Rugby Feast Set For The Highlands

The Scotland under-20 team will be looking for their first win in Inverness on Friday 25 February when they take on their Irish counterparts (kick-off 7.30pm, admission FREE.) After last year’s 8-8 draw with France in the 6 Nations Championship at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Scotland will be seeking to improve on that result and taste victory for the first time on Highland soil.

After their last defeat to Wales at Bridgehaugh, the team will be set on breaking their two-match losing run and creating a turn around in their 6 Nations campaign. Ireland have won one of their two 6 Nations fixtures so far and will also be looking to seal victory after defeat to France.

Scotlands Mark Bennett will be looking for a win against the Irish

Last year’s turnout was an impressive 3,000 and this year the Scots are hoping for an even bigger response from the local support. With a large crowd behind them, the team will be aiming to impress the on-lookers and show off Scotland’s future rugby talent.

There will also be a S1/2 rugby competition held on the same day at Canal Park home of Highland RFC, bringing 13 teams and 150 players from different parts of the country to meet for a 10-a-side intense rugby tournament. The festival looks to bring sides together from around Scotland, with teams travelling from as far afield as Orkney.
The Orkney team named ‘Orkney Schools’ will face a long trip before arriving in Inverness and will be staying on after the tournament to watch the national team in action, showing their great dedication and enthusiasm for the game.

Bruce Ruthven, club development officer for Orkney, said: “The guys are looking forward to it and show great discipline when travelling.

They enjoy playing the game and it’s a positive step for youth rugby in the whole Highland region”.

With a generous donation from the Inverness Common Good fund, the tournament will provide all participants with travel costs and a hot meal after the tournament. The competition will act as a great lead-in to the evening fixture, kicking off a full day of action-packed rugby.

It’s hoped that Friday night’s game will inspire the young rugby players, giving them of glimpse of what they could achieve.

Highlands SVQ Community coach Gary Mackenzie told “Those who follow rugby in the north will have the opportunity to watch some of Scotland's up and coming rugby stars, while those not familiar with the game can enjoy the spectacle on the pitch as well as soaking up the atmosphere within the stadium.

“Youth rugby in the Highlands has come a long way in the last few years. With the appointment of development officers Alan Falconer at Highland RFC and Bruce Ruthven at Orkney RFC, there has been a marked increase in playing numbers.

“The fixture will increase the profile of rugby within the Highlands, and will hopefully attract more players and spectators to the sport.

“Having an international rugby match in the Highlands is of great benefit not only to those who enjoy the game, but also to the wider community.”

The teams who will be involved in the 10-a-side tournament are as follows; Charleston Academy, Inverness Royal Academy, Orkney Schools, Wick High School, Kingussie High School, Plockton High School, Nairn Academy, Tain Academy, Glenurquhart High School, Lochaber, Fortrose Academy and Thurso High School.