Rugby club West of Scotland go into 2018 hoping to start reaping the benefits of their work to develop the sport in local schools.
For the past four years West have been working with pupils at Bearsden, Douglas and Boclair Academy, introducing them to and developing their interest in rugby.
And while it’s been a mixed season for the first XV on the pitch this season in terms of results, West president Allan Snedden believes the success of their schools programme shows the club’s future is in good hands.
He said: “We do a rugby development programme in the schools with kids from first year right up until they are 18, which is teaching them good habits of a fitness regime, weight training, what to eat, a whole programme of stuff.
“Next year will be the first time a whole batch of those kids will come through to play senior rugby and it will be interesting to see over the next few years how that helps us.
“A few years ago we sat back and said ‘what are we all about’ and came up with the idea that we should be far stronger in the community and helping to promote rugby at whetever level.
“I think that’s the way to go, to develop your own talent and see where that takes you rather than the stupidity of people throwing money about that they can’t afford.
“We’re exposing kids to a game that some of them have never even thought of playing and as a result of that there’s quite a few of them now coming down to the club.
“It’s giving the kids active sport and doing what I think the club should be all about, being a big part of the community rather than worrying overly about league position and winning trophies.”
Even before the first batch of development programme players come through, West’s existing policy of developing young talent means there are already plenty of youngsters getting their chance to shine in the first XV who currently sit in the bottom half of the BT National League 2 table.
Allan said: “We’ve got a lot of young boys in the squad.
“We’re producing our own players, we’re not flashing a chequebook at anybody, and there’s no point in getting upset about it.
“They’re learning and getting better every year.”