Jonny Gray To Join Warriors' Elite Development Programme

Glasgow Warriors today moved to ensure there will still be a Gray area at Scotstoun next year, securing lock Jonny Gray on a two-year Elite Development contract.

The 18-year-old's elder brother Richie is heading to pastures new at the end of the current campaign, but Jonny will be part of a system from which the likes of Stuart Hogg and Finlay Gillies have progressed to earn full professional contracts this season.

Gray has impressed in the club game with Hamilton and with Scotland under-20, and today was named as one of the recipients of this year's prestigious John Macphail Scholarship.

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Glasgow Warriors today moved to ensure there will still be a Gray area at Scotstoun next year, securing lock Jonny Gray on a two-year Elite Development contract.

The 18-year-old's elder brother Richie is heading to pastures new at the end of the current campaign, but Jonny will be part of a system from which the likes of Stuart Hogg and Finlay Gillies have progressed to earn full professional contracts this season.

Gray has impressed in the club game with Hamilton and with Scotland under-20, and today was named as one of the recipients of this year's prestigious John Macphail Scholarship.

The youngster said: "It's a massive honour to be offered these two development opportunities at the same time. I"m very grateful to be given the chance to take my rugby forward.

"I can't wait to get out to New Zealand and make the most of the visit and to experience southern hemisphere rugby before joining up with the Warriors and continuing my development."

Warriors Elite Development coach Iain Monaghan said: "Jonny has shown he has the potential to become a professional player, and we look forward to working with him, supporting him and challenging him to ensure he fulfils that potential."

As part of the Macphail Scholarship, Gray this week jets off to New Zealand along with Edinburgh Rugby stand-off Gregor Hunter to spend 18 weeks in Christchurch, playing for local clubs and benefiting from the high-end facilities and coaching offered by the Canterbury RFU International High Performance Unit.
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Gray and Hunter will also be joined for five weeks by Scottish Rugby's regional academy coach and Scotland under-16 assistant coach, Ben Fisher, who will be given a series of coaching opportunities with the Crusaders._
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The trio will receive specialist support from members of the coaching staff at the Crusaders, the most successful side in Super 15 history.
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Kenneth Ferguson, Director of the Robertson Scholarship Trust, said: "It gives me great pleasure to announce the recipients of the 2012 John Macphail Rugby Scholarship._
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"Last year as part of our 50th Anniversary we increased the number of recipients of the awards to include players and a coach. This was so successful that we decided to continue the increased level of funding in conjunction with the Scottish Rugby Elite Player Development (EDP) programme._
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"We very much look forward to again seeing the all-round development the time in New Zealand will give these young players._ We are also looking forward to seeing how Ben's coaching skills develop and in turn help the game in Scotland"
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"Along with the Trustees, Mrs Macphail and her family continue to take a close, personal interest in the development of each player and coach both while they are in Christchurch and after their return."
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Among those sharing their expertise will be Todd Blackadder, the one-time All Black captain and Edinburgh Rugby player/head coach, ex-New Zealand prop Dave Hewett, who followed Blackadder to the Scottish capital and then back to Canterbury, and Daryl Gibson, the one-time Glasgow Warriors centre who is now an assistant coach with the south island franchise.
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Gibson's fellow former All Blacks centre Aaron Mauger and lock Norm Maxwell, together with two-time Super 12-winning hooker Matt Sexton, will also be on hand.
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In addition, each of the visiting youngsters will be assigned an individual mentor and will be able to call on full strength and conditioning, performance analysis and medical support.
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The Macphail Scholarship, now entering its eighth year, was established in memory of former Scotland hooker John Macphail, who died in 2004. In Macphail's business career, he was chief executive, then chairman, of the Edrington Group, a private company that is owned by the Robertson Trust.
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The scholarship has a proud record of assisting the development of Scottish talent by exposing them to different environments.
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Previous winners include John Barclay, the Glasgow Warriors and Scotland flanker in 2005 and Edinburgh Rugby flanker Roddy Grant, the 2008 recipient.
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Two of last year's recipients, lock Grant Gilchrist and stand-off Harry Leonard have played regularly for Edinburgh Rugby in the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup this year and will be fighting for a spot in the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Toulouse this Saturday (7 April), while Leonard and fellow scholar George Turner were involved in this season's Scotland under-20s RBS 6 Nations campaign.
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Gilchrist said: "I improved a lot in New Zealand, both technically and as an individual, having learned from the reality check as a person that comes with spending some extended time away from home.
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"On my return my initial targets were simply to impress the coaches with a few appearances off the bench and work my way into the team but once I started getting more exposure my expectations and ambitions changed as I pushed to start every week.
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'the challenge for me now is to own that place in the second-row. It's a_ really exciting time at Edinburgh Rugby and all I want to do is keep_ playing and be involved in a winning side every week."
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Graham Lowe, Scottish Rugby's director of performance rugby, said: "Jonny and Gregor are quality young talents who have applied themselves well in rugby and in the development opportunities they have been given so far.
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'they are two bright players who will, hopefully, have a long future in the game and who will make the most of the scholarship and their time in New Zealand. The level of support they will receive from the Canterbury RFU is superb.
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'this is also a unique opportunity for Ben to add to his coaching experience and improve his talent.
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"My thanks go to The Robertson Scholarship Trust for their support again this year in helping us boost the development of our best young rugby players in Scotland."

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