Scottish Rugby secures strategic partnerships to deliver capital Academy

BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy, Edinburgh, which will nurture young rugby talent and develop future rugby stars in the capital, will be based at Edinburgh Napier University's Sighthill campus. 

The partnership between Scottish Rugby, Edinburgh Napier University and City of Edinburgh Council to deliver the Academy has been launched today.

Boasting one of the UK's leading biomechanics labs, players and staff will have access to the University's extensive sports science facilities and gym equipment. 

They include a number of exercise physiology labs, one featuring an environment chamber that simulates altitude, humidity, and hot and cold conditions. 

An extension will be built to the University's current performance gym, which will include a 20-metre running track and physio area, as well as free weights and cardio machines.

City of Edinburgh Council sports pitches and a newly refurbished sports pavilion will also become available at Sighthill Park, adjacent to the University campus, to Edinburgh Academy Manager, Graeme Beveridge and his team.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, said:

"The partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and City of Edinburgh Council, enables us to deliver a state-of-the-art location for our BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy, Edinburgh and supports the development of the rugby stars of the future. 

"The Academy programme is a long term project. The Edinburgh Academy, along with the three other BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academies are one of our key policy initiatives and have been made possible with the investment for rugby in Scotland from BT.”

Beveridge said: "This is a very exciting partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and City of Edinburgh Council. 

"Edinburgh Napier has been very ambitious in developing its sports campus and the new facility will be a world-leading base for young Scottish players coming into the Academy.

"This facility will allow us to develop a robust programme, which will give players the best opportunities to improve and progress at this early stage in their rugby careers.”

Dr Susan Brown, the University's Head of Sport Science and Health said: "We have been working collaboratively with athletes and coaches for over a decade now, and having the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy here at Sighthill allows us to take our development role to the next level.

"Our state-of-the-art sport science facilities will help give the players of the future an edge, while the new, purpose-built extension to our sports centre will also significantly enhance the sporting experience we can offer students, staff and the local community.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture & Sport Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "This is exciting news for the city and the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy is on course to inspire more young people to get into rugby when it starts later this month.

"The Academy itself will support young and aspiring rugby players as they develop their skills, and the local community, schools and community groups will all see outdoor sport and physical activity opportunities return to Sighthill Park with the upgrade of the changing pavilion and the installation of new posts for football and rugby, which can be used by all.”

This is the third BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy venue to be launched. It follows the announcements of the Caledonia Academy at Hillhead Sports Campus and Aberdeen Sports Village, in October 2014, and the Glasgow and the West Academy at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld, in April.

It is anticipated that there will be up to 90 players across the four BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy venues in its first year, with players and staff to be announced later this month.