Scottish Rugby Announces Hotlist Of Top Young Talent

Scottish Rugby today announced the latest list of Scotland’s stars of tomorrow – the 2009 / 2010 inductees to the National Academy.
 
A key part of Scottish Rugby’s commitment to nurture the talent of the future for Scotland’s international and professional game, the National Academy was launched in 2005/06.

Since then over 35 players have gone on to win professional contracts and six of them – Johnnie Beattie, John Barclay, Ben Cairns, Nick De Luca, Ross Rennie and Moray Low – have made the ultimate step-up and won selection for Scotland.

National Academy Manager Stephen Gemmell prepares a Scotland 7s squad packed with current and former Academy players

This forthcoming season the Academy roster has been increased to 55 players – 28 of them contracted to Scottish Rugby and 27 supported by the six Area Institutes of Sport.
 
Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby’s National Academy Manager and Scotland Sevens head coach, said: “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.
 
“In doing so we aim to create a seamless transition from school and club rugby through the player pathway programme, AIS and contracted National Academy, and on into the professional game.

“Over the past two years we’ve had 16 Academy players sign professional contracts, with players like Jim Thompson, Kyle Traynor, David Blair and Roddy Grant not only playing professionally but going on to represent Scotland A. That’s the benchmark for the type of player that we want to be producing.

“The exposure and the intensity of the level of the playing opportunities we choose to offer each player though the Academy – be it pro-team, age-grade and Scotland 7s games; as well as playing for the Thistles in the new British and Irish Cup – are combined with their school and club rugby fixtures with the long term development of the individual at the forefront of our decisions at all times.”

Despite the efforts of the Academy and performance development staff in long-term player development, Gemmell was quick to stress the importance of the Academy’s relationship with Scotland’s pro teams – Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.

“What we’re looking at are players who’ve shown promise and shown the potential to progress technically, tactically and physically, in order to cope with the demands of the modern professional game,” explained Gemmell.
 
“We work closely with Glasgow and Edinburgh to understand the needs of the current professional environment in Scotland and they work with us to appreciate the needs that each individual player has. Together we work together to produce better Scottish rugby players.

“It’s a career for these players and we have the responsibility in the Academy, and as a governing body, to support the career development of these players – they have to be allowed to learn the various aspects required to be able to play rugby at the top level.”

The 27 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: “The Area Institutes are delighted to be continuing their partnership with Scottish Rugby and the National Academy coaches, providing an integrated programme of high quality support services to each player which complements and enhances their rugby development."

Contracted Academy Players

Grant Anderson (Ayr)
Chris Bloomfield (unattached)**
Tom Brown (Edinburgh Accies)
Nick Campbell (Glasgow Hawks)*
Struan Dewar (Heriot’s)*
Alex Dunbar (Selkirk)
Grant Gilchrist (Stirling County)*
Robert Harley (West of Scotland)
Stuart Hogg (Heriot’s)*
Peter Jericevich (Glasgow Hawks)
Nicky Little (Hawick)*
Stuart McInally (Watsonians)
Neale Patrick (Boroughmuir)
Joe Stafford (Glasgow Hawks)
Alex Blair (Edinburgh Accies)
Fraser Brown (Watsonians)
Tom Bury (Boroughmuir)*
David Denton (Edinburgh Accies)**
Michael Doneghan (Stewarts-Melville)**
Chris Fusaro (Heriot’s)
Finlay Gillies (Heriot’s)*
Robin Hislop (Boroughmuir)**
Rory Hutton (Heriot’s)
James Johnstone (Currie)*
Ashleah McCulloch (Watsonians)*
Lewis Niven (Edinburgh Accies)
Neil Rodger (Haddington)*
Steven Wilson (Edinburgh Accies)

* denotes a player formerly supported by AIS
** denotes new player to Scottish Rugby’s National Academy

AIS Supported Academy Players

Adam Ash (Stirling County)*
Ross Aitken (Howe of Fife)
Mark Bennett (Cumnock)*
Dougie Fife (Currie)*
Kris Hamilton (Caithness)*
Rory Hughes (GHA)*
Craig Jackson (Melrose)*
Andrew Kirkland (Glasgow Hawks)
Robert McAlpine (West of Scotland)
Ryan McConnell (Peebles)
Craig Owensen (Heriot’s)
Michael Roy (Musselburgh)*
Alex Spence (Haddington)*
Duncan Weir (Glasgow Hawks)
Sam Atkin (Edinburgh Accies)*
Steven Aitken (Aberdeen Grammar)
Murray Beckwith (Marr College)*
Danny Gilmour (Stirling County)
Jason Hill (Heriot’s)
Gregor Hunter (Gala)
Harris Jones (Merchiston Castle School)*
Michael Maltman (Heriot’s)
Murray McConnell (West of Scotland)*
Dougie Orr (Haddington)
Colin Phillips (Stewarts Melville)*
Matthew Scott (Currie)*
Jamie Swanson (Glasgow Academy)*

* denotes new player to Scottish Rugby’s National Academy

Academy players who have signed professional contracts this year
Pat MacArthur – Glasgow Warriors (June 09)
Peter Horne – Glasgow Warriors (June 09)
Roddy Grant – Edinburgh Rugby (June 09)

16 Academy players to have signed professional contracts in the last two years
Pat MacArthur – Glasgow Warriors (June 09)
Peter Horne – Glasgow Warriors (June 09)
Roddy Grant – Edinburgh Rugby (June 09)
Chris Kinloch – Glasgow Warriors (August 08)
Richard Gray – Glasgow Warriors (August 08)
Steven Turnbull – Edinburgh Rugby (June 08)
Sean Crombie – Edinburgh Rugby (June 08)
Kyle Traynor – Edinburgh Rugby (June 08)
Fraser McKenzie – Edinburgh Rugby (June 08)
Jim Thompson – Edinburgh Rugby (June 08)
Bruce McNeil – Edinburgh Rugby (June 08)
Ruaridh Jackson – Glasgow Warriors (June 08)
Calum Forrester – Glasgow Warriors (June 08)
Stephen McColl – Doncaster Knights (June 08)
Colin White – Noceto (June 08)
David Blair – (November 2007)