Academy duo sign professional contracts

Two more players have graduated from the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy with George Horne and Paddy Kelly signing professional contracts with Glasgow Warriors.

The pair made their Warriors debuts together earlier this season, both coming off the bench in a home game against the Ospreys and join each other in signing one-year deals at Scotstoun from next season through until at least May 2018.

Horne and Kelly currently play in the BT Premiership with Glasgow Hawks and have previously spent time with London Scottish in the English Championship.

George, who’s older brother Peter also signed a new contract earlier this year, can play in both of the half-back positions and played at scrum-half on his Warriors debut.

The 21-year old has impressed in several HSBC World Sevens Series tournaments for Scotland this season and has also represented his country at age-grade level.

Centre Kelly has also played his way through the Scotland age grades and spent time in France playing for Le Parc in National B.

In 2016 the 21-year-old was a recipient of Scottish Rugby’s MacPhail Scholarship, following in the footsteps of the likes of Adam Ashe, Jonny Gray and Finn Russell in going to New Zealand to develop.

The pair take the total number of academy graduates this season to five, with Lewis Wynne, Matt Smith and Jamie Bhatti having already committed their futures to Glasgow.

Speaking exclusively to George Horne said: “We’ve been in the academy for a couple of years now, so it’s good to take that next step up and I’m looking forward to the challenge. 

“It was good to go and play with Scotland 7s. It was a different experience playing at a higher level, seeing some of the world and playing against some top guys. It has helped me and given me confidence going into the professional set-up and playing 15s.

“It was pretty special to play with my brother against Connacht. It made me relaxed, he helped me a lot and it was a special day for our family. Pete has had a great career so far and hopefully we’ll now get to play a few more games together for Glasgow.”

Speaking exclusively to Paddy Kelly said: “On the back of Scotland U20 we both joined the academy and although George was the season before me at London Scottish we’ve taken similar paths and it’s really good to go professional together.

Patrick Kelly has signed until May 2018“The academy is doing brilliantly, there has a been a good few years of players taking the next step and that reflects really well on the academy. We have learnt a lot and there is a good group of boys and coaches there as well.”

BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Manager Jamie Dempsey said: “It’s fantastic to see two more players graduating, it shows how progressive the structure we have in place is.

“George is a highly competitive individual and Paddy is a confident articulate person with a very cool head.

“It’s really encouraging to see two young backs coming through and I’m sure they’re going to go on to do really well.”

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend added: “George and Paddy have worked extremely hard for this opportunity and it’s great to see two more players graduate from our academy.

“Five of our academy players have signed professional contracts with us this season and a total of 13 players who remain at the club have come through our system over the last three years. 

“It’s a testament of the quality of the young players in the west of Scotland and also a great reflection on the developmental pathway we have in place."