Scottish universities prepare to defend titles as BUCS season kicks off
A record number of university sides across Scotland will push on from a successful season in the BUCS (British Universities & College Sport) leagues when play kicks off today (Wednesday 4 October).
Scottish student rugby has seen a sharp increase in playing numbers over the past few years, with the number of teams growing from 28 in the 2013/14 season to 50 sides competing across the BUCS leagues this year.
This is in no small part due to a rapid rise in the number of women’s teams, which has more than doubled over the past three seasons from six to 13 teams.
New women’s 1st XVs from Queen Margaret University and University of the West of Scotland will enter the leagues, while St Andrews, Abertay and Edinburgh University all add men’s XVs.
Darren Burns, Student & Adult Participation Manager, said: “It’s great to see student rugby flourishing at all levels; from grass roots, where new teams are being established for the first time, to the performance level, where Scottish Universities are competing with the best from across the UK.
“Watching young people engage with student rugby can be an inspiration. Seeing the skills that these players, and leaders of the future, are developing on and off the field bodes well for the future Scottish rugby.”
Last year’s BUCS competitions saw unprecedented success for Scottish teams.
Edinburgh University Women won the National BUCS Championship to become the best women’s side in Britain in both the 15 and 7-a-side games, while their Men’s first team achieved promotion to Premier North A.
Glasgow University joined Edinburgh in reaching the BUCS Trophy final in Bath, seeing off a whole host of established English university sides to set up an all Scottish final – Glasgow running out winners on the day.
BUCS Rugby offers students the chance to play fast, free-flowing rugby with their peers against students of a similar age from other universities and colleges in Scotland, England and Wales.
Scottish Rugby continues to develop the student game, with their strategy this year focusing on increasing the profile of student rugby - widening the range of playing opportunities available to students at their institutions, as well as improving the quality of coaches, volunteers and those involved in the game.