Smith on selection for School Games

Though clubs, national and many representative teams are taking a summer break, the hard yards have continued for Scotland’s under-19 women players hoping to take part in September’s School Games with final squad selection announced today.

Twelve players will be representing Scotland at the rugby sevens event which forms part of the wider Games, at Loughborough University in September. This will be the fourth year an under-19 team has taken part in the Games and coach Lindsey Smith, who is working alongside fellow Scotland international Megan Gaffney, has been impressed by the standard on display.

She said: “We held regional trials which attracted players from all over Scotland and, overall, the standard has continued to improve on previous years.

“Following a full day camp, we had 21 girls at a session at BT Murrayfield last Sunday, the top players we’d seen over the previous three dates and cut it down to 16 - a squad of 12 and four reserves.

“A number of those athletes selected have joined from other sports - Erin Sinclair, whose older sister Eilidh is in the national team, has done gymnastics while Erin Haldane [main picture] has a background in cheerleading and gymnastics.”

Following on from selection, there will be two residential training weekends in August with the tournament itself running from 1 to 4 September.

Smith adds: “The residential weekends are really valuable as the girls are younger and not used to the squad environment, they can get to know each other more and the regime of being in a training camp.

“The tournament itself is part of a big multi-sport event of which rugby sevens is one and one which is only for girls. As the Games involves many disciplines, however, the girls can see how other sports work and how other athletes train and behave.

"They’ll be living in an athletes village, getting advice from other professionals like anti-doping and from sport mentors. It’s not just the competition, it’s the whole experience.”

Each year of participation in the School Games has seen players blossom who may not have come to the fore previously, who have played in the games and progressed to the full national squad, including Emma Wassell and Rachael Cook.

“It’s good to show them there is a pathway and where they could progress to if they do well,” Smith adds.

From a development perspective, involvement with the squad is also beneficial to the coaches as Smith, Game On Project Development Officer for Glasgow, says.

“Working with a smaller group is good, and working towards a smaller tournament which is recognised is very beneficial. To have the opportunity to work with individuals and make them better, help them in areas of their game they want to work on, is a great learning experience for us, too.”

The School Games run between 1 and 4 September at Loughborough University in the East Midlands of England.

Scotland U19 squad for School Games

Kirsty Reid (Hillhead Jordanhill)
Emma Turner (RHC Murrayfield Wanderers)
Allana McWilliam (Hillhead Jordanhill)
Rachel Waddell     (Ayr)
Sula Calendar (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Erin Sinclair (Community School of Auchterarder)
Erin Watson (Howe of Fife)
Nikki Simpson (Garioch)
Erin Haldane (Hillhead Jordanhill)
Kelsey Swift (Ayr)
Coreen Grant (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Lucy Mills (Hillhead Jordanhill)




[pictured right: The Scotland U19 squad from
Sainsbury's School Games 2015]

Written by
Isobel Irvine