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Scottish Rugby boosted by Scottish Institute of Sport



The Scottish Institute of Sport has today announced an innovative new and enhanced rugby programme, in partnership with Scottish Rugby (SRU), designed to focus on improved performance for Scotland's senior and sevens national squads.

Following extensive discussion and exploration of the current programme, the Institute and Scottish Rugby have agreed a defined plan taking rugby forward to 2007. Thirty-six Institute rugby players will benefit from the enhanced programme which will involve a performance focused approach seeking results in terms of aiming for Commonwealth Games medal success (sevens), increased professional contracts, and consistently strong national squads.

Commenting on the new phase in Scottish rugby, Anne Marie Harrison, Executive Director of the Scottish Institute of Sport, said; "Through our ongoing discussions with the SRU we identified that the Institute has a crucial role to play in moving Scottish rugby forward by providing bespoke support to our athletes. The enhanced programme will provide platforms to utilise the expertise and skills within the Institute for wider benefit of elite rugby players in Scotland and ensure we are consistently focused on performance impact and measurable outcomes. Ultimately we want to see more players like current Institute athlete Chris Cusiter achieve selection for the British & Irish Lions and Scotland's national team winning more games."

Institute support is based on individual players' needs and currently includes nutrition advice, performance lifestyle guidance and speed and skill development.

Scotland recently boasted a fifth equal finish at the World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong and are currently seeded eighth on the IRB Sevens Circuit and the new programme will build on this position. It is designed to support individuals with a view to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, March 2006 whilst also enhancing their opportunity to secure a professional contract or promotion to the senior national squad.

Current Institute professional players are set to receive support designed to strengthen their selection potential for the senior national and British & Irish Lions squads. This support will complement the ongoing programmes provided by their pro clubs. The Institute coaches will now attend review and planning meetings with these players and their coaches to advise on, and co-ordinate, the service provision.

Bob Easson, High Performance Rugby Coach has been pivotal in developing the right programme in partnership with the SRU. He said, "The combination of Institute, national, academy, pro and club coaching expertise and experience will enable a collective of knowledge, skills and practical application to the wider benefit of Scottish rugby. It truly is an exciting time for the Institute and rugby in general. We are all focused on the end goal and are determined to pool our resources in order to achieve this."

This support programme will also extend to the those players promoted from the Area Institutes and Rugby Academies, in view of their potential to make the next step to the senior national squad. The Institute coach will continue to give a technical lead to the National Academy coaches as well as a mentoring lead for the development of integrated support for their Academy athletes.

Current players
Mike Blair Edinburgh Rugby
Kelly Brown The Borders
David Callam Edinburgh Rugby
Stephen Cranston The Borders
Geoff Cross The Borders
Chris Cusiter The Borders
Alasdair Dickinson Edinburgh Rugby
Ross Ford The Borders
Allister Hogg Edinburgh Rugby
Alastair Kellock Edinburgh Rugby
Andrew Kelly Edinburgh Rugby
Rory Lawson Edinburgh Rugby
Mark McMillan Leeds Tykes
Calum MacRae The Borders
Euan Murray Glasgow Rugby
Tom Phillip Edinburgh Rugby
Alasdair Strokosch Edinburgh Rugby
Fergus Thomson Glasgow Rugby
Alistair Warnock Unattached
Andrew Wilson Glasgow Rugby

New Players -Sevens
Jamie Blackwood Watsonians
Oli Brown Boroughmuir
Nick De Luca * Heriot's
Rob Dewey Heriot's, Edinburgh Rugby
David Gray Gala
Colin Gregor Watsonians, Glasgow Rugby Apprentice
Cameron Johnston * Newcastle Falcons Academy
Clark Laidlaw Jed-Forest
Mark Lee The Army
Andrew Turnbull Watsonians
Jonny Weston The Borders

* Promoted from East of Scotland Institute of Sport and Edinburgh Rugby Academy

New players - Promotion from Area Institutes
John Barclay GHA, West of Scotland Institute of Sport, Glasgow Rugby Academy
John Beattie GHA, West of Scotland Institute of Sport, Glasgow Rugby Academy
Ben Cairns Currie, East of Scotland Institute of Sport, Edinburgh Rugby Academy
Alan MacDonald, Heriot's, now signed for Edinburgh Rugby, East of Scotland Institute of Sport

New players - Pro
Scott Lawson Glasgow Rugby