Rugby’s future

I read with interest your article “Rugby chiefs unveil third academy” (Sport, 5 June). I am delighted that the SRU is now working so closely in partnership with universities, colleges and schools in both the state and independent sectors to secure the future success of rugby in Scotland.

Colleagues in the independent sector have been instrumental in assisting the SRU to develop a structure for the schools’ game which will promote excellence while being genuinely ­inclusive and providing opportunities for pupils of a wide range of ages and abilities and in all kinds of schools. This has clearly been what has been needed for a good long while.

However, I must correct the impression that may have been given by the article that George Watson’s College actively recruits pupils to play rugby for the school by offering rugby scholarships to the most talented players from state schools. That has never been our practice and the overwhelming majority of our senior players grow up through the school, often from primary school age.

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We are proud that people choose George Watson’s, and that they can apply for foundation places if their family circumstances would not otherwise enable them to attend, but any suggestion that such support is improperly targeted at rugby players is entirely wrong.

It also does a disservice not only to the hard work of our squads and coaches but also to the co-operative and collegiate spirit in which schools such as George Watson’s are engaging with the SRU and state schools to take school rugby in Scotland forward.

Melvyn Roffe


George Watson’s College Edinburgh