Scotland international rugby player and Heriot-Watt student Luke Crosbie says playing and winning against England in the 2023 Six Nations Championship was “a dream come true.”
“It was a great experience to be involved in the first game of the Six Nations against England and to get a win, it was a really strong start to our campaign,” says Luke, 25, who is studying a Masters degree in International Business Management part-time at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Business School alongside his rugby career.
Scotland won the game 29-23 in England’s home stadium of Twickenham, which has a crowd capacity of 82,000. It was Scotland’s third successive win against England in the annual Six Nations Championship.
I’ve got to make sure I’m balancing my rugby career with my studies.
“It was a really intense environment, but we were confident as a team and I was confident in my own playing,” Luke says. “We just focused on doing what we do. We got a big win and it was great to see our fans happy afterwards. It was pretty emotional.”
Playing for Scotland
Luke first played for Scotland against Tonga in the 2021 Autumn Nations Series, but this year was his playing debut in the Six Nations. It followed a month of training through the Scottish Rugby Academy, which gives Scotland's young rugby stars a pathway into the professional game.
“After a lot of hard work, to come through the Academy into pro rugby and beat England away was a dream come true,” says Luke, who also played in Scotland’s Six Nations 35-7 defeat of Wales at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. “So that’s a 100% win ratio for me,” he adds.
Luke also plays full-time for Edinburgh Rugby, one of Scotland’s two professional rugby union teams alongside the Glasgow Warriors. With study to fit in, this makes for a hectic schedule.
“Edinburgh Rugby have big games every week, so I’m training with them every week,” Luke explains. “If you play well for Edinburgh and then go to play for Scotland, it means you’re in training camp full-time for the whole the tournament. I’ve got to make sure I’m balancing my rugby career with my studies, so I was doing assignments while leading up to playing for England and Wales. It’s a lot, but it’s good that the University supports me and allows me to study part-time.”
Training and study
Tuesdays before a Saturday game can be the toughest days, with Luke catching up on assignment work in the evening after a full day of team training, gym sessions, injury prevention training and recovery work.
It helps that Scottish Rugby’s training facility is at Oriam, Scotland's national performance centre for sport, based at Heriot-Watt's Riccarton campus in Edinburgh.
“The facilities at Oriam are great because they allow us to train regardless of the weather,” Luke says. “The indoor pitch allows us to get consistent high-quality training through the week, we also have the option to train outdoors if we want to mirror outside conditions. Having the base inside allows us to do our strength and conditioning sessions, field sessions and recovery all in the same location.”
Luke sees his interest in studying business as an extension of his sports career.
“I want to get into business development,” he says. “I’ve got that experience in sport and teamwork and culture and how we can perform best. The same things matter in business. In my course I’m learning about different industries and how they work, and I’m also learning about business through my rugby connections.”
Luke says he enjoys doing presentations around mental skills in high performance. He explains: “I am an ambassador for a financial firm called Wealth Professional and they allow me to learn various aspects about business first hand and implement my experience in sport and tie it in with their values.”
He is looking forward to getting his degree and to continuing his rugby career. “To play for Scotland is a rare thing,” Luke says. “I just want to keep playing as well as I can on an international level and playing well for Edinburgh – and to keep enjoying it.”