Borders’ own Scottish Women’s rugby player, Lana Skeldon, joined several fellow international stars at BT Murrayfield last week to call on grassroots rugby clubs across the country to get their voices heard and make the Scottish game the ‘Loudest and Proudest’ in 2019.
Lana, an ex-pupil at Hawick High School who also played with Melrose, and is currently a forward with the Scotland Women’s squad, teamed up with her front-row colleague Megan Kennedy, along with Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie and Fraser Brown for the venture, which is supported by the Royal Bank RugbyForce campaign.
Now in its 11th year, the nationwide rugby programme supports clubs by providing funding to help them attract new members, make improvements to facilities and to help clubs become more sustainable for the future. Three out of every four clubs in Scotland have benefited from Royal Bank RugbyForce support since 2008 and the call is going out for more to apply and enjoy its support.
Over the years, more than half a million pounds has been distributed among Scottish clubs and this year’s campaign will see a celebration of the grassroots game, with the Royal Bank RugbyForce weekend taking place on August 10-11.
Rugby clubs will host events for the local community and put their funding to use as they prepare their club for the new season.
This year’s loudestandproudest theme comes as Royal Bank of Scotland encourages the whole of Scotland to join the rugby community and cheer on the national side. With the Guinness Six Nations under way and the Rugby World Cup on the horizon, 2019 is set to be a thrilling year for Scottish Rugby.
At BT Murrayfield, the Scotland internationalists met potential rugby stars of tomorrow from around Scotladn’s youth ranks, who swapped the rugby ball for the microphone and put the international players through their paces with a series of one to one interviews, tackling them on subjects such as “who is the loudest in the Scotland squad?” and “what do you eat for breakfast?”.
This year’s two winning clubs will be awarded the “loudest and proudest package”, which will see them receive £1000 as well as a visit by one of the Scottish game’s biggest personalities on Royal Bank RugbyForce weekend.
The chosen clubs will also receive full event support from Royal Bank of Scotland as they create a truly memorable day, which places rugby at the heart of the community.
Eight other ‘Star’ clubs will receive £1000 funding, as well as rugby kit and appearances from Scotland rugby personalities who will be on hand during the weekend to roll up their sleeves and get involved with everything from coaching and development to DIY.
An additional eight ‘Champion’ clubs will secure £1,000 of financial support, with all other participating clubs in with the chance of receiving £250. All qualifying clubs will receive digital support packs to host their own Royal Bank RugbyForce Weekend.
Grant said: “So many professional players take their first steps on a rugby field at a grassroots club. Without the tireless efforts of community clubs across Scotland, we wouldn’t have the talent and love for the game that we have today.
“Supporting your local team is so important. Royal Bank RugbyForce is an excellent initiative and it’s great to see so many local clubs in Scotland receiving the support they need to develop the next generation of Scottish rugby talent”.
Malcolm Buchanan, chairman, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scotland Board, said: “We’re very proud of our continued commitment to rugby in Scotland. The passion for the game remains strong and we’re delighted to be able to play a part in supporting local rugby communities across the country with both financial and practical assistance.
“Our application process is designed with ease in mind and we would encourage clubs across the country to apply for this year’s grants. 2019 is set to be an important year for Scottish rugby and we want to help make sure that our grassroots clubs across the country can benefit too.”
Applications for funding are open now and can be made via the Royal Bank RugbyForce website at: http://www.scottishrugby.org/domestic-rugby/royal-bank-rugbyforce.