Scottish Rugby Appoints First Lady
Rugby in Renfrewshire was celebrating a Scottish rugby first today when Scottish Rugby and Renfrewshire Council joined forces to appoint Scotland’s first female development officer (DO). The collective commitment brings around£30,000 of investment annually into rugby in Renfrewshire with Scotland A and Hillhead Jordanhill prop Lindsey Smith employed to recruit and retain rugby players in the area, create links with schools to maximise the opportunities to play rugby and increase participation at all levels of the club game.Lindsay is currently delivering six-week rugby programmes in eight of the area’s primary schools who, in a fortnight’s time, will be competing in their first rugby tournament.Speaking from today’s session at Newmains Primary School in Renfrew, she said: “I don’t really think too much about the fact that I’m the first girl to do this job because it was just a job that I really wanted to do. Yes of course it means something to be the first girl to do it but it means a lot more to me that I’m working to develop rugby in Renfrewshire.”Currently there isn’t a huge amount of rugby in the area compared to other parts of Scotland so there’s not a lot of young talent feeding into the clubs. My main job is to get into the schools, create an interest in rugby and then introduce the youngsters to the rugby clubs.Providing quality, fun opportunities for Scotland’s young people to experience and play rugby is vital for the future of the game and for Scotland’s young people and the fact that this area now has a dedicated DO is a massive step forward.”Following the unanimous vote at both the 2009 Scottish Rugby Union and Scottish Women’s Rugby Union AGMs, Scottish Rugby is now a united governing body where all are part of a single and equitable organisation.Glen Tippett, regional development manager for the Glasgow South area, believes the inclusive nature of the sport, combined with the success of the AGM vote bodes well for the future of Scottish rugby.”Rugby is indebted to many women PE teachers and active schools co-ordinators who introduce young people to the game throughout Scotland and I believe the integration of the two unions sends a strong message to boys and girls that rugby is open and accessible to all.” said Tippett. Lindsey has the ability to help take this very proactive region forward and her appointment will continue to help bolster the growth of rugby from the grassroots up in an area not traditionally associated with the sport.”Increased community investment from Scottish Rugby, partnered with other bodies, has strengthened our successful development structure and offers increased opportunities for young people to play and coach rugby in more schools, clubs and communities.””The network of development officers across Scotland is fundamental to Scottish Rugby ensuring that rugby is open and available to all, while providing the foundations for our strategic targets of a 38% increase in young people playing rugby, and a total playing population of 38,000 by 2012.”Renfrewshire DO, Lindsey Smith, is currently delivering rugby sessions in eight primary schools in the area.