Scottish Rugby launches ‘Scrum School’ development programme

Scottish Rugby launches ‘Scrum School’ development programme

The Rugby Development department at Scottish Rugby has launched a new programme designed to better prepare and develop individuals in the front-row positions across all levels of the domestic game.

Through a series of practical workshops and online resources, ‘Scrum School’ will provide support to coaches and players with the aim of creating stronger, more confident, and skilled front-row players.

The programme has been developed to support both youth and senior players in the male and female game, irrespective of their rugby experience.

The Scrum School practical sessions will include workshops for coaches and summer camp sessions for players, both of which will be delivered by Scottish Rugby employees and club coaches who have undertaken Scrum School Coach Educator training.

Shabaz Khan, who plays in the front-row for Marr RFC and coaches at Kilmarnock RFC was amongst 50 coaches who completed the educator course prior to the programme launch. Shabaz said: “I’m really looking forward to Scrum School getting underway. As a current player I’ve noticed more and more games being unplayable due to front-row shortages. I’m excited to help pass on the passion I have for scrummaging to the next generation of coaches and front row players.

“I see myself as part of the system to promote front-row players coming through the community game, whether that be through working with the players directly or aiding coaches with the experience and knowledge needed to identify and develop those players.

“The upcoming regional workshops are going to be a great opportunity for coaches to better understand how to coach all players in the scrum, and there will be something for everyone; whether you’re coaching beginner, intermediate or advanced front-row players.”

In addition to this, a digital campaign will be delivered to educate and inform players on the scrum, dispel common myths and misconceptions around playing in the front-row, and share real-life testimonials from front-row players across all levels of the game about their experiences.

The development of the programme has been led by Sinclair Patience, Scottish Rugby Game Development Manager, who said: “Scrummaging is often referred to as a bit of a dark art in rugby because there is a lot of skill, knowledge, confidence and strength required to excel in the scrum.

“Whether players are starting the sport from scratch, transitioning from a different position or developing their existing front-row skills, Scrum School will provide a step-by-step approach to enhancing player’s abilities, and allow more players to safely experience playing in the most enjoyable positions in the game.”

Supporting the launch of Scrum School, Director of Rugby Development Gav Scott said: “It’s no secret that teams across the country – both male and female – have been faced with issues in player availability in the front-row position over the years, and this can lead to games being postponed, delaying the progress of competition.

“The Scrum School programme is a fantastic step forward in helping to address those issues whilst also developing a sustainable pipeline of educated front-row players to meet the demand required in our High Performance pathways.

“We also recognise that in order to develop our players, we need to develop our coaches. Our suite of courses and resources will support coaches at all levels of the game to confidently identify, recruit and develop front-row players to a safe standard.”

The programme has also gained support from Scotland International front-row players including Murphy Walker and Elliann Clarke.

Murphy Walker, who earned the first of his Scotland caps in the 2022 Autumn Nations Series welcomed the launch of Scrum School saying: “The introduction of Scrum School for youth and senior players across Scotland is really exciting. I think this will be a game changer for creating a greater depth of front-row capabilities, which will have a positive impact on the community game and beyond.

“As someone who has played in the front-row from a young age, I know first-hand the level of coaching support required to make that successful, so I think it’s fantastic that resource has been developed as part of Scrum School to help educate coaches to get the best out of their players when it comes to the scrum.”

Elliann Clarke, who made her Scotland debut against USA in August 2022, transitioned from playing in the back-row to the front-row when she joined the University of Edinburgh team.

“There are still perhaps misconceptions that you have to be the biggest person to be able to play in the front-row, and that’s not true. It’s more about strength and technique. I think Scrum School will be a great way to dispel this misconception, amongst others, to attract more girls and women to the sport.”

Coaches are now invited to sign up to the first round of Scrum School courses. More information can be found HERE.

Dates and sign-up information for player Scrum School summer camps will be announced later in the year.

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