Patrick Harrison wouldn’t be the first person to let an unknown number ring out to voicemail then wonder curiously who was trying to get hold of him.

The Edinburgh hooker was making his way back from training one day when the call came in, with Harrison happy to blank it and deal with it later.

Only when the 22-year-old pulled in to check did he immediately recognise Gregor Townsend’s face on the profile picture.

Even then Harrison admits he wasn’t entirely sure why the Scotland head coach would be trying to get hold of him. Having made just three substitute appearances for the Edinburgh first team last season, there was little expectation on his part that an international call-up was imminent.

In fact, that was exactly why Townsend was trying to track him down, naming Harrison as one of four hookers and 10 uncapped players for the forthcoming tour of North and South America.

READ MORE: Ten uncapped players named in Scotland squad for summer tour

He admits that his heart rate was pulsing somewhat faster than normal as he prepared to dial Townsend back.

“It was probably pretty high,” he admits now with a smile. “Gregor had phoned me and it was an unknown number so I didn’t answer it. But I pulled in and saw his face on the profile picture and thought, ‘I’d better phone that number back’.  

“It was a surprise, to be fair. I actually wasn’t sure [why he was phoning], to be honest. We had a bit of a chat first then he told me I was on tour. It was really good. I’ve been at Edinburgh four years coming up and that’s been a fair bit of work.

"So I wouldn’t say it’s come about that quickly but it was still a pretty surreal moment when I got that call.

It is nearly four years since Harrison made his Edinburgh debut as an 18-year-oldIt is nearly four years since Harrison made his Edinburgh debut as an 18-year-old (Image: SNS)

“I’d say it’s always a goal if you grow up in Scotland to play for Scotland. This year, though, was mainly about trying to do well for Edinburgh. Scotland was never in the back of my mind so it was a bit of a surprise.”

Having impressed Townsend during his outings for the Edinburgh A side, the West Linton native now hopes he can do so again on the forthcoming tour and earn his first senior cap.

That will almost certainly come in the final game against Uruguay if not before, given two of his rivals for the position – Dylan Richardson and Robbie Smith – will have left the camp by then.

READ MORE: Ten takeaways from Scotland's summer tour squad announcement

Harrison, though, sees this as much of a chance to learn in a new environment as much as making his international debut.

“Even when we had under-20s training camps you would always get the senior team training at the same time so you’d always aspire to be what they were like,” he adds.

“As a player it’s the first time I’ve been in this environment so it’s just about leeching off the coaches and trying to pick up tips to take back and into my game when I go back. It is about learning as much as I can from the opportunity because no doubt it will fly by.

Patrick Harrison insists a lack of minutes with Edinburgh hasn't held him backPatrick Harrison insists a lack of minutes with Edinburgh hasn't held him back (Image: SNS)

“Although I’ve only had three Edinburgh games there have still been A games and Super Series games. I’d say I’ve had enough games. I feel like I’m still getting better.”

Harrison would have been working up a sweat this summer even if he hadn’t been picked for Scotland. His family own and run a diary and sheep farm and the front-rower is often pressed into action helping with the chores about the place.

“I’m from a farm so if I wasn’t playing rugby I’d be back there out on the fields,” he revealed. “I still work there on my days off to give a helping hand.

“It’s a dairy/sheep farm and it’s fairly busy most of the time. I still stay there most of the time, living in the family home, and I help out when I go back.

“I’m sitting in the tractor mostly but back in the day it would be chucking bales about. There are also sheep jobs, especially during lambing season which is fairly hands on. Also harvest jobs which involves sitting in the tractor for fairly long hours.

“I did a wee bit of shearing sheep a year or two ago and I'd say that was definitely the hardest bit.”