Young players across the country prepare to battle it out in the final weeks of their respective local under-16 pathway programmes, in the hope of progressing to Scottish Rugby’s regional programme.
The local pathway programme is the next phase in the regional programme selection process following Scottish Rugby’s key national themes camps which were held in April. Players selected to take part in those camps, were chosen following a nomination process from their respective club and/or school.
An additional pathway programme will be run for Scottish exiles, who have the potential to enter the academy and representative sides set-up.
Grant McKelvey, Scottish Rugby senior regional academy manager, said: “After watching a couple of training sessions, it is evident that all the players and coaches involved in Scottish Rugby’s pathway programme are looking forward to what is always a great start to the season.
“For most of those involved, the programme provides a different challenge in playing both with and against other players they may not have come across before. There is also an added responsibility that comes with representing the local pathway side.
“We are indebted to the volunteer coaches and managers who assist us through this phase of the pathway programme, and of course to the parents, and host clubs for their support throughout the process.”
The local pathway programme is in place to develop players, by gradually increasing the intensity of competition which they are familiar with, within their normal club and/or school surroundings. In addition to this, the infrastructure helps to prepare players for the possibility of playing at a higher level.
The programme also provides an opportunity for coaches to develop their experience, and in-turn performance, with different players in diverse training and playing environments.
Some 14 squads from around the country will compete in fixtures in all four respective regions - Edinburgh, Glasgow, Caledonia and Borders - on Sunday 10 and 17 August. Following this process Scottish Rugby coaching staff will consult with volunteer coaches, involved in the local pathway programmes, to select players to attend further training sessions in their respective regions. Those chosen to attend will do so with a view to future selection for the Scottish Rugby’s regional under-16 programme later in the season.
The regional under-16 programme will provide an opportunity for players, identified as having the most potential, to compete for a place in their respective BT Academy whether it is Edinburgh, Glasgow, Borders or Caledonia.
Local under-16 pathway fixtures, Sunday 10 August
Edinburgh and Borders
Eastern Stormers v Central Crusaders, 12 noon
Western Warriors v Eastern Eagles, 1.30pm
East Lothian Falcons v Western Chargers, 3pm
North East v Highland and Islands, Woodside Sports Complex, Aberdeen, 11am
Central v Tayside and Fife, Glensburgh, Grangemouth, 1pm
All games to be played at Coats Park, Cambuslang
Giants v Hurricanes, 10.30am
Chiefs v Warriors, 11am
Hurricanes v Warriors, 11.45am
Chiefs v Giants, Coats Park, 12 noon
Local under-16 pathway fixtures, Sunday 17 August
Edinburgh and the Borders
All games to be played at Hawthornden, Lasswade
East Lothian Falcons v Central Crusaders, 12 noon
Western Warriors v Western Chargers, 1.30pm
Eastern Stormers v Eastern Eagles, 3pm
Highlands and Islands v Central, Canal Park, Inverness, 12 noon
Tayside and Fife v North East, Inchmacoble Park, Forfar, 1pm
All games at Lochinch Sports Ground, Pollok Country Park
Chiefs v Hurricanes, 10.30am
Giants v Warriors, 11am
Runner-up game 1 v Runner-up game 2, 11.45am
Winner game 1 v Winner game 2, 12 noon