Hopetoun Estate, in South Queensferry, has a team of keen rugby players in residence but they’re not the usual burly bunch…
The Hopetoun ‘team’ is this year’s flock of Christmas turkeys that have shown an interest in the sport. The discovery came after the feathered friends joined in on a practice session with Hopetoun farmer’s son.
Dedicated rugby fan Joshua Eagers (16) – previously part of the Scotland Under 16 rugby team and now plays within the Edinburgh Under 18 pathway programme – was joined by the adventurous turkeys when practicing his rugby skills one afternoon.
Mike Eagers, Hopetoun Estate’s farmer, explains: “Joshua was helping me on my rounds of Hopetoun Estate one day when he took a break to have a kick about with his rugby ball and noticed the turkeys looking on in awe, so Joshua passed the ball to the feathered flock and to our surprise…they got stuck in!”
Now it’s a regular session with the Hopetoun turkeys loving nothing more than joining Joshua for “team training” with some of the poultry showing some promise for the game.
Mike continued: “If such a thing as Turkey rugby existed our team would be top of the league – there have definitely been some stand out “players” that could give some local rugby teams a run for their money!”
Every year Mike and his wife Mary rear over one hundred Bronze turkeys on Hopetoun’s farm, which then go on sale in the Hopetoun Farm Shop.