2022-2023 Contracted Academy Players Confirmed
Scottish Rugby can today confirm the 30 young male players contracted to the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy for the 2022/2023 season.
All Contracted Academy players are aligned to either Glasgow Warriors or Edinburgh Rugby and have dedicated staff within each pro-team who are responsible for their individual development.
Being based in the pro-team enables them to train daily with professional players, coaches and support staff, in-turn helping them accelerate their development by being immersed in the pro-team club environment earlier and more often in their careers.
In this season’s group, 17 players have retained their place as a contracted player in the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy. There are 13 new additions to the cohort with 12 of the 30 players young enough to represent Scotland in the 2023 Under-20 Six Nations.
The FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy can be split into two groups: Contracted and Regional Academy players so that every player can have access and support from dedicated staff who are specialists in working with the specific age and ability of the individual players.
Ultimately, the way in which the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy is now split means that more players can access specialist support in their Regional Academy as the Contracted Players are in the pro-team environments on a full-time basis.
The 2022/2023 seasonal cohort of Contracted Academy players will be the third group of players who have benefited from the closer involvement with Scotland’s two professional teams, with the first group benefiting in the 2020/2021 season and the second group in 2021/2022.
The approach has seen several players progress within the Scottish Rugby system with six from the 2021/2022 group graduating from the academy to sign their first professional rugby contracts with either Edinburgh Rugby or Glasgow Warriors.
They were: Matt Currie, Angus Fraser, Murphy Walker, Max Williamson, Gregor Brown and Alex Samuel. Both Matt Currie and Murphy Walker also joined the Scotland Summer Tour to South America this summer.
As in the three previous seasons all 30 players have also been allocated to one of the FOSROC Super6 teams and will get regular game time in the FOSROC Super6 Championship which kicks off on Friday 5 August, with many having played in the FOSORC Super6 Sprint Series earlier this year.
Scottish Rugby’s Head of Player Transition Kenny Murray said: “It’s a really exciting time of the year for these players, and especially for the 13 new boys who will be immersed into the professional rugby environment for the first time, benefiting from all the support that the academy provides.
“To have more than a third of last year’s group sign professional contracts in Scotland is great as it shows the players that there are opportunities there if they work hard and show professional behaviours both on and off the pitch.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing these 30 players in the FOSROC Super6 Championship later this summer, with 12 of the players eligible for next year’s Under-20 Six Nations it will give them a good platform to experience senior rugby on, some of them for the first time.”
FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy Players for 2022/2023 season
Logan Jarvie (Stirling County)*
Callum Norrie (Stirling County)*
Harris McLeod (Stirling County)*
Ben Salmon (Stirling County)*
Finlay Burgess (Stirling County)*
Jamie Drummond (Ayrshire Bulls)**
Archie Smeaton (Ayrshire Bulls)*
Christian Townsend (Ayrshire Bulls)**
Ben Afshar (Ayrshire Bulls)*
Andy Stirrat (Ayrshire Bulls)*
Euan Ferrie (Boroughmuir Bears)**
Rhys Tait (Boroughmuir Bears)**
Duncan Munn (Boroughmuir Bears)*
Ross McKnight (Watsonians)**
Tom Banatavala (Watsonians)*
Matt Russell (Heriot’s Rugby)**
Ben Evans (Heriot’s Rugby)**
Jamie Campbell (Heriot’s Rugby)**
Dan Gamble (Heriot’s Rugby)**
Nathan Sweeney (Heriot’s Rugby)**
Harry Paterson (Watsonians)**
Patrick Harrison (Watsonians)**
Robbie Deans (Watsonians)*
Liam McConnell (Boroughmuir Bears)*
Mike Jones (Boroughmuir Bears)**
Rudi Brown (Southern Knights)**
Harri Morris (Southern Knights)**
Cameron Scott (Southern Knights)**
Jacob Henry (Southern Knights)**
Finn Douglas (Southern Knights)*
** Retained FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy Player from 2021/2022
*New FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy Player
MORE ABOUT THE FOSORC SCOTTISH RUGBY ACADEMY
There are two groups of players within the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy
Contracted Academy and Regional Academy players, who are able to move between the two meaning that players can be accelerated into a pro-team environment if that is what is right for that players development, at that time.
The distinction between Contracted and Regional Academy players was made in June 2020 when the closer links with Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors were formed.
Prior to this the Contracted Academy group were referred to as stage 3 and Regional Academy group were referred to as stage 1 and 2 players.
The appointments of Kenny Murray (Head of Player Transition) and John Fletcher (Head of Pathways) in recent months is to heighten this player-centred approach.
> Murray is responsible for ensuring that Contracted Academy players are ready to play and perform at a professional rugby level.
> He works closely with full-time Academy coaches, based out of the pro-teams; Rob Chrystie (Edinburgh Rugby) and Shade Munro (Glasgow Warriors) who are responsible for the Contracted Academy group, allocated to their pro-team.
> Both professional coaching teams and Head Coaches of Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors have been involved in the recruitment of the Contracted Academy players making for a genuine pathway and succession plan for both pro-teams with the ultimate management and responsibility of players development held centrally by Scottish Rugby.
> Fletcher is responsible for preparing and identifying the next group of players in the Regional Academy.
> He works with the dedicated rugby skills, strength and conditioning and physiotherapy support staff in at each of the four academy bases in the Borders and East Lothian, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the West and Caledonia.
Players can enter the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy at various stages
Some players may develop later and come straight into the Contracted Academy. Most will come through the Regional Academy. There are three main ways players will be invited to train.
> following good club and school performances
> after Regional Academy matches
> through the Player Development Hub (PDH) programme (which is a stepping-stone in identifying future talent at U15 boys level, nominations for which can be made by any registered club coach.)