A BIGGAR loosehead prop is one of three talented youngsters to be given the opportunity to experience playing in South Africa.

Ben White, along with Musselburgh’s Joss Arnold and Ayr’s Jack Craig, have been awarded the coveted John Macphail Rugby Scholarship.

And they will spend five months immersed in South Africa’s renowned rugby culture at the high-performance training facility at Stellenbosch University from January.

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White plays regularly for Biggar in National One after beginning his career at the club from a young age before moving to Peebles.

He then progressed through the Scottish Rugby pathway and played in the under-18s Six Nations last year.

On his return received on return a contract to join the U20 PONI (Players of National Interest) group.

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White said: “I’m really excited about the John Macphail Rugby Scholarship which is an opportunity of a lifetime for me particularly when you see the number of top players that have done the scholarship in the past.

“I leave on January 21 and return on July 1 staying at Stellenbosch University.

“I’m close to Monroe Job who did it last year and he advised me to seize the opportunity with both hands and enjoy every minute, which is what I always intended to do.

"Hopefully it will lead to a pro contract in the future.

“I don’t know Josh and Jack well but I’m sure we’ll get to know each other over there.

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“I’d like to thank everyone at Biggar and Peebles Rugby clubs for their support.

"I was in the Hypers development group at Biggar for a couple of seasons, sponsored by the Kirkstyle Hotel, before going to Peebles where I played from early Piranhas up through the Peebles High School team and the Colts, before leaving last year to join Biggar's first team at 15.”

The Macphail Scholarship was established in 2005, as a partnership between the Robertson Trust and Scottish Rugby.

Created in memory of ex-Scotland Internationalist John Macphail (1949-1951), the programme was developed for talented young players and has also played a key role in the development of coaches, including Kenny Murray and Chris Paterson.

Previous recipients of the scholarship include Scotland players Grant Gilchrist, George Turner, Jonny Gray and Finn Russell.

Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby technical and operations director, said: “The Macphail Scholarship consistently delivers a special experience for some of the best young players in the country to develop and grow in a new environment.

“We’d like to thank The Robertson Trust and Macphail family for enabling Ben, Joss and Jack to experience a world class playing environment in South Africa that will enhance them as players and people at the start of their rugby journey.

“The scholarship has played a vital role in the careers of international players and we know this next set of players will also reap the benefits from this experience.”

Jim McCormick, CEO of the Robertson Trust, added: “We are proud to have played a part in the development of the best young players and coaches in Scotland since 2005.

“All at The Robertson Trust would like to wish Ben, Joss and Jack well for their time in South Africa and their careers. The track record of players who have been through the Scholarship speaks for itself and we hope these players will reap similar benefits.

“Playing in South Africa represents a great opportunity for them to develop as players and people. I look forward to following their progress.”