WHEN one of Scotland’s top private schools decided to pull the plug on rugby fixtures for its younger members, it sent a ripple of apprehension round clubs who rely on schools to provide players for its senior teams, writes Jack Nixon.
Glenalmond School has made it clear it views the recent crop of injuries in junior games with enough concern to seriously consider reviewing its policy of playing the game against other schools.
The rugby fraternity will view such a step with concern, as it could seriously affect the playing of the game in Scotland.
But in Ellon, Steve Park the former captain and coach of one of the great success stories of North-east sport, said: “While it is only right we should be concerned about games in which there is a serious mis-match of players, it would be an over-reaction to stop games being played between schools where the age groups are the same.
“I would urge school staff to take a common sense approach.
“It would be tragic if rugby were not played in schools, particularly at Glenalmond which produced one of our best and most competitive Scottish captains.”
Steve, now one of the backroom staff at the area’s top club Aberdeen Grammar, added: “David Sole was a legend, and a great role model for our youngsters.
“I just hope the issue can be talked through and resolved.”
Park’s view was shared by former Allan Rae, a former player with Border side Kelso, but now retired from the game, and living in Newburgh.
He said: “Rugby is a contact sport, and very much part of the culture in which I was brought up in the Scottish Borders.
“It would be criminal not to play at school level, though I think the laws of the game concerning the scrum need to be looked at again.
“This is after all where most of the injuries occur.
“Hopefully common sense will prevail.”
Glenalmond (formerly Trinity College, Glenalmond) is a co-educational independent boarding school in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, for children aged between 12 and 18 years. It is situated on the River Almond near the village of Methven.