Clubs up and down the country are this weekend preparing to celebrate the start of the new season by throwing open their doors and staging an RBS RugbyForce event.
A record-breaking 149 clubs, the biggest ever Scottish sign-up, will be running days aimed at mobilising their current players, supporters, members and volunteers and engaging new interest for the year ahead in the RBS leagues and knockout competitions.
Some 10 clubs have been selected to have international players along to help out on Saturday. Scotland national team stars, along with their counterparts in the Scotland Women, under-20 and Scotland 7s teams, will be lending a hand at: Argyll and Bute/Oban Lorne, Cartha Queens Park, Crieff and Strathearn, Edinburgh Accies, Ellon, Forrester, Greenock Wanderers, Montrose, Newton Stewart and Selkirk.
Scotland all-time great and RBS ambassador Chris Paterson (pictured) is heading to Montrose along with the RBS 6 Nations trophy. He said: “All the ingredients are there for a great RBS RugbyForce weekend right across Scotland, and I can’t wait to get to Montrose and help them gear up for the new season.
“They’ve got a lot on the go, from Rugby Ready courses for their coaches to a minis tournament, barbeque and a spot of DIY to get Union Park looking its best for the coming campaign. It’s a day with something for everyone, which is very much the spirit of RBS RugbyForce, and I’m sure they’ll get a great turnout both from people currently involved with the club and those who want to see what they’ve got to offer.
“That’s going to be mirrored at all the other clubs, with the aim of them feeling the benefit of new interest over the course of the season.”
As well as the players and RBS staff and Rugby Reps, there will be a strong Scottish Rugby presence over RBS RugbyForce weekend. New president Donald MacLeod is heading to Cartha Queens Park, and said: “Clubs are the bedrock of rugby in Scotland. It’s fantastic to hear that so many of them are getting involved with RBS RugbyForce this year and showing the local community the benefits of being involved.
“I’m looking forward to joining in at Cartha and helping them prepare for the start of the new season.”
In previous years, the focus of RBS RugbyForce has been on amassing volunteers to help spruce up facilities, but more and more clubs are now using the weekend to encourage the local community to get involved in a more lasting sense, whether as players, supporters, volunteers, members or sponsors.
Events being put on by clubs this year include family barbecues, come and try touch rugby sessions, fêtes with stalls and stands, regional minis and sevens tournaments incorporating activities for siblings and parents, joint open days with other local sports clubs, plus the usual array of team DIY activities to get grounds spick and span in time for the resumption of the RBS leagues.
All clubs taking part in RBS RugbyForce 2013 receive a banner and poster to promote their event, along with a comprehensive event planning guide packed with hints and tips to get people involved. Each club also receives a £250 fund to purchase event essentials like DIY materials, barbecue supplies, t-shirts/bibs for minis festivals etc.
RBS RugbyForce is a core element of the package of support that RBS provides to Scotland’s clubs. As well as sponsoring the RBS domestic leagues, knock-out competitions and men’s and women’s RBS Finals Days, RBS gives clubs access to vital kit and equipment through RBS Locker Room, awards RBS Club, Club Volunteer and Try of the Month to celebrate hard work and success, runs sustainability workshops to guide clubs to a thriving future and twins clubs with their local RBS branch for marketing assistance.
To keep up to date with the latest news around RBS RugbyForce 2013, head to the RBS Scottish Rugby Facebook page or follow on Twitter @scotlandteam and @RBS_Rugby_Lad.
For a list of all the clubs taking part in RBS RugbyForce, please see: http://on.fb.me/13sd6o1
Argyll and Bute/Oban Lorne – Fraser Brown, Ed Kalman, Sean Lamont, Laura Steven (12noon-2pm)
Cartha Queens Park – Mark Bennett, Jonny Gray, Stuart Hogg, Ruaridh Jackson, Pat MacArthur (2-4pm)
Crieff and Strathearn – James Fleming, John Houston, Ross Rennie, Andrew Turnbull (11am-1pm)
Edinburgh Accies – Callum Black, Geoff Cross, Jack Cuthbert, Megan Gaffney (1-3pm)
Ellon – Alex Glashan, Ryan Grant, Moray Low, Michael Maltman, Mark Robertson (11am-1pm)
Forrester – Tom Brown, Louise Dalgliesh, Stephanie Johnston, Tim Visser (1-3pm)
Greenock Wanderers – Colin Gregor, Neil Herron, Sean Maitland, Richie Vernon (1-3pm)
Montrose – Chris Dean, Michael Fedo, Chris Paterson, Matt Scott (2-4pm)
Newton Stewart – Struan Dewar, Alex Dunbar, James Johnstone, Tommy Seymour (1-3pm)
Selkirk – Lee Jones, Greig Laidlaw, Gregor Young, Lewis Young (2-4pm)