai?'," said Ogilvie, 16. "One of the great things about rugby is they are willing to accept you as long as you are a good player." The recognition for Ogilvie's talent is a major boon for junior rugby in the Arabian Gulf.
He first played for the union's under-16 side aged 14, and credits his rise to the coaches at his club, Dubai Exiles. "A lot of people think the standard in the UK is higher than it is in the Gulf, and it is in terms of the skills," he added. "But having played rugby with the Arabian Gulf for a few years it didn't feel like that much of a step up. "It is testament to the coaching that I have had from unpaid people."