X-Conference takes place at Oriam

X-Conference takes place at Oriam

Scottish Rugby hosted clubs and schools from across the country at Oriam for the first X-Conference Festival last weekend to provide a unique development opportunity for aspiring young players.

In total, 12 teams took part in the pilot event, following feedback from clubs and schools involved in the annual Mitsubishi Motors Schools & Youth Conferences that there was a desire to play fixtures against each other after the formal conference matches concluded late last year.

The 12 attending teams were drawn from the last 16 of the U18s Schools’ and Youth League Cups with each team playing three matches each at the high-performance centre.

There were no winners on the day, to keep the focus on player development throughout the festival.

The format was similar to the Fosroc 4s, which is now played at U17s and U19s level and which is more skill focused to align with the Scottish Rugby Technical Blueprint.

The teams were put into three groups which played 13-minute each way matches, with a four-minute break for half-time with the focus on speed, skills and increasing the amount of time the ball is in play.

After the event, Director of Rugby Development, Sheila Begbie said, ‘The Mitsubishi Motors Conferences are now a mainstay of the schools and youth playing programme, so this event was great for showcasing the work being carried out in both clubs and schools.

“Providing young players with new and engaging playing opportunities is high on our agenda and the facilities at Oriam provided the perfect arena to trial this new event format.

“We were also keen to provide a platform to allow clubs and schools to learn from each other so hopefully the players and coaches involved took away a few lessons. Many involved will be stepping into adult rugby at the end of the season so we hope events like this will aid their transition.”

Positive feedback was returned from the teams who participated, and Duncan Harrison, Head of Rugby at Fettes College felt it was a worthwhile day for his young squad. He said“The format of the festival allowed the schools/club teams to play against opposition you don’t often get a chance to play against, particularly in a world-class facility like The Oriam.

“The law variations and festival format challenged the players to look at the game slightly differently and facilitate a more attacking player development environment.”

Group 1Group 2 Group 3
Boroughmuir Ayr/WellingtonHawick Youth
Granite CityPerthshire Stirling County
Marr College Earlston HS/Melrose WaspsLorretto School
St Leonards Madras School Strathallan School Fettes College

Image Credit: Simon Johns, Perthshire RFC

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