Boroughmuir get their ducks in a row for life after Super Series

“While it won’t be the Bears any more, our commitment going forward is that the Boroughmuir 1st XV will be full of homegrown players too."

The immediate challenge for Boroughmuir Bears is their 'Sprint' clash against Ayrshire Bulls on Friday night, but the club in general is now looking ahead to life after the end of Super Series. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
The immediate challenge for Boroughmuir Bears is their 'Sprint' clash against Ayrshire Bulls on Friday night, but the club in general is now looking ahead to life after the end of Super Series. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

BOROUGHMUIR BEARS’ immediate focus is on Friday night’s home clash with Super Series Sprint leaders Ayrshire Bulls, but those involved with the overall club are also working hard to try and build a sustainable and exciting future at Meggetland post the part-time professional era.

With Super6/Series rugby set to come to an end in June after the Sprint competition, Boroughmuir and the other clubs who were awarded franchises at that level back in May 2018 are getting ready to adjust to life back solely in ‘clubland’.

While Boroughmuir’s ‘Club XV’ has slipped down to National Three over the last couple of years, a compromise agreement  means that the side will return to National One next season. It is not the outcome the Meggetland outfit were hoping for, and when news broke in March that they would not be place in the Premiership, a statement was released which relayed their “huge disappointment”, but since that day they have started to build for next season.


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They have announced that the vastly experienced Graham Shiel, the former Scotland cap and current Bears head coach, will be heading up their coaching going forward, and director of rugby Neill Wood is feeling positive about things while also aware there is a lot of work to be done to get ready for what is to come.

“When the news dropped that Super6/Series rugby was going to be stopped, it was a shock, but not completely unexpected to be honest and since that news and then the news of the leagues and where we will be playing next season we have all sat down and prioritised a few things,” he explained.

“One of the first things we focused on was getting the right coaching team in place and having someone as experienced and passionate as Graham agreeing to stay at the club and head that up is hugely exciting.

“He has learnt a lot from his time coaching the Bears in Super6/Series and from that we have built a good coaching structure throughout the club that is helping us produce young talent and also helping players reach their potential.

“We have seen homegrown players like Liam McConnell, Jerry Blyth-Lafferty and Ollie Blyth-Lafferty come through the youth ranks at the club and play for Scotland age-grade teams and earn Edinburgh Rugby academy contracts, and we want the next batch of youngsters to realise that they too can do that via Boroughmuir.

“Our target was always to produce a Bears team that was playing in Super6/Series full of guys who had come through at the club, and over the last five years a number of local guys have been given that opportunity and grasped it.

“While it won’t be the Bears any more, our commitment going forward is that the Boroughmuir 1st XV will be full of homegrown players too and that is exciting for all involved.”

 

 

One thing Boroughmuir have done in recent times is invest time and money in their physical literacy programme.

“Working on all aspects of physical literacy, including strength & conditioning, is going to be a key thing going forward for any young talent,” Wood explained.

“To be fitter, faster, stronger and meet the challenges that are to come whether that be in the club game or beyond, all athletes have to really work on that side of things and at Boroughmuir we believe we can really help them in that aspect.

Alex Toolis, our academy and performance manager, and Richie Lockhart, the director of youth rugby, do a great job heading all of that up.

“The Bears academy will continue even after the Sprint finishes, while we have a player development programme for players aged 16 to 18, and younger players than that have physical literacy programmes set for them so they can constantly keep improving.

“We have good links with local schools in the area, while the facilities at Meggetland and Canalside, the clubhouse, are really community hubs so we are always learning from other sports and other sports clubs around about best practice for talent development/

“And one of the best things in recent times has been the evolution of the Boroughmuir Banshees girls programme which has really been driven by Gillian Nimmo with help from Alex, growing from nothing into a thriving section very quickly.”

There’s a lot going on at Meggetland then with Wood’s job being to tie all of that together and make sure that there is a smooth transition into 2024-25 for all the various levels at the club.

“It is busy and we are not saying we are there yet, but what I see for Boroughmuir going forward is a bright future on and off the pitch,” Wood said.

“There are a lot of complex issues being worked through as rugby and rugby clubs in this country continue to change, but the reason I see a bright future is because Boroughmuir has a lot of good people involved who all have the club’s best interests at heart.

“It is a privilege for me to be director of rugby, but I am not doing things on my own and by working together we can keep driving Boroughmuir forward in these ever-changing times.”


Super Series: Boroughmuir Bears hope to bounce back against unbeaten Ayrshire Bulls

About Gary Heatly 462 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

7 Comments

  1. Still they’re still going on and moaning about their unprecedented and undeserved 2 league promotion! all this talk of home grown players is abit late, should have been thinking about that instead of focusing all their effort on their sub-par super six team

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    • Sub par team, Mark? The last three U20s captains have been Boroughmuir Bears. Bears have had the most U20 reps by a country mile since Super Series began. Boroughmuir are promoting youth, which is what it was all about. Clearly you believe success is all about winning. You are part of the problem, Mark. Back to your box now mate.

  2. They could make a start on refocusing on being a proper club responsive to their members by dropping the ridiculous ‘bears’ from their name.

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