Stuart McInally made the decision in the summer of 2013 to emulate the career path of fellow club player, Scotland and British & Irish Lions internationalist Ross Ford – to make the positional switch from back-row to hooker.
He won his first cap for Scotland against Italy in Turin in the 2015 summer series.
McInally made his debut at hooker for Edinburgh, off the bench, at Myreside against Ospreys in February 2015 and his first start in that position at the away victory over Treviso in March.
He played his first full match at hooker in the next game, the win over Scarlets, during which he took over captaincy from the injured Mike Coman. Due to back row injury, he started on the blindside in the European Cup semi final against Dragons (April 2015) and set the ball rolling in the win with a superb try.
Like Ford, McInally has represented every Scotland age-grade side in the back-row.
He has also represented Scotland A, toured with Scotland overseas and been an unused match-day replacement for the national team.
However, in order to pursue his international ambitions, he is applying his widely-appreciated footballing skills and know-how to transforming himself as a player, and ultimately earning selection in Scotland’s extended squad for the Rugby World Cup 2015.
An age-grade back-row of some distinction, the former head boy of George Watson’s College was introduced him to the first team in late 2010.
Since then McInally grew in stature, joining the list of promising young players at the club that were taking advantage of the internationalists on duty at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Having impressed in the first half of the 2011/12 season McInally penned a two year extension with the club until 2014 and immediately began to repay the faith shown in him with a characteristically decisive try in the round one win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.
One of Edinburgh Rugby’s most consistent performers, McInally was selected to start as one third of the detructive back-row units in Scotland A’s back-to-back wins over the England Saxons – the first being the 2012, 35-0 thrasing at Netherdale, the second, and equally memorable, memorable occasion being the 13-9 victory at Kingston Park, Newcastle (the A-side’s first win on English soil, on the sixth time of trying) the following year.
An age-grade internationalist of some repute, McInally captained Scotland at U17, U18, U19 and U20 and has represented the Scotland 7s on the HSBC Sevens World Series. His short-game debut was in Dubai in the opening tournament of the 2009-2010 IRB Sevens World Series, and he went on to play also in the George (South Africa) event a week later.
Previously, Stuart scored a try in the 25-11 win against Ireland in the 2008 under-18 festival, and, as captain in those games, he followed on from leading Scotland in winning all three matches in the under-17 festival at Millfield School, Somerset, the previous year.
That year, too, he was named Scottish Rugby Awards’ Scotland Under-17 Player of the Season. He has played also for Edinburgh at under-16 (season 2005-2006) and under-18 (2006-2007 and 2007-2008).
He captained Scotland under-18 in all six matches in March and April 2008, including the Six Nations Festival in Cork, Ireland. He was included in the Scotland under-19 squad for the following season, but he was promoted to the under-20 team, making his debut in the 18-17 win against Wales at McDiarmid Park, Perth, on the opening day of the age group’s 6 Nations Championship in February 2009.
He went on to play in all four of the subsequent matches, scoring a try in the 35-20 win against Ireland at McDiarmid Park, Perth, and his ever-present run continued in the IRB Junior World Championship in Japan in June that year with four starts and an appearance off the bench. He scored a try in the tournament finale win against Tonga in Osaka.
Stuart was then named captain of the 2010 under-20 6 Nations squad and started every match.