Glasgow University renews historical rugby link

IN 1873, Glasgow University were one of the founding members of the body that later became the Scottish Rugby Union and, while student rugby is not as strong in Scotland as it once was, the University is hoping that a tie-up with one of the top clubs in the city will raise their profile and standards once again.

Glasgow Accies, who helped create Glasgow Hawks, line up before a match at the universitys Westerlands playing fields in the 1920s. Picture: Contributed

Glasgow University 1st  XV played against a Glasgow Hawks development side at Old Anniesland last night to celebrate a new relationship with the Premiership club.

The two clubs are following a successful model from the capital, where Edinburgh University has a fruitful relationship with Edinburgh Accies and last year’s Uni skipper Neil Aitken is doing a good shift in Accies’ boiler house this season.

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According to Hawks, the partnership will provide “appropriate development pathways and platforms for individuals and teams to achieve their aspirations and ambitions”.

It looks like an attempt to ensure that any students with the talent to play the game at a higher level have the opportunity to do so. The University will benefit from coaching and use of Hawks’ facilities. The students already play their annual sevens at New Anniesland.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for professional players to gain a degree.

For example, Glasgow Warriors hooker Pat McArthur and Montpellier breakaway Johnnie Beattie each enrolled at Glasgow University for short spells before the demands of professional rugby meant they were obliged to give up their studies.

Former Glasgow and Hawks’ prop Euan Murray did manage to stick to his books long enough to gain a veterinary degree from Glasgow, albeit in more accommodating times.

Glasgow University’s Assistant Director of Sport Euan Smith said: “The new relationship with Glasgow Hawks RFC will be of enormous benefit to both the University and the club and we are confident 
it will entice more young, 
ambitious rugby players to choose the University of 
Glasgow for their studies.

“We understand the route that young players must take to play top-level rugby in Scotland and we hope our relationship with Hawks can help as many as possible fulfil their rugby ambitions.”