The Rugby Paper - - Feature - RORY MCMICHAEL

The jour­ney to pro­fes­sional rugby can be a treach­er­ous one for young­sters try­ing to break through, but Rory McMichael will take it to new hori­zons next sea­son by try­ing his luck in Ja­pan.

Since be­ing told there was no room for him in the Lon­don Ir­ish academy next sea­son, the Welling­ton Col­lege cen­tre has been plan­ning his next move and Asia has emerged as his des­ti­na­tion.

Once his ex­ams are over, he will move to China to do some teach­ing be­fore head­ing to Ja­pan with the hope of get­ting his first taste of se­nior rugby with cham­pi­ons Sun­tory be­fore re­turn­ing to Scot­land.

“Lon­don Ir­ish told me a cou­ple of months ago they weren’t go­ing to give me a con­tract to join their academy but I’m hop­ing to play in Ja­pan next sea­son,” he told The Rugby Pa­per.

“I’m go­ing on a gap year to China for five months. I’ll be done in De­cem­ber so I’ll head to Ja­pan af­ter that.

“One of my friends works for Sun­tory and he’s given me the con­tact de­tails of their man­ager. I’ll get in touch and see if I can get in their squad. I’m not sure how likely it is to come off but I’ll see.

“It might not be the same level as the Premier­ship or the Pro12 but there are a lot of very good play­ers and it could be a per­fect step up to se­nior rugby for me.

“It’s pretty much the top league or noth­ing in Ja­pan so if it doesn’t work out I’ll come back to Scot­land and play for a club be­fore I go to Ed­in­burgh Univer­sity the fol­low­ing year.

“Af­ter that I’ll be look­ing to break into the Scot­land U20s squad and maybe join­ing one of the two Pro12 teams.”

El­i­gi­ble to wear the this­tle on his ch­est through his Scot­tish mother, McMichael was picked up at U16s level and he made his de­but at the an­nual Welling­ton Fes­ti­val two years ago.

He moved up to the U18s squad last sea­son and he has been in­volved in the In­ter­na­tional Se­ries in Wales this week.

A de­feat to Wales in the open­ing game was bet­tered by a win over Italy on Wed­nes­day and McMichael is now look­ing to end on a high against Eng­land to­day.

He said: “I had a trial with Scot­land U16s when I was 15 and that’s how it started re­ally. I didn’t get in be­ing a year young but I played the fol­low­ing year and I’ve been play­ing for the U18s for two years now.

“My mother is re­ally happy I’m play­ing for Scot­land and my heart is set on play­ing for them. Rugby was never some­thing I’d con­sid­ered but Scot­land gave me the op­por­tu­nity to play at in­ter­na­tional level.

“That’s how I got to play for Har­lequins and Ir­ish in the past two sea­sons. I owe them a lot and I have to give some­thing back.

“The Se­ries has gone ok so far. We’ve lost one game and won one so hope­fully we can put in a good per­for­mance against Eng­land. “There are a few play­ers from Welling­ton and Lon­don Ir­ish so it’ll be good to face them.”

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