A GROUP of female rugby pupils recently attended Borders College as part of a new programme aimed at developing the next generation of Scottish talent in the game.

Run in conjunction with Scottish Rugby, the Developing Player Programme sees female students from six schools in the Borders, and three schools in East Lothian, attend weekly classes, giving recognition and structure to players looking to improve their rugby skills and physical fitness.

Recognising that a female-friendly environment was needed to address issues, the course was set up to provide the group with rugby-related theory and practical drills.

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The class take part in rugby sessions, which focus on the fundamental techniques of the game, while also attending gym sessions to work on strength and conditioning. The theory element sees the pupils look at areas such as performance behaviours and reviews, as well as fitness factors.

As part of the programme, Borders College student Morgan Welsh has been drafted in to help deliver coaching in the rugby and strength and conditioning areas. The HNC sports coaching and development student will work with the group from now until April.

She said: “It’s been a great opportunity getting involved with the programme. I recently undertook a one-year coaching stint with Edinburgh Harlequins and this, along with my studies, has helped me develop my coaching abilities, something I can pass onto the students I’m working with now.”

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Borders College's curriculum learning manager for sport & outdoor activities, Nikki Walker, said: “Eric Jones, who leads the delivery of our rugby development player programme that we deliver here at Borders College in partnership with Scottish Rugby Union, has a real passion for the growth of female rugby union. Eric and Morgan are doing an excellent job in creating more opportunities for females to participate in rugby and ensure we have equality in the sports delivered.”

The programme, which is considered a stepping-stone in identifying future Scottish talent, aims to support identified players in the girls’ and boys’ youth game by providing additional training and playing opportunities to develop core rugby skills, and game understanding for nominated U16 and U18 girls and U15 boys.