UP and coming stars from Melrose and Biggar have been selected for a life-changing rugby experience in South Africa as part of a prestigious scholarship award.

BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy players, Angus Fraser from Dundee HSFP, Andrew Jardine of Melrose and Biggar's Guy Kelly have been awarded the coveted John Macphail Rugby Scholarship for 2017.

The trio will spend five months immersed in the nation’s renowned rugby culture at the high-performance training facility at Stellenbosch University.

The programme funded by the Robertson Trust – now in its 13th year – previously sent emerging players and coaches to Canterbury in New Zealand for a 15-week programme.

The change to South Africa for 2017 sees the Scholarship take a different approach which is designed to explore new relationships and enable players to benefit over a longer period of time and keep alignment with the northern hemisphere season.

Jardine played at Biggar from the age of four until last summer.

The 18-year-old earned selection for the Scotland Under 18 training squad last year before injury foiled his attempts to secure a place in the final teams.

After his first season of senior rugby at the South Lanarkshire side he moved to current BT Premiership leaders, Melrose, where he currently plays.

Andrew said: “I’m absolutely delighted.

"The first thing I thought when I heard was just how exciting it is. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and opportunity, to develop myself and my rugby.

"I’m just so grateful to Scottish Rugby and the Robertson Trust for giving me this chance. I can’t wait.”

Previous recipients of the unique rugby opportunity include Scotland captain John Barclay (the first recipient in 2005), Kevin Bryce (2007), Grant Gilchrist (2011), Jonny Gray (2012), Finn Russell (2013) and Adam Ashe (2014), with last year’s recipients Ross McCann returning to play a prominent part in Scotland U20s record-breaking finish in the World Rugby U20 Championship.

Prop Kelly first played rugby at the age of five in Qatar and later Dubai before moving to the UK.

The 18-year-old represented his club, Biggar from Under 15 to senior level and has since earned a call-up for Glasgow and The West U18.

He said: “The opportunity to improve myself as a player and experience a new culture and set-up is incredibly exciting.

"I’m absolutely delighted to be heading over to South Africa for five months and can’t wait to work on my rugby.”

The Macphail Scholarship was established in 2005, as a partnership between The Robertson Trust and Scottish Rugby

Created in memory of ex Scotland internationalist John Macphail, the scholarship was initially developed for talented young players however, since 2011, it has been extended to support coaches with Iain Monaghan, Ben Fisher and Chris Paterson being recent recipients.

Scottish Rugby's technical director Stephen Gemmel, added: “Thank you to the Robertson Trust and Macphail family for their continued support of Scottish Rugby and in helping us send some of our most promising young players to other parts of the world to further their development in new environments, with different coaches, fresh challenges and at world-class facilities.

“The Scholarship has played an important role in a number of our current professional and international players’ careers and will provide a launch pad for Angus, Andrew and Guy to accelerate their development as part of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy.”