Edinburgh graduate and Scotland’s former 7s captain and most capped player, Colin Gregor might have retired from professional rugby but his ambition is undimmed.
Growing up in Strathblane north of Glasgow, Colin was always a keen rugby player but he never envisaged that a professional career, a record 58 caps in rugby sevens and two Commonwealth Games, awaited him post University.
When choosing where to study back in 1999, Colin was faced with the big ‘Glasgow or Edinburgh’ question. Unlike the majority of his school mates, he opted to go east, attracted by the student experience of Pollock Halls, a general appreciation of the capital city and, of course, the great choice of local rugby clubs on offer.
Colin’s aim to get the true student living experience at Pollock Halls was fulfilled during his first year living at Baird House where he recalls good friendships, good food and never a shortage of people to socialise with. He even found his future best man!
As a history student, Colin often found himself camped in the main library where he admits that he never felt quite at home. Peffermill playing fields, on the other hand, evokes much fonder memories as the venue of the annual university rugby sevens tournament and intra-mural sport. Colin recalls teaming up with friends to play both intra-mural football and rugby for the Law Society, although still remains unsure as to how and why they became honorary lawyers.
Three months prior to graduation, and while studying for his final exams, Colin made his Scotland 7s debut in Hong Kong. With a degree in history and his first international cap under his belt, an invitation to return west and train with Glasgow Warriors presented the next challenge. From 2004 onwards Colin played professional rugby for Glasgow, clocking up 130 appearances while also representing Scotland 7s at every opportunity.
It was an international career that took him around the globe from Scotstoun to Sydney, London to Las Vegas. As Scotland captain for five years, Colin competed in three Rugby World Cup Sevens and two Commonwealth Games.
As for his personal highlight, it is the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games that top the list. From playing street cricket and meeting royals on Scotland Street in the Athlete’s Village, to the incredible welcome for Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony and the atmosphere for the sevens tournament at Ibrox.
Although the Olympic debut of rugby sevens at Rio next year was a temptation for Colin, in July of this year he was forced to retire from professional rugby with a knee injury. Reflecting on the first couple of months of his retirement, Colin confesses to enjoying his newly acquired freedom from strict training and match schedules and has a multitude of projects on the go to keep him busy.
He is currently studying for a Masters in Team Dynamics at Heriot Watt University with particular focus on assessing the impact of conflict on team performance. By using his experience of maximising team performance and leadership on the sports field, he aims to test whether similar principals are applicable to the world of business.
Back in rugby, Colin is coaching with Glasgow Hawks and Glasgow Academy as well as organising his own camps for school pupils and has taken on some media work too. To round it all off, he has been invited to be involved in the Olympic Games athlete welfare programme, so maybe he will make it to Rio after all!
Colin Gregor is one of a number of sporting guests who will be joining students, staff, alumni and friends of the University at Just a Sports Quiz 2015 on Friday 6th November at BT Murrayfield. Book your table and compete against Edinburgh's finest.
All proceeds from the event will support the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease research at the University of Edinburgh.