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Robinson happy to have Heathcote

Bath fly-half Tom Heathcote has gone from playing alongside Andy Robinson's son to taking a place on the Scotland bench for Saturday's EMC Test with Tonga.

Ex-Bath captain turned Scotland head coach Robinson, whose family home is in the city, first approached Heathcote, who has played for England at age-group level, in January after learning of the fly-half's birthplace. The club website incorrectly listed Inverness-born Heathcote as Bath born, something which was amended this week following his call to Aberdeen.

"I know a lot about Tom," Robinson said. "I watched him as a 16-year-old, so I've seen his development through to the Under-20s last year. The opportunity that's there for him we'll see coming off the bench, but I'm delighted he's chosen Scotland."

Heathcote added: "I'm not too sure where they got the fact I was born in Bath from. He caught wind of it somewhere, considering it wasn't on the Bath website. It turned out well that he knew."

Heathcote spoke to his coaches at Bath, England head coach Stuart Lancaster and his friends and family about the approach before settling on a decision.

The timing of his call-up came as something of a surprise, considering he has had limited action this term following a knee injury sustained during pre-season.

He has played for Bath's second XV and two matches in the LV= Cup in the last month and is raring to go in the Test arena after speaking to his club-mates with a Scottish connection, Jack Cuthbert, Mark McMillan and Simon Taylor.

"Hopefully if I get on I'll feel in pretty good shape," added Heathcote, who joined Bath's academy aged 15, having attended Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury. "Having not played too much it was a bit of a surprise. During my rehab I wanted to get fit and to be in with the opportunity to be fit for these games. I'm even more excited to get started now."

Heathcote made an impression on a number of his new team-mates during the Heineken Cup clash between Glasgow Warriors and Bath at Firhill last season. He kicked six penalties, with Stephen Donald adding another, but a late Richie Gray try saw Glasgow win.

"I didn't really know too much about this at the time," said Heathcote, who has replaced Ruaridh Jackson in the squad as Greig Laidlaw's understudy. "The game being one of my first games for Bath I wanted to play well for Bath, first and foremost, and I ended up having one of my best games of the season."


From Belfast Telegraph