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Scotland star hanging up his boots to earn his wings

SPOTLIGHT: Scotland hooker Stuart McInally has announced he is hanging up his boots to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot.


The 32-year-old Edinburgh player, who has won 47 international caps, will play his final game for the club against Ulster in Belfast on Friday.

McInally will officially call time on his career when his contract ends in November, leaving the door open for possible selection for the World Cup in France later this year.

He most recently played for Scotland in the 2022 Six Nations.

“It was really tough knowing this was the moment to move on,” said McInally, who already holds a private pilot’s licence.

“I always thought it would be really easy to retire because I’ve always known what I want to do after rugby – become a pilot – but stepping away from the club I love is massive and it’s been a huge decision.

“However, I feel ready and this is such an exciting opportunity. I drive under a flight path every morning on my journey into Murrayfield and so often see planes landing at Edinburgh Airport.


“I start to think ‘what is the pilot seeing?’, ‘how are they adapting?’ – and that itself gets me excited for the next steps in my career.”

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair described McInally, who joined Edinburgh’s academy in 2009, as the “definition of a complete professional”.

“Stuart is a club legend and he’ll go down as one of Edinburgh Rugby’s most celebrated players because of his commitment to the jersey and dedication to being the best player he can possibly be for his boyhood team.”

He added: “Stuart will soon move on to a new career as a pilot and I’ve got no doubts he’ll be a success in that too. I’ve seen first-hand how dedicated he was when switching from back-row to hooker.”


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