Scottish Rugby today met with MSPs from across the political spectrum at Holyrood (Wednesday 19 September) to reflect on success on both international and domestic fronts.
The evening reception hosted by SNP Glasgow Anniesland MSP, Bill Kidd – whose constituency includes Scotstoun Stadium, home of Glasgow Warriors – heard of a number of initiatives designed to stimulate increased participation in rugby in communities across Scotland, a key plank of Scottish Rugby’s recently published strategic plan, Inspiring Scotland through Rugby: the journey to 2016.
It also gave MSPs the chance to speak with Scotland head coach Andy Robinson OBE, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive Mark Dodson and Scotland cap and points record holder Chris Paterson.
Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mike Russell MSP was among the politicians who welcomed Scottish Rugby to Parliament.
Scottish Rugby’s Director of Commercial Operations, Communications and Public Affairs, Dominic McKay, said: “Members of the Scottish Parliament have shared the pride felt by supporters across the country at Scotland’s historic summer tour hat-trick of victories against Australia, Fiji and Samoa.
In our strategic plan we have set out ambitious targets for the national team including winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“Today gave us an opportunity to talk about the building blocks that will be essential to achieving that goal and others that we have published in the strategic plan where partnership and collaboration chart the way forward.
“We have a strong working relationship with the Scottish Government and all the political parties and the support we have received through such initiatives as Cashback for Communities – which has seen some £1.25 million confiscated from criminals and then re-invested in improved facilities at rugby clubs around Scotland – is indicative of the partnership approach which is helping us to grow the game and increase physical activity among young Scots.”
Today’s gathering also involved pupils from Carrick Academy in South Ayrshire, one of 20 already established Schools of Rugby, where rugby’s values and ethos are part and parcel of the school’s curriculum and the number of children playing the game continues to rise.
Dominic McKay added: “Sport is in the political spotlight as never before after the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games and with the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games on the agenda.
“Our message to national and local government in Scotland is ‘Thanks for your help so far. We appreciate, in particular, the support we receive from sportscotland. With your continued assistance and through the sterling efforts of club volunteers, school teachers and Scottish Rugby’s staff, we can continue to deliver stronger, healthier communities and an improving national rugby team’.”
Bill Kidd MSP said: “There has been great anticipation and excitement in the Parliament regarding the reception and Andy Robinson and players past and present are being accorded the warmest of welcomes.”