Players inducted into BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academies

Scottish Rugby launched its new talent development pathway, the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday (27 June). 

Some 87 of the nation’s most promising male and female rugby players became the first tranche of inductees to enter the brand new academy at a special opening event at the home of Scottish Rugby.

The players were presented with their Academy jerseys unique to the four regions – Borders and East Lothian, Caledonia, Edinburgh and Glasgow and the West – in which they will be based, from current Scotland internationalists, who have come through the previous Elite Development Player programme. 

The players have been identified to enter the four Academy facilities as Scottish Rugby aims to deepen the pool of players capable of competing at the top levels of the game and strengthen its player development pathway.

The announcement sees one of Scottish Rugby’s major policy initiatives, announced in November 2013, come to fruition.

Scottish Rugby has secured a series of fundamental national and regional partners, which will play a vital role in the delivery of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and put in place a permanent infrastructure to help future proof the game.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, said: “Improving the depth and quality of our player pool has been an absolute priority for some time now, and today’s induction is a significant achievement on that path.

“In recent years we have seen a high standard of international players coming through our Elite Development Player programme, but in this ever-evolving sport we must keep improving how we bring through the next generation of players.

“Scottish Rugby thanks BT, and our regional partners, who have bought into our vision and helped bring it to fruition.

We set ourselves a target 18 months ago to deliver a national academy structure and we have delivered on that.”

Scott Johnson, Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby, said: “The world of rugby doesn’t stand still. We need to constantly ensure our young talent has access to the best possible facilities, development programmes and expertise, to help us bring on players who are prepared for the rigours of professional and international rugby. 

“Developing the logistics for the new structure has been our first challenge. We now move into the operational phase, and I believe we have the right team in place to make that a success.”

It is intended the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy will have a positive impact on all levels of the game, with its players contributing to the top level of domestic rugby, continuing contact with the two pro-teams and in contention for selection to international age-grade and representative sides. 

Each player will benefit from bespoke strength, conditioning, medical and playing facilities and expertise, from both the dedicated Academy staff and from the continued partnership with the sportscotland Institute of Sport.

They will also be encouraged and enabled to take on further education and employment opportunities during their time in the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy, to help develop their lives outside of rugby.

Scottish Rugby Head of Academy and Performance Programmes, Stephen Gemmell, said: “The BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy will provide our players with state-of-the-art facilities and support, whilst immersing them in a professional rugby environment.

This is a hugely exciting time for Scottish Rugby. There has been a great deal of hard work put in to get us to this stage and the announcement of the players today is the final piece of the implementation jigsaw.

“Now the focus turns to everyone working together to ensure that the players make best use of the opportunities afforded to them”.

Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland, said: “From the beginning we have set out to support Scottish Rugby at all levels of the game with a specific focus on creating a positive impact in local communities.

“The BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy will give young people playing rugby at clubs throughout Scotland a real target to aim for in terms of their personal development. Our investment will help develop these players as athletes and as people who can bring the skills they have learned back to their clubs, schools and communities.”

BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy, Glasgow and the West 

Paul

Cairncross

Stage 2

East Kilbride / Kelvinside Academy

Hooker

Rachel

Cook

Stage 2

Mujrrayfield Wanderers

Blindside Flanker

Scott

Cummings

Stage 3

Glasgow Hawks

Lock

Andrew

Davidson

Stage 3

Glasgow Hawks

Lock

Michael

Dewar

Stage 3

Wasps *

Openside flanker

Cameron

Fenton

Stage 3

Stirling County

Hooker

Robbie

Fergusson

Stage 3

Ayr

Centre

Calum

Gaw

Stage 2

Ayr *

Centre

Nick

Griggs

Stage 3

Stirling County

Centre

George

Horne

Stage 3

Glasgow Hawks

Scrum-half

Martin

Hughes

Stage 2

St. Aloysius College

Blindside flanker

Calum

Hunter-Hill

Stage 3

Stewart’s-Melville FP *

Lock

Patrick

Kelly

Stage 3

Le Parc *

Centre

Jade

Konkel

Stage 2

Hillhead Jordanhill

Number 8

Charlie

Lonergan

Stage 2

GHA

Centre

James

Malcolm

Stage 3

Ayr

Hooker

Keiron

McDonald

Stage 3

Glasgow Hawks

Lock

Louise

McMillan

Stage 2

Hillhead Jordanhill

Blindside flanker

Gregor

Paxton

Stage 2

Ayr

Centre

Ali

Price

Stage 3

Ayr

Scrum-half

Paul

Ramsey

Stage 2

Glasgow Hawks

Winger

Archie

Russell

Stage 2

Ayr

Centre

Andrew

Simpson

Stage 2

Currie

Number 8

Lana

Skeldon

Stage 2

Hillhead Jordanhill

Hooker

Robbie

Smith

Stage 2

Newton Stewart *

Hooker

Matt

Smith

Stage 3

Glasgow Hawks

Openside flanker