Borders academy players affiliated to professionals

Scottish Rugby is aligning its young FOSROC Academy players more closely with its two professional teams once the new 2020-21 season gets under way.
Jacob Henry after touching down for Scotland in and U20s game at Netherdale against France (library image by Alwyn Johnston).Jacob Henry after touching down for Scotland in and U20s game at Netherdale against France (library image by Alwyn Johnston).
Jacob Henry after touching down for Scotland in and U20s game at Netherdale against France (library image by Alwyn Johnston).

Up to 30 Stage 3 FOSROC Academy players – including several from the Borders – will be evenly contracted between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh, enabling them to train daily with the professional players and helping them accelerate their development, being immersed in the pro team club culture earlier and more often in their careers than in recent seasons.

The move by Scottish Rugby creates a regular and closer association for talented emerging players and puts them under the eye of pro team head coaches Richard Cockerill and Danny Wilson respectively.

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While being based in the pro team environment, the players will continue to receive specific Academy support through dedicated age-grade specialist coaches, S&C and physios, who will have responsibility to ensure the continued development of these players.

All of the players will have individual player plans and these will also see them training and playing with their FOSROC Super6 team.

However their closer links and time with Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh will make them more readily available for pro team selection and also improve the squad depth of the country’s two full-time teams.

The local players involved, linked with Edinburgh Rugby, are Patrick Harrison, of Peebles, and Southern Knights trio Shaun Gunn, Jacob Henry and Nathan Sweeney.

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The alignment of the Stage 3 players from the Academy to the pro teams creates opportunity moving forward in the national FOSROC Academy to bring in more supported Stage 2 players, who will continue to be selected to one of the four regional Academy hubs in the Glasgow & the West, Edinburgh, Borders & East Lothian and Caledonia.

Scottish Rugby’s director of performance, Jim Mallinder, said: “I think this is a logical and important step to take to further the development of our most talented young players.

“Spending more hands-on time in the pro team environment benefits both the younger player who is effectively learning on the job on a day to day basis and also the pro team which can more closely monitor player development and deepen their squads with home-grown players. This will also allow our next generation of players to be mentored by and learn from our top professional players.

“As we hopefully move into a post-Covid-19 season the reality is we will need to be more self-sufficient in developing our own players locally and ensure they can step up at the right time into the professional ranks. The FOSROC Academy has now got to the point where it can successfully produce players and we need to give them a clear pathway to further their careers and I think this is the right way to go.”

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