Youth rugby across Perthshire will be boosted by the Bill McLaren Voice of Rugby Dinner being held at Crieff Hydro next month.
Perthshire RFC’s award-winning youth policy will be supported by the black tie fundraiser on April 29, sponsored by local businesses Tan International and Campbell Dallas, which features Australian legend David Campese and former Scotland captains Rob Wainwright and Andy Nicol.
Grassroots rugby will benefit, with the Eagles working closely with local schools to nurture young talent. Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance and Morrison’s Academy are also being supported.
Three years ago, Perthshire RFC became a Positive Coaching Scotland accredited club, with the Foundation’s grant helping towards the cost of installing floodlights at the North Inch. The award also recognised the club’s strategy to foster key rugby union values of pride, respect and sportsmanship.
The Eagles’ development blueprint includes enhancing facilities at their strength and conditioning gym to enhance the physical development of youth players.
The impressive Perthshire set-up includes two senior teams, five teams at secondary school level and 10 mini rugby sides, under the guidance of director of rugby Andy Cummins and development officer Rory Mackay.
“We have made a big push on the coaching side and building a centre of excellence in Perth,” said Eagles president Allan Brown.
“Strength and conditioning is playing an ever increasing role in the development of young players and we are fortunate to be able to call upon experienced coaches.
“There is a pathway in place from the minis up to the first XV. But events like the Beer Festival and support from the Bill McLaren Foundation is vital because there are significant overheads.”
Alan Lawson, chief executive of the Foundation established in memory of the legendary commentator, said: “The Foundation has enjoyed great support from the Perthshire area and we are keen to continuing supporting local rugby.
“We are now looking to rolling out the second phase of Winning Scotland’s excellent positive coaching strategy, with the objective of introducing it to state schools.
“It is good to see the Scottish Rugby Union and Scottish Football Association working together, with SportScotland, encouraging kids to be the best they can be.”
Voice of Rugby dinner tickets, priced £75, are available from Andrew Ritchie at Cambell Dallas (tel 01738 441888) and John Thorburn (tel 07929 655132).