Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison (pictured) praised Scottish Rugby for its work at all levels of the game last night at a reception at the Scottish Parliament.
Robison reflected on the recent announcement of an additional £24 million of CashBack for Communities funding being made available to sports organisations throughout Scotland and the impact the initiative had for young, old, experienced and new rugby players across the country.
The evening hosted by central Scotland MSP, Clare Adamson, saw coaches, teachers and officials from various organisations in Scotland giving testimony to how the CashBack Schools of Rugby or facilities fund, as well as support from sportscotland, had impacted their pupils or clubs, invaluably.
Robison said: “The Scottish Government is a committed supporter of Scottish Rugby and greatly values its support and contribution over a range of policy initiatives. In addition to the significant financial support through sportscotland and the Cashback for Communities programme, we also have an excellent working relationship at all levels of the organisation.
“I was fortunate to visit Strathmore Rugby Club after their successful application for CashBack funding last year and it was fantastic to see the tangible difference this investment can make in improving the playing experience for youngsters.
“It is important to recognise the hard work and achievements of our sports governing bodies and I congratulate Mark Dodson and everyone at Scottish Rugby on the work being done. It has been another good year for rugby in Scotland with progress towards the targets set out in the strategic plan.
“The Commonwealth Games will soon be with us and it’s important to capture the enthusiasm and excitement that they will generate and turn this into active participation.
“I’m looking forward to the rugby sevens tournament and have high hopes for Stevie [Gemmell] and the Sevens squad.
“I would also like to congratulate Scott Johnson on the fine job he has done since being appointed interim coach in December last year. I would like to wish Scott and the squad all the best for the upcoming [viagogo] Autumn Test Series.”
Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “It is clear that sport climbs higher and higher up the political agenda as we approach the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next summer.
“We have heard some incredible stories about young people who are fulfilling their potential through regular involvement in rugby both at school and at their local clubs. For instance a child at Maxwelltown said the School of Rugby turned around his life, while one parent said they never thought they’d see the day their son was out on the rugby field.
“It’s stories like these that are helping to create a legacy for rugby and for sport in general throughout Scotland.
“The parliamentary reception has given us an opportunity to update ministers and MSPs where we are in terms of our strategic plan, Inspiring Scotland Through Rugby: The Journey to 2016, and encourage further backing from them to continue funding our sport, as well as saying thanks for their support so far.”