Coaches named for Girls Regional Game Series 2024

Coaches named for Girls Regional Game Series 2024

Ahead of the Girls Regional Game Series commencing this weekend, Scottish Rugby has announced the coaching set up for each of the squads.

The coaching teams see an exciting calibre of Lead Coaches selected, with additional support from aspiring coaches, including three players currently involved in the Celtic Challenge.

The Series provides a competitive development environment for the best young players in Scotland, regardless of geography or local environment, whilst supporting talent identification and selection for National Age Grade programmes.

Outwith the activity on the pitch, the programme also designed to create a coaching pathway and development opportunity for the female community game.

Across the Series, four U16 sides will compete, with three in the U18 programme. Squads will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday 17 January) via

Experienced coach, Sarah Hogwood will this year take charge of the Caledonia Midlands U16 side.

As well as being involved in last year’s Series, Hogwood has previously coached the Scottish Futures U18 side and currently leads Perthshire Men’s 1XV side as their Backs and Attack coach.

Hogwood’s Assistant Coaches are Caroline Campbell (Development Officer for Montrose & District Rugby Club) and Cammy Watson (Development Officer at Grangemouth Rugby Club). Neva Whyte, Women’s and Girls’ Community Coach for Caledonia Midlands will be the Team Manager.

Looking forward to the Series, Hogwood said: “My coaching team and I are really excited about getting started with the programme. Squad selection wasn’t easy with the standard and quality of rugby the girls brought to the assessment day – very much reflecting the hard work and effort that is happening in clubs.

“Our Caledonia Midlands U16’s squad has something really special about it and we’re looking forward to challenging the girls and finding out what they are capable of over the course of the programme.”

Former Boroughmuir Bears hooker, Arthur Allen has been appointed as the Lead Coach for the U16 East squad.

Allen, who has worked as a Women’s and Girls’ Community Coach in the East region, has a wealth of experience coaching youth sides at Boroughmuir RFC and has most recently been involved as a coach for National Youth Cup winning sides at George Watsons College.

Allen will be supported by Holly McIntyre, (University of Edinburgh) in the role of Assistant Coach, with Amy McHardy of Dunbar RFC joining as Team Manager.

Ahead of the Series commencing, Allen said: “As a coaching team, we are looking forward to being the next rung in ladder for these girls’ development which we hope for many will allow them to progress onto a higher honours and adult rugby. We’re excited for the competition beginning.”

FOSROC Academy Age Grade Coach for Caledonia North, Paul Braithwaite, will lead the Caledonia North U16 team.

Before moving to Scotland, Braithwaite was Head of Rugby at an Independent School in Surrey and coached in the London Irish Academy Performance Development Programme.

Jacob Powell of Highland RFC and Megan Hyland of Glasgow Warriors and Garioch RFC will assist Braithwaite, with David Wilson (Highland RFC) taking up the post as Team Manager.

On his appointment, Braithwaite said: “Since moving to the north of Scotland I have been inspired by the passion and hunger for Women’s and Girls rugby across the region. I am excited to have the opportunity to help showcase this to the rest of the country through the Regional Games Series.”

Stephen Gillies, Head Coach of Women’s Premiership side, Hillhead Jordanhill, will lead the U16 West side this year, after previously being involved in the Series last season.

Gillies has spent much of his career playing and coaching in Scotland, before he enjoyed a spell in Canada, where he was involved in the coaching team for the UBC Old Boy Ravens in Vancouver.

Dom Stewart, Development Officer at Dumfries Saints, Finlay Aherne of GHK RFC and former Scotland Women’s international, Joan Hutchison (Paisley RFC) join as Assistant Coaches. Andrew Johnston will be the Team Manager.

On his appointment, Gillies said: “As a coaching group we’re looking forward to watching the individual players selected develop in to a team. At this age, engagement and enjoyment is key. We will be actively focussing on those two fundamentals as well as skill development throughout the programme, giving the players an environment which allows them to show the best version of themselves.

“With this approach I’ve no doubt all involved will have an experience that they can look back on fondly. Hopefully, the first step for some of them enjoying each other’s company as teammates for years to come.”

Left to Right: Sarah Hogwood, Arthur Allen, Paul Braithwaite and Stephen Gillies.

Frazier Climo has been appointed as Lead Coach to U18 West.

Climo’s experience points to years of coaching at the top end of domestic rugby, having spent the last two seasons in post as an Assistant Coach to Super Series side, Ayrshire Bulls.

Climo will be further supported by Ciera Campbell (West of Scotland/Strathdenrick RFC) and Rachel Shankland (GrangeAcademy/Cumnock RFC) as Assistant Coaches. Ali Cairns of Adrossan RFC will be Team Manager.

Speaking to, Climo said: “I’m really looking forward to being involved in the Regional Game Series for the U18 West team. It will be really exciting to work alongside an extremely talented group of players and coaches.”

Graham Smith, Director of Rugby at Perthshire RFC has been appointed to oversee the Caledonia U18 side.

Smith, has a wealth of experience having coached across the Youth pathway for many years. Before joining Perthshire, Smith was the Director of Sport and Head of Rugby at Glenalmond College.

Liam Buchan, Development Officer for Aberdeen Grammar, and Nikki Simpson, currently of Glasgow Warriors and Garioch RFC, will join Smith as Assistant Coaches. Jess Martin (Perthshire RFC) will be the Team Manager.

On his appointment to the role, Smith said: “I’m thrilled to have been appointed to lead the Caledonia coaching team. This is a fantastic development opportunity for our players and indeed for our coaches. We’re excited for the part we will play in developing future talent for Scottish rugby.”

FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy for Edinburgh and Murrayfield Wanderers Development Officer, Marko Mladenovic, will take charge of the U18 East side this year.

Mladenovic, who is originally from Cyprus and has captained the national side, is also the Head Coach for Cyprus Sevens and has previously worked with Falkirk RFC and George Watsons College.

James McCaig (Currie Chieftains) and Zoe Turner (Edinburgh Rugby and Corstorphine Cougars) join Mladenovic as Assistant Coaches, with Boroughmuir Banshees’, Gillian Nimmo as Team Manager.

Speaking to, Mladenovic said: “The Regional Games Series is a fantastic opportunity for our east of Scotland girls. We are very excited to create a platform and environment where the girls will be able to enjoy some competitive fixtures and develop as players and individuals.

“We are really pleased to have a dedicated group who are willing to work very hard and we look forward to the next five weeks of the Regional Game Series and see how far the girls can go in regard to their development.”

Left to right: Frazier Climo, Graham Smith, Marko Mladenovic.

U18 Fixtures

Round 1: Sunday 21 January, Whitecraigs RFC
Round 2: Sunday 28 January, Highland RFC
Round 3: Sunday 11 February, Peffermill Playing Fields

U16 Fixtures

Round 1: Sunday 21 January, Whitecraigs RFC
Round 2: Sunday 28 January, Highland RFC
Round 3: Sunday 11 February, Peffermill Playing Fields
Round 4: Sunday 25 February, Dundee RPC

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