Pro-players strengthen links to club game

Scotland’s home-based professional players have been drafted to clubs in the RBS Premiership for the new league campaign which kicks-off later this month.

All ten Premiership clubs participated in the draft, with some 93 professional players from Edinburgh Rugby, Glasgow Warriors and Scotland 7s split amongst them. Elite Development players are not part of this process.

Once again, the selection was on a geographical basis, with the six clubs from Edinburgh and the Borders aligned to Edinburgh Rugby, with Glasgow and Caledonia bracketed to the Warriors.

Hawick promoted from RBS National League in the play-off at the end of last season, had first pick of the Edinburgh Rugby players, while Glasgow Hawks, promoted as champions from the National League, were first to choose from the Glasgow Warriors players.

Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Performance Development, said: “It’s important that our professional players, whether they be from XVs or sevens, are offered the opportunity to play the game.

“The RBS Premiership is a good standard of rugby that continues to improve, therefore it’s a first-rate vehicle for us to get game-time to help the players prepare for their professional opportunities.”

Peter Laverie, coach of Scotland’s current champion club, Ayr, and Premiership representative on the Scottish Rugby Council, added: “We are delighted with the players who will be coming on board at Ayr when they are available.

“I think the draft is a good thing for professionals to get the chance to play with club players and vice-versa and it’s extremely important that we have a good connection between the clubs and the professional teams.”

2013-14 PRO-PLAYER DRAFT:

Edinburgh Rugby aligned clubs

Hawick – Robert McAlpine; Gregor Hunter; Nikki Walker; Ross Rennie; James Johnstone; Ben Atiga; Michael Fedo; Chris Leck and Alasdair Dickinson.

Currie – Jonny Gray; Tom Brown; Robin Hislop; Sean Cox; Sean Kennedy; Matt Scott; Lewis Young; Geoff Cross and Andrew Turnbull.

Heriot’s – Kevin Bryce; Michael Maltman; James Fleming; Jack Cuthbert; Dougie Fife; Stuart McInally; Izak van der Westhuizen; Greig Laidlaw and Steven Lawrie.

Melrose – Perry Parker; Lewis Niven; Alun Walker; Harry Leonard; Mark Robertson; Struan Dewar; Grant Gilchrist; Willem Nel and John Yapp.

Edinburgh Accies – Alex Black; Lee Jones; Roddy Grant; David Denton; John Houston; Scott Riddell; Russell Weir; Ross Ford and Aleki Lutui.

Gala – Ollie Atkins; Dimitri Basalaia; Grayson Hart; Nick De Luca; Gregor Young; Greig Tonks; Piers Francis and Tim Visser.

Glasgow Warriors aligned clubs


Glasgow Hawks – Scott Wight; Tyrone Holmes; Finlay Gillies; Mike Cusack; Jon Welsh; Colin Gregor; Pat MacArthur; Chris Fusaro; DTH van der Merwe and Ryan Grant.

Aberdeen Grammar Rugby – Byron McGuigan; Gordon Reid; Fraser Brown; Tim Swinson; Moray Low; Chris Cusiter; Josh Strauss; Robert Harley; Sean Maitland and Sean Lamont.

Stirling County – Peter Murchie; Gabriel Ascarate; Tommy Seymour; Alex Dunbar; Tom Ryder; Duncan Weir; Richie Vernon; Peter Horne; Colin Shaw and Henry Pyrgos.

Ayr – James Eddie; Ed Kalman; Mark Bennett (pictured above); Jerry Yanuyanutawa; Ruaridh Jackson; Ryan Wilson; Niko Matawalu; Stuart Hogg; Alastair Kellock and Dougie Hall.