Ayrshire Bulls squad confirmed for 2021 FOSROC Super6 season
Ayrshire Bulls Head Coach Pat MacArthur has confirmed his 32-man squad to compete in the 2021 FOSROC Super6.
MacArthur’s men will kick-off their season on Sunday 1 August when they host Watsonians Rugby in the tournament’s first live game on FreeSports – (1.30pm kick-off).
His 32-man squad is made up of 27 players signed by Ayrshire Bulls with an additional five FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy players.
Of the 27 players signed by Bulls 12 players (44%) have come through the club’s youth structure or have previously played senior rugby at Ayr RFC.
A further five players are from the wider Glasgow or South West area of Scotland making a total of 59% of the squad who have previously played youth or adult rugby in the wider area.
The squad will be captained for the first time by back row player Blair McPherson. He said: “It’s an honour to be named captain for the upcoming season. There are a number of great leaders within the team, there’s been a few changes to the squad, and I am excited to take to the field with all our new talent.”
In the front row Bulls have signed Scotland Club XV tight-head Calvin Henderson from Marr (and previously Biggar) whilst Craig Miller, who can play on either side of the scrum, steps up from Ayr’s National 1 side.
Making the step up to Super6 are back row players Gavin Wilson, who joins the Bulls from Dumfries Saints, and Ryan Sweeney who also hails from Dumfries Saints although he has more recently played for Glasgow Hawks.
Winger Arron Tait returns to his native Ayrshire from time playing at Bay of Plenty in New Zealand and Loughborough University. Matt Davidson, who can play across the back line, returns to Bulls for a second season, after a stint at London Scottish.
Also returning to the club is winger Robbie Nairn who has previously played for Scotland 7s and Glasgow Warriors. Nairn, a former Scotland age-grade internationalist, was nurtured at the Currie club and at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh.
Former Glasgow Hawks player Robert Beattie, who has also represented Scotland in the abbreviated game, returns to his native homeland from London Scottish and more recently Ealing Trailfinders.
From the inaugural FOSROC Super6 season Ayrshire Bulls produced three notable young players into the professional ranks.
Full-back Ollie Smith and stand-off Ross Thompson both signed for Glasgow Warriors, Thompson was awarded both McCrea Financial Services Player of the Season and the Land Rover Young Player of the Season awards by the Scotstoun team.
Marshall Sykes made his first professional rugby start for Edinburgh Rugby in March 2021, the second row signed a professional deal with the capital side shortly after.
The inaugural FOSROC Super6 season also provided opportunities for former Ayrshire Bulls Head Coach Pete Murchie. In March 2021 he was formally appointed as part of Danny Wilson's coaching team at Glasgow Warriors and in April 2021 he was named as an assistant coach to Mike Blair for the Scotland summer tour.
All five of Ayrshire Bulls allocated Contracted Academy players have just returned from representing Scotland U20 at the 2021 Under-20 Six Nations in Cardiff.
They include age-grade captain Alex Samuel, a towering second row who excels at the lineout, dynamic hooker Jamie Drummond and back rower Rory Jackson. Christian Townsend (stand-off) elder son of Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend and Finlay Callaghan (wing) join the 12 other backs signed by Bulls.
Ayrshire Bulls Head Coach Pat MacArthur said: “I’m really happy with the squad we are building, there will be a lot of competition for places. What’s especially pleasing is that almost half (44%) of the players have been a part of the Ayr system and we will give other players from the South West of Scotland the opportunity to play in the FOSROC Super6 competition.
“At Ayrshire Bulls we want to build the right culture and environment where players will be challenged and improve. We are proud to be part of the process where they then move on to full-time contracts.
“Our squad has a mix of young Scots with some older heads, and there is quality dotted throughout. Blair McPherson will be the captain; he’s constantly been outstanding and has been one of our leaders for a long time.”
Ayrshire Bulls squad to compete in the 2021 FOSROC Super6
Blair MacPherson - CAPTAIN
*FOSROC Contracted Academy Player