Busy start to season for talented youngsters

The long road which could lead to representing Scotland under-16 in the Wellington Festival international competition in April 2014 begins this weekend.

Nine matches will take place as part of Scottish Rugby’s under-16 Player Pathway programme on Sunday.

Some 14 squads of under-16 players drawn from throughout the country will play over the next two weekends following on from the under-15 Key National Themes skill camps earlier this year.

Grant McKelvey, Scottish Rugby’s senior regional academy manager, said: “The aim of these fixtures is to develop and prepare players and coaches more effectively through increasing the intensity of competition progressively in a different environment from their clubs and schools. The players will then move into their respective club & school programmes to play throughout the season.

“The matches also provide performance development coaching opportunities for our coaches.”

Following the games this Sunday and then on 18 August, regional academy coaches will lead in identifying around 55 players, including identified players from the Scottish Exiles programme, who will attend the national under-16 player development camp in Musselburgh in October.

Later in the season there will also be regional fixtures, an Edinburgh Rugby under-16 v Glasgow Warriors under-16 pro-alignment match and a national under-16 trial to further assist with the selection process for the Wellington Festival.

Matches this Sunday:

Netherdale, Galashiels:  Eastern Stormers v Capital Crusaders – 12.00pm; Western Warriors v Eastern Eagles, 1.30pm; and East Lothian Falcons v Western Chargers, 3pm

Canal Park, Inverness: Highlands & Islands v North East – 1pm

Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy: Tayside & Fife v Central – 1pm

Lochinch, Glasgow: Giants v Hurricanes – 10.30am; Warriors v Chiefs – 11am; Giants v Chiefs – 11.30am; and Warriors v Hurricanes – 12 noon.

Matches next Sunday: (18 August):

Lasswade RFC: East Lothian Falcons v Capital Crusaders – 12.00pm; Western Warriors v Western Chargers – 1.30pm; Eastern Stormers v Eastern Eagles – 3pm

Kinross RFC: Central v Highlands& Islands – 12 noon

Woodside, Aberdeen: North East v Tayside & Fife – 1pm

Braidholm, Glasgow: Hurricanes v Chiefs – 10.30am; Warriors v Giants – 11am; Giants v Hurricanes – 11.30am; Warriors v Chiefs – 12 noon.