7s hero reaps the rewards from his demanding double life

Date posted

5 July 2021


Scottish rugby 7s star Jamie Farndale has been awarded a first class honours degree after a nine-year academic journey which he has combined with a career in elite international sport.

The 27-year-old got the best of both worlds thanks to Edinburgh Napier’s Dual Career approach which allows talented athletes to balance their studies with a hectic sporting schedule.

Jamie Farndale in blue strip running with rugby ball pursued by opponent in yellow

Now he has graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Business Management after also competing in under-20 World Cups, playing for Edinburgh Rugby, captaining Scotland 7s and finishing top try scorer at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. 

Jamie, who is also Director of Rugby Players Scotland, a company established to represent professional players, said: “The university I was supposed to go to told me I had to choose between university or rugby, but at Edinburgh Napier lecturers have gone massively out of their way to accommodate me.

“Training or competing abroad almost always clashed with lectures, tutorials and exams, and I had to work hard to catch up, and even had to re-sit entire modules due to missing exams.

“What made a difficult task possible was the eagerness to help which I experienced. Lectures were recorded so I could catch up in the evenings, some academics met with me to provide one-on-one tutoring, and others set me different exam assessments to cover times when I was abroad.” 

Former Edinburgh Academy pupil Jamie, who was a Scottish Schools Cup winner at U15 and U18 level, has gained a reputation as a potent attacking threat from the wing, despite suffering an early career leg break.  He is also an accomplished piper.

During his part-time studies at Edinburgh Napier, in 2017, he scored the winning try for the national 7s team with the clock in the red to enable them to complete an amazing comeback from 21-0 down and become the first Scotland side to beat a team from New Zealand.

In the following year’s 7s World Cup in San Francisco, he again scored a try after the full-time hooter to seal a 31-26 comeback win over Kenya before running over 100 metres to score the try in extra time that saw Scotland beat France. 

Portrait of Jamie Farndale in Scotland sevens rugby strip

Jamie said: “Having been able to study towards a degree while playing at the highest level instead of having to wait to complete my studies first has given me such a head start and allowed me the best chance in my rugby career. I am forever grateful to everyone at Edinburgh Napier.

“I hope I still have three or four years left of professional rugby but I will use the time I put into studying to try to get involved in some work-based projects, perhaps in sustainability. Long term, I may look to continue my studies with an MBA or maybe some professional qualifications such as a CA.”

Dr Stephen Robertson, lecturer in Edinburgh Napier’s Business School, worked closely with Jamie during his time at the University and supervised his dissertation.

He said: “Jamie was often on the other side of the world, and working with him over the years taught me what is possible with remote learning. As a second year he used lecture recordings originally created to support dyslexic students to stay up to date with his class and actually finished with the highest scores.

“What Jamie has achieved in his studies is outstanding. What he’s achieved on the field is incredible. That he’s managed to do both at the same time says a lot about his focus, attention to detail and work ethic.” 

Rugby images courtesy of SNS/Scottish Rugby

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