Scottish Rugby Wins Funding Boost

The future of Scottish rugby was boosted today when Sport Minister, Stewart Maxwell, announced sportscotland will invest ?£752,500 in grassroots rugby to increase participation and retain talented young players. Speaking at the Scottish Rugby Sponsors' Conference at Murrayfield, the Minister announced the investment in Scottish Rugby, which will help to support the sport and encourage its development, particularly at youth level. The future of Scottish rugby was boosted today when Sport Minister, Stewart Maxwell, announced sportscotland will invest ?£752,500 in grassroots rugby to increase participation and retain talented young players.

Speaking at the Scottish Rugby Sponsors' Conference at Murrayfield, the Minister announced the investment in Scottish Rugby, which will help to support the sport and encourage its development, particularly at youth level.

A significant proportion of the funding will support the network of dedicated development managers employed at regional level. Their remit is to increase participation and encourage the retention of young players.

Mr Maxwell said: "This new funding ploughs ?£752,500 into the future success of Scottish rugby.

"With youth participation growing, there is a real appetite for rugby among young people in Scotland.

"This investment will support the sport at a regional level and capitalise on this growing interest. It will also help talented young players to continue in the sport and provide a welcome boost to the senior game."

The regional structure is also impacting on the women's game with numbers increasing by almost 50% in 2007.

Mr Maxwell confirmed that over ?£3 million has been invested in rugby over the past three years, consolidating sportscotland's position as one of SRU's major funding partners.

Scottish Rugby continues to lead the way in implementing the UKCC qualification system for coaches ensuring that Scotland's young players will have access to the best coaching talent available. 440 rugby coaches in Scotland have already been through the level one training programme giving them an important and recognisable UK coaching qualification and providing a pool of coaches with the expertise to drive the sport forward.

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive sportscotland said: "The funding announced today will impact on the sport of rugby right across the board. We enjoy a very strong partnership with Scottish Rugby, providing support in areas as diverse as youth development and volunteering to supplement the expertise already within the sport. We look forward to continuing that work to develop the game in Scotland."

The announcement is timely in a weekend where two of Scotland's biggest youth competitions, The Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Cup and the John Lewis Youth League Cup take place. Young players from Trinity Academy joined the Sports Minister, sportscotland and Scottish Rugby to celebrate the announcement at Murrayfield today.

Welcoming the investment, Gordon McKie, Chief Executive Scottish Rugby said: "Our partnership with sportscotland is all about increasing participation and improving performance.

"This investment is integral to the achievement of our strategic plan with the main emphasis being on growing the game in partnership with the many dedicated volunteers in clubs and schools throughout Scotland. We look forward to continuing to work with sportscotland and the Scottish Government to encourage more of our young people to enjoy our sport and be physically active."

* In 2007 sportscotland invested over ?£10 million in 54 sports governing bodies

* The ?£752,500 investment in the SRU is made up of ?£146,000 from the sportscotland Lottery Fund and ?£606,500 from Scottish Government sportscotland funding.

* The funding makes a substantial contribution to Scottish Rugby's ability to employ Performance Development Managers. These Managers work throughout the country identifying players with potential in clubs and schools and help those players to realise their potential through a variety of initiatives including skills development and strength and conditioning programmes.

* sportscotland also provides ?£150,000 support for rugby's performance programme delivered by the Scottish Institute of Sport and Area Institute Network.

Our picture shows Scottish Rugby chairman Allan Munro and Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell at today's announcement at Murrayfield