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Scottish Rugby scraps women’s under-20 team for new development programme

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Up to 50 female rugby players will be chosen to take part in Scottish Rugby’s (SRU) first Performance Development Programme after the axing of the women’s under-20 team.

Players aged between 16-20 have been chosen following a talent identification day, and they will go straight into the new programme.

After being split into two groups – with one team based in Edinburgh and the other in Glasgow – those chosen will benefit from tailored individual programmes and support from coaches, physiotherapists and strength and conditioning professionals to “raise the standard of the women’s game”.

The Performance Development Programme replaces Scotland Women under-20 team, which was scrapped following a review of the structure.

Sarah Dixon, the former Scotland Women international and sportscotland development officer, has been appointed as programme manager. Napier University rugby coordinator Ian Dryburgh will coach the Edinburgh-based squad, while Mark Senter will oversee those in Glasgow.

The players who excel in the programme are expected to then be fast-tracked into the Scotland Women squad. Scotland Women are 13th in the world rankings, behind the likes of the USA, Italy and Spain.

SRU head of women’s and girl’s rugby explained that the under-20 structure “wasn’t benefitting our players” and “work still needs to be done to reach high performance levels”.

“The programme will provide players with the tools to maximise their growth and potential,” she added. “They will work on individual skills and also take part in workshops on leadership and balancing rugby, education and their social lives.”

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Up to 50 female rugby players will be chosen to take part in Scottish Rugby’s (SRU) first Performance Development Programme after the axing of the women’s under-20 team.
SAR
Former Scotland international Sarah Dixon has been appointed as the programme manager / Kenny Smith/PA Archive/Press Association Images
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