Scottish Rugby tackling transition with clubs

Scottish Rugby has launched guidance to assist clubs across the country in combatting the fall-off in player numbers between youth and senior rugby.

Tackling Transition’ outlines simple proven steps clubs can take to bring young players into their senior squads inspired, in part, by clubs from the south of Scotland.

Stewartry, Annan, Newton Stewart, Moffat and Dumfries joined together in 2017 to give players interested in continuing their rugby the opportunity to meet club members ahead of the new season.

John Muir, Development Officer at Stewartry, said: “We know that these players enjoy playing rugby so it’s about breaking down any potential barriers and providing the smoothest path to playing senior rugby.

“By working with other clubs in the region we were able to plan a series of training, games and activities that introduced young players to the senior set-up at their club and get to know some of the faces they’ll be playing and training with.

Combining clubs ensured a good turn out and the results this season have been absolutely fantastic.”

An impressive 32 of 33 participating players in the inductions joined up with their senior sides this season after taking part in just three training sessions, two matches and a final team-building activity.

This has led to a threefold increase in young players for some of the teams, meaning sides that had previously been aging in profile have recent recruits accounting for around half of their playing numbers.

Using existing contacts and social media to promote their five-week combined programme, the clubs were able to encourage players to remain with them after graduating from their U18 teams.

This has helped the long-term sustainability of the clubs as their new recruits, who previously may have dropped out of the game entirely, played in more than 70 per cent of fixtures throughout the season so far.

Nick Rennie, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Club Services, said: “It’s great to see clubs, like those in Dumfries and Galloway, rising to the challenge of player transition and making a great success of it.

Offering tailored sessions and activities can make the difference in assisting players with the sometimes-daunting step to adult rugby and will have longer term benefits for club sustainability.”

A best practice guide based on the Dumfries and Galloway project to help clubs transition players from youth to adult club rugby and some potential financial support are available from Scottish Rugby.

Interested clubs should contact Darren Burns at [email protected]