New performance development programme for young women

Scottish Rugby is launching a new Performance Development Programme for young, talented female players to raise the standard of the women’s game.

A talent identification day for female players aged between 16-20 was held at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 20 August. Up to 50 will be selected for the regional programme that will form a key thread in the women’s pathway.

The players will receive individual programmes and attend regular training days throughout the season. They will be aligned to either BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh or West of Scotland in Glasgow.

Players will be supported by a strength & conditioning coach, a physiotherapist and a coaching team in the east and west. A doctor will support both squads.

Former Scotland Women international Sarah Dixon, a sportscotland Development Officer, has been appointed programme Manager. She won six caps for Scotland Women following her debut in 2011 and also featured in Scotland Women 7s before retiring last year.

Napier University’s Rugby Coordinator and Coach, Ian Dryburgh, has been appointed Head Coach of the East squad. Murrayfield Wanderers player and Head Coach of Napier University Women, Sarah Quick, who retired from Scotland Women ahead of this season, is the East squad’s Assistant Coach.

Kilmarnock and Glasgow & the West BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Coach, Mark Senter, has been named Head Coach of the West squad.

Head of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby, Sheila Begbie, said:

We will be selecting the best players from all four regions to be part of this new programme, which will have a positive impact on the club game as players raise standards.

“We envisage the national side also benefiting from the programme as young players will feed into the Scotland Women squad.

“The programme will provide players with the tools to maximise their growth and potential.  They will work on individual skills and also take part in workshops on leadership and balancing rugby, education and their social lives. 

"The squad coaches will also support players in the club environment by attending training sessions and matches to provide feedback to players in conjunction with club coaches.

It’s a very exciting programme and will have a long-term benefit to the women’s game in Scotland.” - Sheila Begbie

The Performance Development Programme replaces Scotland Women under-20, following a review of the structure.

England and France were the only other European countries with women’s under-20 teams, creating a challenge to secure meaningful games for the Scottish side.

Sheila added: “The under-20 structure wasn’t benefiting our players and the work that still needs to be done to reach high performance levels. The new programme still includes a game element, with a series of east v west matches forming part of the calendar."