National Academy Plans Announced

Scottish Rugby today announced plans for a new National Senior Academy for Scotland coordinated from Murrayfield and the setting up of a working party to explore academy opportunities in the Borders. Related partnerships in Glasgow, Caledonia and other regions will also be examined. Scottish Rugby today announced plans for a new National Senior Academy for Scotland coordinated from Murrayfield and the setting up of a working party to explore academy opportunities in the Borders. Related partnerships in Glasgow, Caledonia and other regions will also be examined.

Starting with the 2007-08 season the National Senior Academy will be based at the home of Scottish Rugby, to manage the rugby development of each player and provide opportunities for them to be fully exposed to the pro team environment, participate in the IRB Sevens Series, Club and National Age Grade programmes.

It’s anticipated there will be 28 full time National Senior Academy players next season, each receiving their own one-on-one development programme, with opportunities for all of them to be placed with the pro teams in Edinburgh and Glasgow as required.

There are plans to continue to work closely with Edinburgh Rugby and their academy and all the National Senior Academy players will continue to play regular club rugby. The Borders Senior Academy players will be encouraged to continue to play their club rugby for a Border club.

After player contracts have been agreed, it’s anticipated the National Senior Academy squad will be announced by the end of the month. Next season the Area Institutes for Sport will concentrate their support on the Junior Academy system. These predominantly under 19s are likely to number 31 players, who will play their rugby at their club or school.

The Junior Academy programme continues unchanged and a special working party will be set up shortly to examine the merits or otherwise of creating an Academy of Sports Excellence in the Borders in the future. Scottish Rugby is in contact with Scottish Borders Council in regard to the working party and plans to invite other local stakeholders and public sector groups to also be part of it.

Commenting on the plans for the National Senior Academy Henry Edwards, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Player Development said, “In assessing our National Academy requirement for next season the simple question we asked ourselves was ‘what will work best for the players?’ We want to give them every opportunity to train full time in a professional rugby environment and we believe this is the best current option.

“There’s total flexibility built into these plans, offering each player the right individual development opportunities, with a players best interests always the deciding factor. ”

Edwards will be part of the Borders working party to assess the academy needs for the region. He said, “This will be an interesting project and we recognise the need to give it careful consideration, following the closure of the Border Reivers pro team.

“Although establishing something in time for next season simply was not possible, as the new Academy season starts next month, we are keen to engage with the various potential funding partners we will be inviting to join the working party. It’s hoped some worthwhile proposals can be put on the table, to complement the existing Junior Academy in the Borders. It’s a concept we are open to discuss in other regions too.”