Girls compete at Manchester Games

This weekend (4-6 September) a girls' under-19 sevens squad will be representing Scottish Rugby at the Sainsbury's Schools Games, in Manchester, for the third year in succession.

The Games have proved a great development route for a number of players who have graduated to be capped at Scotland Women under-20, Scotland Women 7s and Scotland Women levels.

Coaching the team this year have been two players – Megan Gaffney and Lindsey Smith – who themselves have progressed through the women's game to be capped for Scotland at national level and, with Megan, also for Scotland 7s and GB Student 7s.

The squad of 12 comprises girls from from Caithness to Ayr and Howe of Fife to Cumnock with two - Louise McMillan and Lisa Thomson - currently BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 2 players.

Head of Women's and Girls' Rugby Sheila Begbie said: "The Sainsbury School Games is a fantastic opportunity to give some of our young talented players the opportunity of competing against their peers who are in performance programmes in the other Unions in the UK.

"We want our players to enjoy the experience, to have fun and to come away feeling motivated to work hard to progress themselves.

"This year we have two of our young female coaches Megan Gaffney and Lindsey Smith, who are both still involved in our National team programme at fifteens and sevens, working with these young players at the Sainsbury School Games.

"It will be a great experience for Megan and Lindsey as well as every player involved."

Players were selected for the squad via a talent identification opportunity in June and also by nomination from their club or school. The girls then attended a trial day at BT Murrayfield Stadium from which they were selected for squad training.

The Scotland team will kick off their campaign with a match against the Midlands this afternoon, followed by pool games against teams from Wales and the South West, leading into quarter-finals on Saturday. Proceedings culminate on Sunday with Bowl and Cup competitions.

Sainsbury School Games Squad
Lisa Thomson (Melrose) *
Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill) *
Rachael Shankland (Cumnock RC)
Katie Mackay (Caithness)
Erin Watson (Howe of Fife)
Aimee Watson (Hillhead Jordanhill)
Kirsty Reid (The Community School of Auchterarder)
Nikki Simpson (Ellon)
Chloe Hannant (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Melissa Scott (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Connie Griffiths (Ayr)
Nicola Howat (Howe of Fife)

*BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 2 players 2015/16 

About the Games

The 2015 Sainsbury's School Games is a multi-sport event for the UK's elite young athletes of school age.  The event will take place from 3 to 6 September 2015 in Manchester.

Competition will be held in twelve current and future Olympic and Paralympic sports: athletics, badminton, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, hockey, judo, rugby sevens, swimming, table tennis, volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

Around 1,600 young sports stars are expected to take part.  The ethos of the Games is aligned to the Olympic values and experience.  This creates, for the vast majority of athletes, a vital first experience of a major multi-sport, high level, international event that will stand them in good stead as they aspire to become the Olympians or Paralympians of the future.

For some this experience of personal and squad responsibility, representing their nation on and off the pitch, the athlete village environment and balancing competitive and down time will be an essential step on their sporting journey.