SRU Pulls London Scottish Academy Funding

Just got this in, seems like the SRU are no longer willing to fund London Scottish’s academy system which means they can’t afford to emply a coach any more. Given they have pulled the plug after only two years with limited (but not negligible) success, the irony given their failure to pull the plug so quickly on more spectacular failures north of the Border would be delicious, were it not so annoying. One suspects they will still provide a valuable proving ground for semi-Scottish youngsters despite the SRU’s best efforts.

London Scottish today announced that Rowly Williams will be leaving the Academy as it’s Director/Coach.

The decision is linked directly to the decision by Scottish Rugby to withdraw all funding for the academy programme at the club.

In the post since November 2007, Williams has overseen the establishing of the player development programme of young Anglo-Scots at the club. In conjunction with the Scottish Exiles, The Academy has hosted Development Group evenings during this period which have identified players, along with others by direct selection. These young players at the club have received rugby training, conditioning, game understanding and position specific skills coaching.

Steady progress was being seen – eligible players have gone on to represent the Scottish Exiles in trial matches, several have made various performance (high potential) group camps with Scottish Rugby, player Matt Heeks represented Scotland at U19 and U20 in the past two seasons and Ryan Wilson was recently selected for the Scotland U20 World Cup squad. The eight senior academy players have all represented London Scottish at 1st, 2nd and Development XV level.

Despite the decision being made, the club intends that a Player Development Programme will continue. Williams is confident that, where possible, the club will continue to develop and promote those deemed good enough onto the Scottish pathway route.

“The idea and concept of an academy here is a sound one and whilst it produced what some might see as a modest return in the 2 full years of operation, I always felt there was much more to come as the club continued its rise up the leagues. The support of Scottish Rugby was invaluable, as was that of The Friends of Scottish Rugby.”

“I’m sure some common ground will be found again soon and young Anglo-Scots will make London Scottish their team of choice and Scotland the Country they choose to represent.”

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