Ton-up boys strengthen links to club game

Some 101 professional players from Edinburgh Rugby, Glasgow Warriors and Scotland 7s have been drafted to the clubs in the BT Premiership for the new league campaign.

All ten Premiership clubs participated in the draft, with six of the clubs aligned to Edinburgh Rugby and four to Glasgow Warriors, Currie opting to bracket themselves with Glasgow through the Premiership Forum to enable a more equitable split of players. Scotland 7s players are also aligned to the pro-clubs.

Elite Development players are not part of the draft, while first year professionals are automatically linked to the club from which they were signed.

First picks

Boroughmuir, promoted to the BT Premiership, had first pick of the Edinburgh players, with Stirling County, lowest placed last season of the Glasgow aligned clubs, having first choice of the Glasgow squad.

Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby’s Acting Head of Academy, said: “The pro-player draft is an important part of our joint determination to close the gap between the top end of the club game and professional rugby.

“For the players it means that when they are not involved in a match-day squad for their pro-club or Scotland 7s, then they can get game time and contribute to the well-being of their allocated club.

“For the clubs there’s a great opportunity to work with the professional players so that everyone can benefit.”

Peter Laverie, Premiership representative on the Scottish Rugby Council, added: “A strong and growing connection between the Premiership clubs and the professional game is central to continuing to improve the standard of our game.

“The BT Premiership is an exciting competition and we’ll see some innovation this year, too, with knockout matches to determine the eventual champions.”


Edinburgh Rugby aligned clubs

Boroughmuir – Carl Bezuidenhout, Simon Berghan, Sam Beard, Neil Cochrane, Tom Brown, Stuart McInally, Nick McLennan, Andrew Turnbull, Matt Scott and Tim Visser

Edinburgh Accies – Alex Allan, Alex Toolis, Chris Dean, Jamie Farndale, Roddy Grant, Mark Robertson, Michael Fedo, Phil Burleigh, Ben Atiga and Cornell Du Preez

Hawick – Joaquin Dominguez, Ollie Atkins, Tomas Leonardi, Allan Dell, Tom Heathcote, Michael Tait, John Andress, Jack Cuthbert, Mike Coman and Grant Gilchrist

Heriot’s – George Turner, Ben Toolis, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Struan Dewar, James Fleming, Alasdair Dickinson, Scott Riddell, Greig Tonks and Russell Weir

Gala – Brett Thompson, James Hilterbrand, Fraser McKenzie, Gregor Young, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Lewis Young, Grayson Hart, Anton Bresler and David Denton

Melrose – Damien Hoyland, Scott Wight, Wicus Blaauw, Sean Kennedy, James Johnstone, Dougie Fife, Willem Nel, Ross Ford and Andries Strauss

Glasgow Warriors aligned clubs

Stirling County – Adam Ashe, Rory Hughes, Lee Jones, Fraser Brown, Leone Nakarawa, Ryan Wilson, Rossouw de Klerk, Robert Harley, Tommy Seymour, Colin Shaw and Josh Strauss

Currie – Richie Vernon, Tom Ryder, Duncan Weir, James Downey, Peter Murchie, Mike Cusack, Kevin Bryce, DTH van der Merwe, Stuart Hogg, Tim Swinson and Jonny Gray

Glasgow Hawks – Alastair Kellock, Alex Dunbar, Colin Gregor, Tyrone Holmes, Peter Horne, Mark Bennett, Gordon Reid, Sean Lamont, Chris Fusaro, Euan Murray and Niko Matawalu

Ayr – Murray McConnell, James Eddie, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Ryan Grant, Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos, Pat MacArthur and Sean Maitland

Our picture shows James Eddie in action for Ayr last season. He has been chosen by Ayr in this season's draft.