Monday 13 January 2014

Programme Notes - London Scottish, 11 January

Welcome to Raeburn Place

As this is our first game of 2014, let me start by wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Today we welcome London Scottish, their President, Rod Lynch, CEO, Kenny Baillie, and supporters to Raeburn Place for our British and Irish Cup match. A big thanks and welcome also to our match officials - referee Mr Nigel Correll (IRFU), assistants Messrs James Matthew and Stephen Hart, and Fourth Official Mr Willie Anderson - for without them there would be no game.

This is our penultimate B&I Cup game - we are at Pontypridd next week - and it has been a difficult run. Full professional squads against amateurs supported by a few Edinburgh pros (when available), is a big challenge. Our players have enjoyed the experience and have had a glimpse of what is required to progress in the game. We will not give up and Scottish can be sure of a hard game today.

Both clubs’ histories are intertwined with players who have worn the Sky Blue and White hoops of Accies and the Navy Blue of Scottish. One of the first, and one of the more famous, was the legendary Bill Maclagan, who left Accies for Scottish in 1880 and became their captain the following season, a position he held for 5 years. He went on to captain the first official British (Lions) touring team in 1891before returning north and becoming our President from 1905-08.

This is an 'interesting' time for rugby in Scotland - talks of an eight team ‘Super League’ (though Scottish Rugby's proposal is somewhat less solid than the current Murrayfield playing surface); the likely demise of the European Cup from this season and its funding implications; and the rumour that HQ staff are having lessons so they can communicate to their pro teams in their preferred language - Afrikaans – ‘Wat is jou naam?!’

For Accies, the SRU's ‘The Way Forward 2016 and Beyond Policy Initiatives’, which covers five initiatives: Academies, Coaching Pathways, Clubs, Schools and The Women's Game, is occupying our minds. There’s much we can agree with, but the paper on a semi-pro club ‘Super League’ lacks any basic information - or perhaps understanding. There was no consultation with the clubs and we have sent our feedback to the Premiership Forum.

As for the future, whatever happens we will continue to deliver our ‘Mission 2021’, which supports the SRU initiatives. With the combination of our Minis and our partners Edinburgh BATs, we have around 250 boys involved in playing weekly, with BATs working in 16 schools throughout north Edinburgh and running rugby at Broughton HS, as well as the Accies Centre of Excellence (‘ACE’) and our Development XV. We believe our performance pathway provides the appropriate environment for continuous player and coach improvement – Minis, BATs, The Academy, ‘ACE’ and the Development XV - and thereafter on to our 2nd XV, 1st XV and beyond!

I hope you all enjoy your visit to Raeburn Place, the 'cradle of rugby football in Scotland' and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

John Wright, President EAFC

Coach's Comments

We are very much looking forward to our return B&I Cup fixture against our old friends and rivals London Scottish. Our B&I Cup ‘journey’ has been a massive learning experience and one that I feel the Club as a whole has benefitted from. Both on and off the field, mixing it up with the professional sides has allowed us to see how far we have come as a club and how far we need to go!

From a coaching and playing perspective, the B&I Cup has taught us valuable lessons. Most notably, rest and recovery and mental preparation have been identified as fundamental elements to improving performance at this level. The B&I experience has also demonstrated, at times, the quality and potential of our talented squad. Highlights so far include: Ruairidh Bonner’s side step, hand off and burst to the line to score a great try down at The Richmond Athletic Ground; in the same match, Alex Allan finishing an excellent sweeping move that started in our own 22; Jamie Farndale’s try (after an excellent lineout drive) at Old Deer Park was also very pleasing; and finally the dogged and tenacious defence in awful conditions in December’s home game against London Welsh.

However, we would like to finish on a real high. This afternoon’s game sees us blend hardened pro players, ‘up and coming’ pros and our own amateur club players. Both Malcy and I have been very impressed with each Edinburgh player who has come down to the Club. We see this as a two-way process whereby our club players can benefit from training and playing with the pros and the pros in turn get closer to the club game.

We are expecting a tough and physical game against a London Scottish team that will look to counter attack through their exciting back three. Their powerful pack will also put us under pressure, so we must match them physically while looking to play with ball in hand when in the right areas of the pitch.

I hope you enjoy the game today.

Jonny Else Head Coach, EAFC

View from the Touch Line

May I wish you a somewhat belated happy New Year and also a warm welcome for what is the first of our home matches in 2014 and the last of the B&I Cup matches at Raeburn Place. And may I especially welcome our visitors, who have travelled from London, for what is the first game between our respective clubs at RP for a long time.

