The University of Edinburgh is a natural connection for the Southern Knights, as it already provides its rugby-playing students with fantastic opportunities to train and play to their full potential within its highly regarded Team Performance Programme, while studying to gain a world-class degree.
The link-up will be mutually beneficial for the new semi-professional Southern Knights Squad and the best rugby talent the University of Edinburgh has to offer.
The partnership support includes full-time coaching, joint training sessions with the semi-professional squad and the University’s Performance Squad, supervised strength and conditioning at the University of Edinburgh’s state-of-the-art performance gym, joint analysis sessions and sharing of top-level coaching, sports nutrition advice and the potential for academic flexibility for the student players.
The first formal celebration of this rugby talent partnership takes place tomorrow (Saturday) at Peffermill, where the Southern Knights squad will train with and play the University of Edinburgh’s Performance Squad, which is still in celebration mode after winning its third Varsity match in a row, beating St Andrews University 62-0 in September’s final.
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One of the new members of the Southern Knights squad, Tom Robertson, is currently studying for a degree in French & Spanish at the University of Edinburgh.
His dedication to his studies and his natural rugby talent are a clear demonstration to other students that there are now opportunities available to achieve academic and rugby success. The old adage ‘work hard, play hard’ could not be more fitting for this new partnership.
Robertson, said: “I’m so excited to have the opportunity to sign for the Southern Knights, as it will be a great experience to take that next step in my rugby career, at the highest level I’ve been involved with.
“Being at the University of Edinburgh, as part of the Performance Programme for the last four years, with the fantastic facilities and coaching has helped me massively to reach this level. I’m very excited to get started.”
Southern Knights head coach Rob Chrystie said: “Providing valuable opportunities for our up-and-coming rugby talent in Scotland has always been hugely important to me personally.
“I’m thrilled to be part of a wider team at the Southern Knights that shares this passion. It’s great to see players like Tom benefiting so much from the excellent support facilities at The University of Edinburgh. He’s got a fantastic attitude and clearly has great potential.
“I look forward to seeing the impact he’ll have on the pitch as we start the new FOSROC Super6 tournament.”
Head of Performance Rugby at the University of Edinburgh, David Adamson, said: “It’s hard juggling the joint commitments of studying and playing rugby at a high level. These young players deserve the highest level of support, guidance, training and playing opportunities and so we’re proud of the Team Performance Programme that we’ve developed here at the University that provides this for them.
“This new partnership with the Southern Knights adds another dimension to this and creates a clear and structured pathway that will provide our student players with a fantastic opportunity to develop their rugby further within a semi-professional environment.”