Adam Ashe (Stirling County), Nick Campbell (Glasgow Hawks), Michael Doneghan (Stirling County), Finlay Gillies (Heriot’s), Stuart Hogg (Hawick), Rory Hughes (GHA), George Hunter (Glasgow Hawks), James Johnstone (Currie), Robert McAlpine (West Of Scotland), Murray McConnell (West Of Scotland) and Callum Templeton (Dumfries)
There are eleven newcomers are listed in Scottish Rugby’s Elite Development Player roster.
Within that group a quartet of players will be attached to the new full-time Sevens squad – the creation of which was announced at Scottish Rugby’s AGM last weekend. The specialist sevens contracted players who will form the backbone and will lead the squad will be announced next month.
Scotland under-20 openside flanker Hamish Watson (Leicester Tigers) and Scotland under-18 trio, backs Sam Hidalgo Clyne (Merchiston Castle School) and Rory Hughes (GHA) and No 8 Adam Ashe (Stirling County) will have a primary focus on the abbreviated game throughout their first year as EDP players.
Others to win selection to the EDP group for the first time are Exiles scrum-half Alex Black (Leeds Carnegie), winger Dougie Fife and stand-off Matt Scott (both Currie), Scotland under-18 duo winger Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Academy) and lock Callum Templeton (Dumfries) and Scotland under-20 lock Robert McAlpine (West Of Scotland) and Stewart’s-Melville hooker George Turner.
Scottish Rugby’s Head of Player Development, Stephen Gemmell, said: “Within the 24 players in the Elite Development group we have some whose focus will be on XV-a-side rugby and others who will be sevens focused because we believe that that will best assist their development as players.
“We’re also pleased that players who have been identified through the work of our development staff, Rob Brierley and Dave Butcher with the Scottish Exiles, namely Alex Black, Hamish Watson and Harry Leonard, are also very much part of our Performance Player Development Programme.
“Once again all players in the EDP will be immersed in the professional set-up so they will be training on a day-to-day basis with Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors.
“But equally importantly they will play club rugby if not selected for the professional teams and train with clubs on a Tuesday and Thursday night as we want them to be part of an integrated drive to raise standards throughout Scottish Rugby and it’s key that we work in tandem with the clubs to achieve this.
“A difference from last season is that the Scotland sevens management would have first call on the four players who have a specific sevens focus,” Gemmell added.
Beneath the 24-strong EDP group there are 27 Regional Academy Players, supported by the Area Institute of Sport network.
Gemmell noted: “We made it clear last year that we would be monitoring players in the Regional Academy very closely and that those who demonstrated the attributes to progress could be promoted to the Elite Development group.
“That happened last year with three players, Murray McConnell, Harry Leonard and Mark Bennett, and we will give those in the Regional Academy similar opportunities if they press their case this season.
“Players in the Regional Academies are also aligned to either of the pro-teams and, where appropriate, they will have some interaction with the pro-teams during the course of the season.”
Elite Development Players: Edinburgh
Alex Black (Leeds Carnegie), Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Academy), Dougie Fife (Currie), Grant Gilchrist (Stirling County), Sam Hidalgo Clyne (Merchiston Castle School), Robin Hislop (Boroughmuir), Gregor Hunter (Heriot’s), Harry Leonard (Boroughmuir), Colin Phillips (Stewart’s-Melville FP), Matthew Scott (Currie), George Turner (Stewart’s-Melville FP), Alun Walker (Currie) and Hamish Watson (Leicester Tigers)
Regional Academy Players
Ross Murray (Dollar Academy) and Shaun McDonald (Stirling County) – Central Institute of Sport; Alex Glashan (Edinburgh Academy), Alex Spence (Heriot’s), Blair Hutchison (Melrose Wasps/Longridge Towers), Chris Dean (Edinburgh Academy), Fergus Scott (Currie), Michael Crawley (Stewart’s-Melville FP), Neil Irvine Hess, Ramsey Young (both George Watson’s College), Robbie Wilson (Dunbar Grammar), Ruaridh Young (Musselburgh/Loretto), Russell Anderson (Langholm) – all East of Scotland Institute of Sport; Cameron Turner (Robert Gordon’s College), Duncan Campbell (Mackie RFC/Mackie Academy) – Grampian Institute of Sport; Andrew Redmayne (Dundee HSFP), George Horne (Howe of Fife) – Tayside and Fife Institute of Sport; Adam de Ste Croix (West Of Scotland), Chris Auld (Dumfries), Chris Barnes (Glasgow Hawks/HS of Glasgow), Darcy Rae (Kilmarnock/Marr College), Ewan Bulger (Ayr/Arran HS), Gavin Lowe (Ayr/Auchinleck Academy), Harry Walker (Glasgow Hawks/Glasgow Academy), Johnny Gray (Cambuslang/Calderglen HS), Magnus Bradbury (Oban Lorne) and Neil Herron (Jordanhill School) – all West Of Scotland Institute of Sport.