Many of us will have happy memories of great Boxing Day encounters between Accies and London Scottish which were epitomised by the superb A F McHarg of West of Scotland and London Scottish fame. Alastair, who was capped 44 times by Scotland, loved nothing more than rampaging around RP – on and off the pitch! In today's far more open and less turgid game he would be in his element.

Following the publication, before Christmas, of the SRU's latest strategy document - 'The Way Forward 2016 and Beyond Policy Initiatives' - 5 working parties are being set up covering Schools, Women, Coaching, Academies and Clubs. The Premiership Forum has been invited to send representatives to the Clubs’ Working Party. It is anticipated that these working parties will report back by March and that the decisions reached will be put into effect from season 2014-15. There has been lots of chat in the press about a new 8 team semi-pro (whatever that means!) ‘Super League’. Who knows what we will end up with, but it is vital that Accies finish in the top 8 this season to ensure that we are at the top table whatever happens!

Finally, in this our 156th season, I hope that you enjoy a superb game of fast, free flowing rugby this afternoon and, dare I say it, an Accies victory! And it goes without saying - no matter the result - lots of liquid refreshment and good banter in the clubhouse bar with our ‘Scottish’ friends!

Vincent O’Donoghue

Edinburgh BATs Rugby

RUGBY FOR ALL ….. in the North Edinburgh Community

May I wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope you had a fantastic festive period; judging by our U18’s training last Saturday morning many of the players certainly did!

Although it is only the second week in January, our BATs teams are well and truly ‘mobilised’ for the remainder of season 2013/2014 with training for our U16 and U18 teams starting last Saturday and continuing on Wednesday evening. Our U18’s are scheduled to play Murrayfield Wanderers today in the Edinburgh and Lothian’s Regional Cup and our U16’s are playing Dalkeith in a rearranged Edinburgh and Lothian’s League game on Sunday. Also, on Sunday our S1 side are making the trip to Melrose hoping to keep their great start to the season going.

BATs are starting up an S2 side on 19th January at Raeburn Place. We will be gathering at 11.30am and players will have the opportunity to join/sign up to the team and take part in a training session. We will be looking to pick up fixtures for the S2 side as the season progresses. If this is something that interests you, or your son, please feel free to get in touch on the information below or feel free just to turn up on the 19th Jan.

A massive ‘thank you’ must go to Hamilton and Inches for their continued support of BATs - the U16 and S1 sides will be receiving a new set of strips in the New Year thanks to them.

BATs Training Times:

  • BATs U16 and U18 squads train on Wednesday evenings @ Raeburn Place from 6.30-7.30pm
  • BATs S1 & S2 sides train on Sunday mornings @ Raeburn Place from 10.30-12.00 noon
  • BATs P6 & P7 sides train on Sunday mornings @ Raeburn Place from 10.30-12.00 noon

 If you would like to join and play for BATs or volunteer and help BATs in any way - be it coaching, fund-raising or just joining the committee - please contact Iain on the contact details below.

Finally good luck to Broughton RFC, Trinity Accies RFC in there league fixtures this weekend and of course Edinburgh Accies who play London Welsh at Raeburn Place.

The BATs are the future of rugby in the community……… and that future is bright.

BATs Web: click; Twitter: click  

Iain Berthinussen, Rugby Development Officer, 0783 469 2823;

EAFC Minis Rugby

A very Happy New Year from the Minis section of the Club to all those playing and supporting today and a special mention to our P4 minis who will be providing the Guard of Honour today.

The Minis go into 2014 full of enthusiasm after the Christmas break and over the next 3 months have a full programme of tournaments and friendlies that will allow them to put into practice all those skills developed during training; I know how much the boys look forward to this and it’s great for all our coaches to see just how much the next generation of players enjoy these experiences.

The U13’s travel to Melrose tomorrow for what we hope will provide a challenging fixture for this talented squad of young players.

A very early ‘heads up’ for your diaries with regard to the Minis home tournament which will be held on the 16th March at Newfield. It would be great to see as many players and supporters from the senior club as possible to support the Minis section.

Best of luck to the 1st XV today for what is going to be a challenging fixture and a big RP welcome to all those travelling from south of the border to support our opponents.

Please refer to our website for up to date info: click here  

Remember, ANY player from ANY school is welcome to join the Accies Minis!

David Crawley, President, EAFC Mini Rugby, M 07715 555 005,


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