TEENAGE rugby star Matthew Ferguson is making a big impression on the international stage.

Having played rugby union since the age of five, the 17-year-old from Acomb only took up rugby league three years ago to continue playing his favourite sport during the summer months.

Last year, he captained Scotland U17 in a rugby league match against Wales at Wigan’s Robin Park Arena.

Now the centre has moved up the age scale, and has made two appearances for the Thistle at U19 level.

Ferguson qualifies to play for Scotland due to his father Brian, who hails from Fife, and moved to the Tyne Valley in the 1970s, and represented Tynedale RFC junior teams as a youngster.

“It’s been great to play for Scotland,” said Ferguson. “I’ve enjoyed the experience and it’s a very good environment in which to learn and develop.”

International duty has opened doors for the former pupil of Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School. His Scotland connections have enabled him to sign for Edinburgh Eagles.

Ferguson is also part of Newcastle Thunder’s training squad, and as part of his all-round development, he is currently studying a BTEC sport course in rugby excellence at Tyne Metropolitan College, in North Tyneside.

The youngster, who intends to study sports management or sports business at Northumbria University from September 2020, is hopeful of representing Scotland U19 against his home nation of England in October.

He added: “It would be huge to play against England. In general, rugby league has helped me to come on as a player, so it has also had benefits for my rugby union.”

A long-term Tynedale junior player, Ferguson is dividing his time between various commitments this summer.

He trains three times per week with Newcastle Thunder on the 3G pitch at Kingston Park, and has also started working at E.T. Fitness and Therapy in Hexham, where he has been helping Prudhoe & Stocksfield’s players prepare for their new season.

Ferguson has played for P&S at sevens rugby this summer, and is set to represent Tynedale Colts during the forthcoming rugby union campaign.

“I just want to keep working hard and improving,” said Ferguson, whose father played for Annan, and also enjoyed a spell in South Africa, before hanging up his boots.