Health of Youth Rugby in Scotland

Part 1 Caledonia – Midlands

In a bid to assess the health of Club rugby in Scotland, I’ve started to review where Club youth sections are at. This is building on the work last season to monitor match fulfillment rates in youth & schools and senior 1st xvs.

I’m having to pull together data from various sources, so I’ve broken it down by Region, starting off with Caledonia – Midlands, to give a baseline.

Within Calie Midlands there appears to be only five Clubs with youth sections capable of entering this seasons national conferences (that’s teams at Under 13, U14, U15, U16 and U18). These Clubs are Dundee, Perthshire, Dunfermline, Livingston and Stirling County.

In addition there are a number of Clubs who have teams at some of these age groups, but I’ll focus on Under 18 as this is a crucial age for helping the development of senior rugby sections. Those with an Under 18 team entered in the T4 Caledonia league are: Kirkcaldy, Falkirk, Montrose & District, Madras and Glenrothes.

Following the launch of the schools leagues, a number of Clubs are now reducing their emphasis on youth sections, so I’ve also included some numbers from these. In the national schools conference, Bell Baxter, Glenalmond College, High School of Dundee and Linlithgow Academy are entering the T1-3 schools conferences.

No doubt there are other schools entering into the T4 schools competition but these fixtures aren’t published so no external view can be taken on how these are running. Personal experience also shows that schools struggle to field Under 18s, so if a school isn’t in the National Competition, I fear many will not have U18s at T4 level.

If we take Under 18s as an indication of the health of junior Club rugby, what does it tell us about the health of Club rugby?

Across Calie – Midlands, it looks like we have 29 Rugby Clubs (I’m excluding Universities & colleges) and they have access to approximately 78 feeder high schools, but they can muster only ten Under 18 teams to enter into the official SRU Club competitions.

The Caledonia Midlands region covers eight local authorities with a joint population of approx. 1.1m (one fifth of the Scottish population).

It’ll be interesting to see if this is indicative of the other regions within Scottish Rugby.

Please do let me know if any of the data used in this breakdown is inaccurate.

Local Authority

Population

No. of High Schools

Rugby Clubs

Clubs with full youth sections

Clubs with Under 18s

Dundee
City

148k

9

Panmure
Dundee HSFP
Morgan Academy
Harris Academy
Stobswell

Dundee

Dundee

Angus

117k

9

Carnoustie
Arbroath
Strathmore
Montrose
& District

Montrose & District

 

Perth & Kinross

149k

15

Kinross
Perthshire
Crieff
& Strathearn
Blairgowrie

Perthshire

Perthshire

Fife

367k

19

Fife & Southern
Dunfermline
Kirckaldy
Glenrothes
Waid
Madras
Howe of Fife

Dunfermline

Dunfermline
Kirckaldy
Glenrothes
Madras

Stirling

94k

7

Stirling County
Bannockburn St Modans

Stirling

Stirling

Clammananshire

51k

3

Hillfoots
Alloa

Falkirk

35k

5

Falkirk
Grangemouth
Linlithgow
Bo’ness

 Falkirk

West
Lothian

180k

11

Livingston

Livingston

Livingston

Updated 25/08/17 for inclusion of Falkirk U18s