Scotland hooker Stuart McInally set to retire and pursue career as airline pilot

- Advertisement -

Scotland international Stuart McInally will soon be flying high when he hangs up his boots in November to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot.

The 32-year-old Edinburgh hooker will call time on his career when his contract ends later this year to earn his wings in professional aviation, with McInally already holding a Private Pilot’s License.

He joined Edinburgh’s academy in 2009 and made his professional debut against Munster in 2010, making his 176th appearance for the club in Saturday’s emphatic victory against Ospreys.

The former Scotland and Edinburgh captain will wear the castle on his chest for the last time this Friday night against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium and it remains to be seen if he will be included in Gregor Townsend’s squad for the World Cup in France this autumn.

McInally said: “It was really tough knowing this was the moment to move on. 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 BT 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.

“While I’m obviously sad to be moving on, this decision has really been 10 years in the making. I started flying back in 2013 and a lot of work has gone in to get to this point. I’m now massively excited to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot.”

McInally is currently sixth on the club’s all-time appearance list, behind only Allan Jacobsen (273), Chris Paterson (205), Ross Ford (199), Grant Gilchrist (188) and WP Nel (186).

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair described McInally as the “definition of a complete professional”, saying: “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.

“Stuart commands respect across the club because of the way he carries himself as both a professional rugby player and a man.

“There isn’t a training session he won’t give 110 per cent to, or a meeting he won’t fully prepare for – he’s the definition of a complete professional and his team-mates look up to him because of his leadership.

“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.

“He’s completely driven to achieve his dreams and that’s exactly what he’s done during his time with Edinburgh and Scotland in over a decade of service to the sport.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.