2016/17 BT Sport Academy intake announced

Scottish Rugby is delighted to announce the latest group of players selected for the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy for season 2016/17.

Some 30 new faces are included in the 91-strong selection of male and female players across the four regional academy centres, with 11 players joining the top ‘contracted’ tier of the structure to replace those who graduated into senior professional rugby last season.

Daniel Winning (Boroughmuir), Glasgow Hawks pair Sam Thomson and Robert Beattie and Jamie Bhatti (Melrose) come in to the top tier of the set-up without previous involvement, while the progress of Luke Crosbie, Charlie Shiel, Thomas Gordon, Cammy Hutchison (all Currie), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks), Jade Konkel (Hillhead Jordanhill) and Ross McCann (Melrose) is rewarded with promotion to the same, fully-contracted stage.

A further 26 players have been selected into the earlier ‘supported’ stages (one and two) of the programme to take the spaces vacated by those promoted through the system and others, who for a variety of reasons, are no longer included.

Scottish Rugby Head of Academy and Performance Programmes, Stephen Gemmell, said: "Each of the BT Sport Regional Academies were required to provide evidence-supported nominations at a series of selection meetings over a period of months. The players were then considered within a national framework to finally arrive at the 91 announced today.

"Obviously the here and now plays a part in selection, such as the individual’s skill set and match performances, but we also need to select players we think can play the game of tomorrow. It’s about future-proofing the game in Scotland.

That’s what makes the academy vital. It’s about continually producing players that can go on and be influential in professional and senior international rugby in years to come by displaying a point of difference - be that physical, mental, technical or tactical - alongside their core rugby competencies.

- - Scottish Rugby Head of Academy and Performance Programmes, Stephen Gemmell

"There’s a whole range of factors that are taken into consideration but ultimately it’s about who we think can follow in the footsteps of the nine players who graduated from the academy last year into the senior professional ranks."

The BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy represents the nation’s most promising male and female rugby players, with those named today the second tranche of inductees since the governing body’s investment announced last year, in partnership with four regional centres in Aberdeen, Cumbernauld, Edinburgh and Galashiels.

Week in, week out the BT Sport Academies focus on three pillars of player development: high performance behaviours, rugby skills and athletic capacity.

These include but are not restricted to an athlete’s training history and work ethic, and technical proficiency and consistency in skill delivery, while ensuring they are physically and functionally capable, self-sufficient and self-aware.

Developing the players' leadership, accountability and responsibility is also crucial to the system, with contracts structured to allow broader employment or study to help produce more rounded athletes with a secondary career option, should they fail to meet their professional playing ambitions.

Gemmell added: "The biggest thing is that, a year on from their launch, our four academy centres are now fully up and running, with our partnerships giving us outstanding facilities to ensure that the players don’t have any excuses.

The staff, the players, the parents and partners, all have a better understanding of what it takes to achieve success. Have we made improvements? Absolutely. But we’re nowhere near the finished article in terms of what the BT Sport Academy can deliver for rugby in Scotland.

"We’re now better equipped to support our players. The challenge is to make sure that continues while ensuring we take advantage of the improvements being made in the domestic club and school game, as part of a Scottish rugby-wide process that’s continually evolving.

"The challenge to staff, players and stakeholders to innovate and find solutions to issues that continually arise to help us produce players for tomorrow.

“We need to work closely with our clubs and schools to continually support the development of the individual players, whilst always ensuring that they get the benefit of having better equipped players playing for them."

BT SPORT ACADEMY STAGE THREE (11 new players: four new, seven promoted through the programme):

Borders & East Lothian: Darcy Graham (Hawick), Gary Robertson (Gala).

Edinburgh: Jason Baggot (Melrose), Luke Crosbie**, Thomas Gordon*, Cammy Hutchison** (all Currie), Murray McCallum (Heriot’s), Ross McCann** (Melrose), Grant McConnell (Boroughmuir), Charlie Shiel** (Currie), George Taylor (Melrose), Daniel Winning* (Boroughmuir).

