After successful years at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, Hastings Jnr., son of former Lions captain Gavin, thought a change of horizons would provide him with the challenge he needed to kick-start his rugby career.
The move to Millfield, the prestigious Somerset school, proved a success as he helped them win the Rosslyn Park Sevens and St Joseph’s Festival. And last week he put in a man-of-the-match display to see Millfield claim the first ever Champions Trophy beating Grammar School at Leeds in the final.
“It was one of the best competitions I have won since being at Millfield,” he told The Rugby Paper. “There was always going to be one first-ever winner so it’s nice to have the school’s name on the trophy first.
“George Watson’s was a great environment but I needed a new challenge. I needed to put myself out of my comfort zone and Millfield were perfect for that. We were the big school up in Scotland and everyone wanted to beat us which is quite similar to Millfield now and that helped the transition.
“We had a good 15s season winning the St Joseph’s Festival as well as the Champions Trophy but we’ll be looking to back it up in Sevens and retain the Rosslyn Park title we won last year.
“I’ve had to hear about my dad all my life so I’ve learnt to live with it. I don’t feel any particular pressure because of my name.
“It can be frustrating to always be compared to him but it can’t be bad to be compared to an international rugby player so I’m quite pleased, really. It’s nice to have him giving me tips and things I should work on because he knows what he’s talking about.”
Kicking a rugby ball in his back garden from as far back as he can remember, Hastings was destined to follow in his dad and uncle Scott’s footsteps but he also proved a fine athlete throwing the javelin for Scotland at the British Schools championship in Dublin and reaching the National Schools Cup final in football.
But when it came down to it, rugby took the spoils. Having represented his country at U16s and U18s level already, the U20s and the Junior World Cup are next on his agenda.
“I always liked football and I played until two years ago but it came to a point where I had to choose. My dad was pretty relaxed about it but I knew in the back of my head that I was always going to choose rugby.
“I prefer playing fly-half so I can get involved more than in the centres but I’d play hooker if it means wearing a Millfield or Scotland shirt.
“I’ll qualify for England this summer but I’ll never turn my back on Scotland. It wouldn’t go down well if I told my family and friends that Twickenham was my home ground!
“I’m only in my first year of U20s so I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to make the team this summer. I’ll just do what I can for Millfield and see what happens.”
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