SHAUN Orr is a gifted young rugby player aiming for the top.
The Kirkcaldy forward marked his first full season as a senior team regular by winning The Fife Free Press Star Check trophy.
Aged just 18, he is one of the youngest ever winners of the prestigious award, based on scores given by our match reporter, John Methven, after each match.
Shaun is currently in his final year of a mechanical engineering course at Adam Smith College, but he told the Press that his ambition is to become a professional rugby player.
“My plan is just to keep working hard and see how far I take it,” he said. “I’d like to progress to another level but it all starts with the roots here.
“Becoming a rugby professional is my dream, but I can only go further by playing in the first team here, so that’s my only focus for now.
“Hopefully down the line I can take a step up to the next level.”
Shaun has made remarkable progress since taking up rugby during first year at Buckhaven High School.
He reflected: “I was really unfit so football and other sports were out of the question, but my teacher, Mr Allan, suggested I would be good for rugby, because all shapes can play it.
“I gave it a bash, and it was the only sport I’d ever felt comfortable with.
“I didn’t like the tackling at first, but by the time I got to third year I’d picked it up and it was starting to come naturally.”
A family friend with links to Kirkcaldy Rugby Club noticed Shaun’s blossoming talent and invited him to training aged 15.
“Although I was a wee bit shaky to start with I quickly got into it and was made to feel part of the club,” he said.
“The best thing about this club is everyone makes you feel welcome when you first come in. They help you if you’re struggling and give you confidence boosts.”
Shaun only had to wait two years before making his first XV debut as a second half substitute in a Premier Three match against Jordanhill.
“I was really nervous before going on because I didn’t want to make any mistakes in front of the head coaches,” he recalled.
“I got told as I was going on just to have fun and that put me at ease. Ever since then things have just been getting better for me.”
Shaun now has a key role as a second row forward, and is looking to kick-on and improve even further when the new rugby season kicks-off in August.
“I think I’ve developed quite good this year, and next year will be my year to really step up,” he said.
“I feel comfortable in the first team now and I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to the new season already.
“I’m expecting a tough pre-season because we’ll be looking to getting our fitness up if we’re going to push for promotion.
“If we can get our forwards mobile we’ll have a good year. Our backs are fit, it’s just the forwards that are lacking a wee bit. Hopefully with a tough pre-season behind us we’ll be ready for the new season.”