Sunday 13 October 2013

Programme notes v Pontypridd, 12 Oct 2013

 ‘Croeso i Raeburn Place’

We have two firsts today - our very first B&I Cup game and the first time we will have played our famous Welsh visitors, Pontypridd RFC. So, a very warm welcome to Steve Reardon, CEO of Ponty Rugby, his management group, the Ponty players and their supporters - the best supporters in Wales!

We also welcome the referee, Steve Lee (RFU), his assistants, Iain Heard and Stephen Ward, and his fourth official, Ben Evans, for without them there would be no game. We hope Steve enjoys his visit to Raeburn Place, our ground since 1857 and the pitch the very first international was played on in 1871.

Since our game went fully professional nearly 20 years ago - when 'boot money' disappeared - clubs like Accies and Ponty found that they were stripped of their playing resources as the Unions’ 'nationalised' professional clubs took over. In our case, we lost over 20 top players, and had to rebuild. The days of having half a dozen current full internationals in our team were history - gone forever. There was only one way forward - that was to rebuild the playing base of the Club - and as it turned out the fabric as well!

We have a strong Minis section and a significant number of former and current Scottish internationals have come through the Club - indeed more than 10% of all Scottish international players have played for Accies. We have involved thousands of young people in rugby through our partners, Edinburgh BATs Rugby (est. 2005), delivering rugby to 20 schools in north Edinburgh via the regular curriculum, after school clubs, school teams and rugby camps. We have also set up BATs youth teams for 11 to 18 year olds.

We invested in coach development, built up to running four senior XVs all playing in the Scottish Leagues (we are the only club in Scotland with four senior teams), including an U20 XV (now our Development XV), ensuring up to 80 senior players who turn up to training get meaningful sessions.

Our latest initiative is the Accies Centre of Excellence or ‘ACE’, which started 18 months ago and is there to improve young players aged 14-20 and young coaches’ individual skills, nutrition etc.

We are moving in the right direction - reaching the B&I Cup was in our 'Accies Mission 2021' plan - it may have come a year or two earlier than the 'plan' but that shows how well we’ve done.

For the B&I Cup we have been 'allocated' 27 of the 54-strong Edinburgh pro squad and have been told that ‘some’ might be made available to us – only Alex Black and Lee Jones make the grade today! In our B&I Cup pool we will be coming up against some teams who are full time pros and, in London Welsh's case, were only recently relegated from the English Premiership. We see London Scottish have an annual budget of £1.5m - that's more than 10 times our annual rugby budget! It will be tough but we are here on merit, we are looking forward to it and will give it our best shot.

Finally, 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 make history today at Raeburn Place. Taking a break from the RBS Premiership, the Club plays its first ever game in the British & Irish Cup this afternoon, against another club with a proud and historic tradition, Pontypridd RFC. The excitement around our involvement in this year’s competition is palpable and has been mounting since we qualified last season. The players worked extremely hard over pre-season and into the start of this season to ensure they are ready to tackle this year’s competition.

We know that the B&I Cup will be a step up in terms of physicality and skill levels. We also know we are up against professional athletes. But, the players and coaches are motivated and determined to represent the Club with pride. We are ready to face this challenge head on, while ensuring that we impose our own game on the opposition, starting with Ponty today.

Player improvement is at the heart of everything we do. Using our links with Edinburgh University, the players have received specialist coaching to improve their strength and conditioning. Combined with the tactical and technical specialist coaching on a weekly basis, we are doing everything within our powers to ensure that each player is ready and prepared for this huge challenge.

Enjoy the game today – ‘efallai y bydd y tîm gorau yn ennill’ (may the best team win)!

Jonny Else, Head Coach, EAFC

Edinburgh BATs Rugby

RUGBY FOR ALL ….. in the North Edinburgh Community

As we head into the October holiday week, the U18 and U16 leagues have completed their first ‘phase’ and now split into 2 leagues, with league 1 consisting of the top sides and league 2 consisting of the bottom sides. Unfortunately, both our U18 and U16 sides are in the bottom league this year, although the players of both teams must be commended for their sterling effort over the past 3 months - these guys are certainly the future of the BATs Rugby Community.

Last week, BATs ‘graduates’ were involved in all 3 senior teams – 1 in the Broughton, 5 in the Trinity Accies and 7 in the Edinburgh Accies match day squads. This is certainly the way the BATs Rugby Community wants to continue and we have playing levels to cater for all needs.

Congratulations must also go to ex-BATs players, Sam Pecqueur and Jamie Farndale, on their inclusion in the first Scotland U20’s training squad for season 2013/2014, building up to the 2014 Six Nations and Junior World Cup. Ex-Edinburgh Academy pupil, Rory Simpson, and adopted Scot and Accies 2nd XV player, Declan Dinnen, were also included, so congratulations to all of them - the hard work starts now!

Next week, the BATs development team will be running their Annual October Rugby Camp on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th at RP from 10am – 4.30pm; if you are interested in attending, please contact myself on the details below. Cost is £10 for the two days or £15 if 2 or more come from the same family (a bargain!).

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 the club’s first ever B&I Cup game vs. Pontypridd 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

The Accies’ Minis section is now in full swing in terms of training and representing the club at Minis tournaments across the Edinburgh area. We have had some early season successes which is great reward for both the boys and coaches alike for all the hard work they put in. Of note, our P3’s have performed fantastically well, winning 9 out of their 10 games so far.

I’m particularly heartened by the numbers we have attracted down to training on Sunday mornings, as the future of the game depends on these youngster experiencing how rugby helps with their physical and emotional development. However, my biggest thanks and admiration goes not only to our coaches, but also to the thousands of volunteers across the country who give up their free time to help coach the next generation.

Today, the Accies’ Minis are proud to supply a P6 ‘guard of honour’ for the players and we all look forward to a rousing game of cup rugby. Good luck to the 1st XV against Ponty in what I hope is a memorable day for all supporters visiting Raeburn Place.

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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