Glasgow & the West: Robert Beattie* (Glasgow Hawks), Jamie Bhatti* (Melrose), Matt Fagerson**, Bruce Flockhart, George Horne (all Glasgow Hawks), Calum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County), Jade Konkel** (Hillhead Jordanhill), Matt Smith, Sam Thomson* (both Glasgow Hawks), Lewis Wynne (Stirling County).

London Scottish: Cammy Fenton (Stirling County), Hugh Fraser (Heriot’s), Tom Galbraith (Melrose), Patrick Kelly (Glasgow Hawks), Ally Miller (Melrose), Ben Robbins (Currie).

* New player
** Promoted player

BT SPORT ACADEMY STAGE ONE / TWO (26 new players):

Borders & East Lothian: Patrick Anderson*, Harry Borthwick, Thomas Brown* (all Melrose), Kyle Brunton (Hawick), Rory Darge*, Roan Frostwick* (both North Berwick HS /RFC), Adam Hall* (Earlston High School / Melrose), Andrew Horne (Hawick), Robbie McCallum* (Loretto School), Gary Munro* (Jed Forest), Fraser Renwick (Hawick), Finlay Scott* (Jed Thistle).

Edinburgh: Ben Appleson (Edinburgh Accies), Hamish Bain (Currie), Jack Bruce (Edinburgh Accies), Ross Dunbar (Boroughmuir), Calum Eastwood* (Watsonians), Jordan Edmunds* (Boroughmuir), Ewan Fox (High School of Dundee), Finn Hobbis (Stewart’s Melville), Jamie Hodgson* (Stewart’s Melville), Sarah Law (Edinburgh University), Rhona Lloyd* (Edinburgh University),Helen Nelson* (Murrayfield Wanderers / Edinburgh University), Dan Marek* (Currie), Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), Dean Roger* (Edinburgh Accies), Chloe Rollie (Murrayfield Wanderers), Eilidh Sinclair (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lisa Thomson* (Edinburgh University), Jamie Ure* (Boroughmuir).

Glasgow & the West: Scott Bell* (Glasgow Hawks / Kelvinside Academy), Paul Cairncross (Glasgow Hawks), Rachael Cook (Murrayfield Wanderers), Ben Eynon (Glasgow Hawks), Andrew Grant-Suttie (Stirling County), Fergus Haig (GHA), Josh Henderson (Glasgow Hawks), Martin Hughes (Heriot’s), Ross Jackson, Andrew Jardine* (both Biggar), Stafford McDowell* (Ayr), Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Mark New (Glasgow Hawks), Craig Pringle (Stirling County), Robbie Smith (Ayr), Bruce Sorbie (Stirling County), Gavin Wilson* (Dumfries Saints), Daniel York (West of Scotland).

Caledonia: Kaleem Barreto (Glenalmond College), Fergus Bradbury* (Stirling University), Callum Cruickshank (Dollar Academy), Karen Dunbar* (RHC Cougars), Angus Fraser* (High School of Dundee), George Goodenough (Strathallan School), Caitlin Harvey (Caithness), Grant Hughes (Dollar Academy), Megan Kennedy (Stirling County), Euan McLaren* (Dollar Academy), Andrew McLean* (Stirling County), Lucy Park (Murrayfield Wanderers), Logan Trotter* (Stirling County), Emma Wassell (Murrayfield Wanderers).

* New player

A number of other players have been identified and will be continuously monitored through their club and school programmes with opportunities for selection ongoing.

BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy players to earn senior professional contracts for 2016/17: Lewis Carmichael, Jack Cosgrove (both Edinburgh Rugby) Scott Cummings, Ali Price, James Malcolm (all Glasgow Warriors), Robbie Fergusson (London Scottish), Andrew Davidson (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Graham (Yorkshire Carnegie).


Borders & East Lothian
Venue: Netherdale Campus, Galashiels
Partners: Borders College, Heriot Watt University, Borders Sports and Leisure Trust, Borders Council

Venue: Hillhead Centre, Aberdeen and Aberdeen Sports Village
Partners: Aberdeen University and Aberdeen Sports Village

Venue: Edinburgh Napier University, Sighthill Campus
Partners: Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh City Council (Edinburgh Leisure)

Glasgow & The West
Venue: Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld
Partners: North Lanarkshire Leisure Trust