Mitsubishi Motors Schools & Youth Conferences kick off
Scottish Rugby today launched the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Schools & Youth Conferences ahead of the first games kicking off this Saturday (25 August).
Scotland internationalists, Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland, and Helen Nelson were joined by players from last year’s conference winners at BT Murrayfield to mark the start of the season.
Launched in 2015, the Mitsubishi Motors Conferences provide a playing environment for young players from S1 (U13) to U18 age groups, where schools and clubs play in conferences based on their stage of development.
The fourth season of the player-centred, development-driven programme sees seven teams make their debuts in the top tiers of the Mitsubishi Motors Conferences.
This season three new girls’ teams enter the Mirage Conference as Annan, Cartha Queens Park and Lismore continue to build on their rugby programmes.
Four boys’ teams also take a step up to the third tier of conference rugby with Kilmarnock joining the Galant Conference, Deeside/Garioch and Moray/Huntly enter the Lancer Conference and St Leonard’s/Madras take a spot in the Grandis Conference.
Following feedback from participating teams, the Galant Conference will be split into two groups. Sides will play home or away matches before their respective A and B conferences split based on standings, with the top and bottom-ranked teams separated to play each other home or away.
Director of Rugby Development, Sheila Begbie, said: “The Mitsubishi Motors Schools & Youth Conferences provide young players with a competitive structure where they can develop and grow their skills against players of similar ability.
"The first three years of conference rugby has been a great success and to receive support from Mitsubishi Motors not only demonstrates the impact the programme has already had but gives us the security to build on that by listening to competing teams and developing the structure further.”
Last year a total of 872 teams from 150 state schools, 104 clubs and 25 independent schools, played in the Mitsubishi Schools & Youth Motors Conferences leading to an overall increase of 16% in fixtures played to 2,626.
Scotland cap, Matt Fagerson, who made his international debut this summer against USA, and Scotland U20 internationalist, Stafford McDowall, both played conference rugby in its inaugural year.
Scottish Rugby manages the fixture calendar to enable schools and clubs to play across their respective age-groups on the same day or weekend. Competition points are awarded to each match played, enabling every age-group to contribute to the school or club's success in the overall Conference table.
Mitsubishi Motors UK’s Partnership Engagement Manager, Martin Woodward said: "We are delighted to be entering the second year of our partnership with Scottish Rugby and what better way to kick off this year than launching another season of the Mitsubishi Motors Schools & Youths Conferences.
"We’re proud to put our name to such a successful initiative that is constantly growing, with a further seven schools joining the conference this year. We look forward to seeing the conferences continue to evolve and offer support to the future of Scottish Rugby.”
Mitsubishi Motors Schools & Youth Conferences 2018
Colt Conference: Dollar Academy, George Watson’s College, Merchiston Castle School, Stewart’s Melville College, Strathallan School, Edinburgh Academy
Shogun Conference: Ayr, Biggar, Boroughmuir, Hamilton, Highland, Stirling County, West of Scotland
Eclipse Conference: Howe of Fife/Bell Baxter, Fettes College, Glenalmond, High School of Dundee, Loretto School, Robert Gordon’s College
L200 Conference: George Heriot’s School, Glasgow Academy, High School of Glasgow, Hutchesons’ Grammar School, Kelvinside Academy, St Aloysius’ College
Mirage Conference: Annan*, Ayr, Biggar, Caithness, Cartha Queens Park*, Hillhead, Lismore*, Murrayfield Wanderers, Stirling County
Barbarian Conference: Hills Rugby, Lenzie Academy, Lomond/Helensburgh, Balfron/Strathendrick, Queen Victoria School, Morrison’s Academy, Ayr/Wellington ‘B’, Carrick Academy, Marr College, St Columba’s Kilmalcom
Grandis Conference: Dunbar Grammar School, George Watson’s College ‘B’, North Berwick High School, Preston Lodge High School, St Leonard’s/Madras, Royal High School
Outlander Conference: Berwick Rugby, Knox/Haddington, Ross High School, Trinity Academy, Lasswade High School, Linlithgow Academy
Galant Conference A: Cartha Queens Park, Cumnock, Dumfries Saints, GHA, Greenock Wanderers, Kilmarnock*, Whitecraigs
Galant Conference B: Allan Glens, Currie,Dalziel/East Kilbride, Dunfermline, Livingston, Perthshire
Lancer Conference: Deeside/Garioch*, Dundee Rugby, Ellon, Gordonstoun School, Granite City, Mackie, Moray/Huntly*
Warrior (Borders Town) Conference: Duns, Gala, Hawick, Jedburgh, Kelso, Melrose, Peebles, Selkirk
*Teams new to the tier 1-3 conferences this year