A new rugby academy has been created in Angus in response to the county’s school timetable shake-up.
The 33-week period week was introduced following the summer break with the secondary school day now finishing at 1.20pm on Friday.
A programme of additional activities has been developed by Active Schools Angus, Angus Alive and Angus Community Learning for young people wishing to take up optional activities at the end of the new school week.
With the introduction of the new high school timetable an opportunity to take advantage of the early school closure on a Friday was grasped upon to create a new rugby academy.
Open presently to Webster’s High in Kirriemuir, Forfar Academy and Brechin High School, Strathmore Rugby Trust has linked up with Angus Alive to offer students a valuable activity on Friday afternoons.
The objective is to not just develop skills but to provide pupils with the tactical and conditioning knowledge to successfully transition into adult rugby.
Delighted by the initial uptake, Gary Wood, co-chairman of Strathie Sharks is confident it has all the ingredients to make the academy a success.
Buoyed by the number of new players joining an existing stalwart of Strathie players, Mr Wood said the club has an opportunity to expand through the academy.
He said that with such a strong base of existing players and coaches the club was in a great position to grow a strong youth club which would eventually feed into the senior side.
“Rugby develops many key skills in the young players,” he said.
“Teamwork is vital for success and the real strength at Strathie is the team spirit evident across the club.
“As coaches it is a privilege to watch the players build in confidence individually as well as in teams.”
Strathmore Rugby has grown from strength to strength over recent years and fields strong teams across all age groups.
In June 2017 the Strathmore Rugby Club Community Trust was formed which works in partnership with Strathmore RFC, Brechin RFC, the Scottish Rugby Union and the Scottish Rugby League and is based out of Strathmore Rugby Club in Forfar.
The Trust will increase playing numbers and ability by developing players, coaches and volunteers through a series of programmes and projects around promoting the positive ethos and values of rugby, improving health and giving back to the community.
Details of the rugby academy are available through Webster’s High School, Forfar Acadamy and Brechin High School.
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the rugby club and we will be looking for opportunities to set up similar partnerships as the year progresses to provide more opportunities for pupils.
“In addition to our partnership with the rugby club, there are also plans in place to work with Carnoustie Links Golf, Grove Menzies Hill Hockey club and a number of other local groups.”