Meggetland men have one eye on a special prize
Three-times Scottish league champions and cup holders on an identical number of occasions, there is one goal that continues to elude Boroughmuir, who open the new Premier rugby season at home to Ayr on Saturday.
Since its inception three years ago, the British and Irish Cup has become aspirational to all clubs. Boroughmuir are no exception.
Now, with a new organisational structure being put in place, the hope is that this will be the catalyst to leap back into the top four places that guarantee opportunities to challenge on wider fronts.
Nobody typifies the fresh approach more than Malcolm Clapperton, who, at 33, hopes to continue lining up at centre but has also taken on the Director of Rugby role.
“I still feel I have something to offer as a player,” said the man who has represented Edinburgh at Celtic League level, adding: “I hadn’t thought about becoming director of Rugby until it was put to me that this would be a good time to get involved off the pitch as well. The club are in the final stages of seeking approval for charitable status that would come with being officially a community club.
“There are talks going on involving sports clubs, Edinburgh Leisure and the council. The aim is to become a focal point for sport in the Meggetland area. There’s even a new club logo in keeping with the community element.
“At the moment the car park might be full but the clubhouse relatively empty. We could soon have a situation where the hockey section plays at 1pm, the rugby club at 3pm and the footballers at 5pm.
“More integration is needed and rugby can only benefit from that. Community clubs are the way forward although, that said, the private school clubs will always find a way to adapt. They always do.”
Evidence of this is provided by the four Scottish qualifiers for the B&I Cup with Melrose, Ayr and Stirling County competing alongside Dundee High FPs.
“As for my new role I have been at Boroughmuir all my career apart from when representing Edinburgh.
“I believe I have a feel for the club and its needs. I can help bring together all aspects from youths to seniors while maybe being a sounding board on some issues. Above all there is a need for a uniform approach.”
Clapperton is well-qualified in other respects. For his final year at school he grasped an opportunity to attend Otago Boys’ High, where team-mates included future All Blacks World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw.
“The year in New Zealand opened my eyes early to the importance that can be attached to sport and its facilities while there is a bit of cross-over in my career as a landscape architect.”
Clapperton, who works for the Scottish Agricultural College consultancy, helped design the Braids junior golf course and current projects include assisting the Baberton club lay out holes to surround a new clubhouse; when we met up, he is on his way to advise Currie rugby club on a new pitch while similar projects having involved Lismore, Falkirk and Biggar.
“Inevitably I am picking up ideas in my day job that can maybe help Boroughmuir,” he added.
Talking of day jobs, Clapperton is convinced that semi-professionalism is on the horizon for Scottish club rugby. “It might take a while yet but the B&I Cup is what players want to appear in and to compete with the likes of Munster Academy and Moseley can’t be done on two nights training a week,” he explained. “The work of attracting necessary sponsorships and maybe even persuading television to take an interest is underway and we must be ready at Boroughmuir where the good news is we are a young squad whose best years lie ahead.
“When I started out the average age of the team was about 29. Now it is around 21, but that is typical of the game in general these days. I suspect it is down to the commitment required but most premiership players are good athletes.
“At ’Muir we have a string of players coming back from Scotland Under-20s such as Jamie Swanson, Alex Henderson and Keith Buchan, while Damien Hoyland is another to watch out for.
“We’ve done well in pre-season matches and some of the optimism stems from the approach of new backs coach David Officer.”
Officer is a former Scotland tour threequarter and ex-Edinburgh pro.
Clapperton added: “Dave’s a no-nonsense type and watch out for more directness in our play.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
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