SCOTTISH Rugby has appointed its first two academy managers, one for Caledonia and the other for Glasgow and the West, a week after the first of four planned academies was opened.
Bruce Frame, a development manager with the Australian Rugby Union, will take charge of the newly-launched BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy in Aberdeen, while Glasgow Hawks head coach Jamie Dempsey will be manager of the Glasgow and the West academy in Cumbernauld.#
The two academies in the governing body’s other regions are expected to be at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus on the outskirts of Edinburgh and in Galashiels. In common with the Cumbernauld academy, they are due to be up and running by this time next year, funded by BT’s multi-million-pound investment in the sport. The managers of both are due to be announced shortly.
Frame, 51, will begin his new job in mid-November. After a decade as a player in the Australian Premiership which included representative honours in sevens, he worked as a development officer in Singapore. He returned to his native country at the turn of the century, and worked at the University of New South Wales before moving to the ARU in 2008.
“I had been looking from a family perspective to move to the UK and when this role was advertised it was like a light coming on,” said Frame, who has Scottish grandparents. “I thought it was a really strong fit for my background and it will be great to work for an aspirational rugby union that wants to achieve something that will make a real difference.
“I’m looking forward to getting started in Caledonia. Geographically there might be certain similarities with the scale of the area I’ve been working in in Australia.
“Within the set-up I think I’ll get a good feel of where any of our recruits are at – not just on the rugby field but also their character. If you are serious about developing sport then you have to have a skills development programme in place.”
Dempsey, who is a lecturer in sports coaching at the Cumbernauld campus of New College in addition to coaching Hawks, hopes the academy can emulate the values behind the current success of Glasgow Warriors. “I’m hugely excited about this challenge,” said the 34-year-old, who takes up his post at the start of next month. “This is a significant role in Scottish Rugby and it will be the cornerstone to producing world-class Scottish talent in the west.
“I want to try to build on the strong professional culture at Glasgow Warriors and replicate the core values in the Glasgow rugby community.
“I also want to see our players drive forward in the academy at national level and create a rugby development programme that is not just equal to, but better than, everything else on offer. To begin with, my team and I will assess the strengths and the needs of the current good work that is going on nationwide and in Glasgow and the west, and start to bring together a clear strategy that puts in place the goals of the wider academies.
“I foresee the long-term success of this role being seen by an improvement in the quality of players that graduate into the pro game and ultimately in the standings of our international age-grade teams. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it.”
Having been backs coach with Scotland under-16s for the past three years, Dempsey already has first-hand knowledge of some of the likely applicants for the first intake at the academies. The process of identifying suitable candidates will begin in earnest this Sunday, when the first four of a series of nationwide games at under-16, U18 and U20 level are played.