Scotsman covers rugby training series for Edinburgh’s Telford College
Former professional rugby player, Robert Chrystie, has teamed up with two of his former team-mates, Chris Paterson and Gregor Townsend, to lead the Rugby Performance Course (RPC) at Edinburgh’s Telford College.
The course aims to ensure talented teenagers who have not yet won a pro contract continue to develop and push their claims.
Chrystie said: “One of the strengths of the course is also the fact that we ensure the boys play rugby every week with their own club.
“They learn and develop a lot at college, and the involvement of Gregor and Chris and the other players and coaches that come along is huge—But to really develop well you have to be playing the game regularly.
“For me, as a former pro, the great thing is seeing an avenue in Scotland for keeping talented players in the game and continuing their all-round education.
“I know how tough it is to make it to pro-level in Scotland, and there were three pro teams when I started.
“Now with only two teams, with the best will in the world it’s impossible to give all the young talents an opportunity to step up, never mind compete with England where they have ten times the number of Academies.”
The full-time course is a week long, and requires the students to mix strength, conditioning, speed training, and to study physiological studies, injuries, and massage along with other more academically-focused classes.
Five years ago, former Scotland A players Murray Craig and Robert Chrystie launched the program with input from a range of coaches involved in club and professional games, both on the rugby side and in physio and sports medicine.
The Scottish game is littered with stories of talented teenagers who have been passed over at the age of 18 or 19 for various reasons, but who many believed had the ability to become internationalists.
After a year or so at RPC, young rugby stars are given a second chance to be picked up by an academy, and renew their dreams of wearing a professional jersey some day.
The RPC at Edinburgh’s Telford College aims to help individuals reach their full potential within a physically demanding sport, and improve the Scottish reputation for rugby in general.
Edinburgh’s Telford College provides a wide range of career-related programmes to help learners progress into work or University education. Currently the College has around 17,000 students and 600 members of staff.