Aiming To Follow The Famous Five

A key part of Scottish Rugby's commitment to nurture the stars of tomorrow for the international and professional game - the National Academy - today announces its inductees for the 2008-09 season. Since the National Academy launched four seasons ago in 2005-06, some 30 players have gone on to win professional contracts and five of them - John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca and Ross Rennie - have made the ultimate step-up and won selection for Scotland.A key part of Scottish Rugby's commitment to nurture the stars of tomorrow for the international and professional game - the National Academy - today announces its inductees for the 2008-09 season.

Since the National Academy launched four seasons ago in 2005-06, some 30 players have gone on to win professional contracts and five of them - John Barclay, Johnnie Beattie, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca and Ross Rennie - have made the ultimate step-up and won selection for Scotland.

The Academy for the forthcoming season consists of 53 players - 23 of them contracted to Scottish Rugby and the further 30 supported by the six Area Institutes of Sport.

Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby's National Academy Manager, said: "The Academy selects players primarily from their performances in age-group international, district, club and school matches focusing on players who have the potential to be influential in the pro-game and beyond.

_x001C_Then everything we do as Academy staff is tailored around the needs of individual players. They will receive programmes, support and advice, both technical and practical, all built around their individual requirements to give them the best possible chance to enhance their game.

_x001C_This season we are looking to build on the success of previous years. We have changed the terminology and are no longer referring to 'senior' and _x0018_junior' academy players as the perception of junior in some quarters was that the player there was some how less important to Scottish Rugby.

_x001C_Now we are making the distinction between those players who are contracted and those whose needs are better served because of where they are in their education or career, by being under the wing of the Area Institutes of Sport.

_x001C_Our relationship with the pro-teams is first-class and this coming season our 23 contracted Academy players will be working in two dedicated groups with Academy staff at the pro-teams on Mondays and Tuesdays.

_x001C_All of the Academy players will be involved to some extent with club or school rugby. As part of the individual player's development everyone agrees that it's vitally important he plays rugby and the opportunities to do that will include the club game, pro-teams games; back-up games; age-grade internationals and Scotland 7s.

_x001C_Putting the needs of the player first and under the direction of his Academy coach, he will play to a greater or lesser amount in any of these categories."

The 30 players supported by the Area Institutes of Sport will combine their careers or academic studies with their rugby commitments and receive additional guidance from the six Area Institutes: Central, East of Scotland, Grampian, Tayside and Fife, West of Scotland, and Highlands and Islands.

The support provided by the Area Institutes includes performance lifestyle, strength and conditioning, nutrition, medical, psychology, physiology and video analysis.

Lead Rugby Manager for the Area Institutes, Michael Cavanagh, said: _x001C_The Area Institutes deliver high quality services to these players on a local level, meaning we can give them first-class support to contribute to them achieving their full potential._x001D_

National Academy 2008-09

Contracted Academy players (clubs/schools listed at the end of last season)

Grant Anderson (Ayr) - full-back
Alex Blair (Edinburgh Academy) - stand-off
Fraser Brown (Biggar) - hooker
Tom Brown (Edinburgh Academy) - full-back
Innes Brown (Heriot's) - prop
Alex Dunbar (Annan) - centre
Scott Forrest (Ayr) - centre
Chris Fusaro (Heriot's) - flanker
Roddy Grant (Heriot's) - flanker
Richard Gray (Stirling County) - lock
Robert Harley (West of Scotland) - lock
Graham Hogg (Hawick) - centre
Peter Horne (Howe of Fife) - full-back
Jamie Hunter (Glasgow Hawks) - stand-off
Rory Hutton (Hawick) - stand-off
Peter Jericevich (GHA) - scrum-half
Chris Kinloch (Edinburgh Accies) - wing
Pat MacArthur (Ayr) - hooker
Stuart McInally (George Watson's College) - No 8
Lewis Niven (Edinburgh Accies) - prop
Neal Patrick (Dunfermline) - lock
Joe Stafford (Hillhead/Jordanhill) - prop
Steven Wilson (Dundee HSFP) - centre

Area Institutes of Sport supported Academy players (clubs/schools listed at the end of last season)

Ross Aitken (Howe of Fife) - stand-off
Steven Aitken (Ellon) - full-back
Kevin Bryce (Stirling County) - flanker
Tom Bury (Boroughmuir) - wing
Gavin Cameron (Ellon) - prop
Nick Campbell (Cartha Queen's Park) - lock
Struan Dewar (Heriot's) - flanker
Tom Drennan (Edinburgh Accies) - flanker
Andrew Dymock (Dundee HSFP) - scrum-half
Grant Gilchrist (Stirling County) - lock
Finlay Gillies (Heriot's) - hooker
Danny Gilmour (Stirling County) - centre
Jason Hill (Stirling County) - No 8
Gregor Hunter (Gala Wanderers) - stand-off
James Johnstone (Merchiston Castle School) - centre
Andrew Kirkland (Greenock Wanderers) - No 8
Nicky Little (Hawick) - prop
Michael Maltman (Musselburgh) - flanker
Robert McAlpine (Glasgow Academy) - lock
Ryan McConnell (Peebles) - hooker
Ashleah McCulloch (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby) - centre
Dougie Orr (Haddington) - prop
Craig Owenson (Musselburgh) - prop
Gordon Reid (Ayr) - prop
Andrew Renwick (Selkirk) - flanker
Neil Rodger (Haddington) - flanker
Gary Strain (Glasgow Hawks) - prop
Michael Tait (Kelso Harlequins) - centre
Andrew White (Cartha Queen's Park) - stand-off
Duncan Weir (Cambuslang) - stand-off