Caledonia Reds and the South step up preparation for Inter District Championship

Tournament will come out of hibernation next month

Colin Sangster addresses the Caledonian Reds squad during Sunday's training camp at Strathallan School.
Colin Sangster addresses the Caledonian Reds squad during Sunday's training camp at Strathallan School.

PREPARATION for the revived Inter-District Championship for club players began in earnest last week with both Caledonia Reds and the South holding training camps ahead of the competition kicking off next month.

Unlike the original championship, this year’s tournament is to be played on a knock-out basis with the South hosting Edinburgh at Netherdale in Galashiels on Tuesday 9th May (7pm kick-off) and Caledonian Reds hosting Glasgow & The West at Canal Park in Inverness on Saturday 13th Mat (3pm kick-off). The Final and third/fourth place play-off will be played on Sunday 21st May at GHA’s Braidholm ground.

The Caledonia Reds camp was held at Strathallan School on Sunday with strength & conditioning coach Darrell Russell of Strathmore putting the squad through their paces ahead of a double rugby session led by head coach Colin Sangster alongside assistants Kevin Wyness, Sam Mountain and Junior Bulumakau.

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Following the session, the co-captains for the Championship were announced. They are Harry Russell of Falkirk and Shaun Blair of Highland.

An extended squad will take on the Army in Scotland at Duffus Park in Couper on Saturday. Kick Off is 3pm. Entry is £5 for adults while under-18s will get in for free.

Meanwhile, a South squad consisting of 39 players trained together for the first time last Wednesday,

The team’s backroom staff has been confirmed, with Dr Morag Robertson, who is from Hawick and worked with the South in their games against Caley prior to the Covid lockdown, leading the medical side of things. The physios are Caitlin Connell and Johann van Kessell who both work with Gala and Douglas Whitson who works with Kelso. Gary Muir from Hawick is the team manager and Ewen Swinton is operations manager.

Edinburgh, who have had leadership meeting and a team building night, will train together for the first time next Monday, while Glasgow & The West are holding their first session this week.

All four initial training squads are listed HERE.

Coaching teams and fixture details unveiled for Inter District Championship

About David Barnes 3911 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. An individual coach at my hometown club (I won’t humiliate him/her by naming) completely discrimates age in the fact that they’ll always discard the so called ‘older, used up’ players for the younger…. I’ve no issue with this IF the younger player is more talented and has proven so at senior level. From my past going through the system, we always relied and were very greatful to have had the older, more experienced heads in our team to get us through season upon season.

    Bottom line is regardless of age… if you have the ability to be playing to a district standard level then you deserve your selection and no person should be in a position to question it.

    Fine example is Mike Brown…. arguably playing the best rugby of his career through sheer hard work and determination to hit back at the critics who said he was done. You’re never done until you say you’re done!

    • John Anderson – the younger player will never prove himself if he is not given adequate opportunity. This is two games , it’s meaningless as the sides don’t all play each other so really doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things – why go with players that have been there and done it already. Breathe a bit of life into the process by making it for an emerging player group. It’s not just about winning , it’s also about growing the game and a coaches obligation is not just to win it is to develop players. There is a large number of players in this squad that could probably play at a higher level , say Super 6 , but instead decide to remain at club rugby and in doing so create a bottleneck for player development by stopping younger players coming through and gaining experience , this South selection is just an extension of that. There are loads of young players that would gain from the exposure this exercise would provide and they should be prioritised over this “ageing” group.

      • Is the Scottish Cup meaningless because everyone doesn’t play everyone? I guarantee you that it won’t be meaningless for the players and coaches. Super 6 is a development competition and it would appear to me that plenty more young players are now getting their opportunity there precisely because so many more experienced players have chosen to return to club rugby. If anything your point is contradictory as you appear to suggest that many of these “ageing” players should instead be playing in Super 6. The South squad will do the district proud and it’s fantastic to see the boys selected getting their chance to pull on the red and white jersey which has only been played in 4 times in the last 20 years by the way.

  2. Personally , in a number of cases , I don’t think this selection does reflect the best players in the district, certainly not from the club games I have seen this season. Where is the logic in repeatedly picking aging players , many of whom have already experienced playing for the South rather than maybe an U25 selection that allows us to see the next generation of players. Keeping this experience for the same group of players does little to encourage keeping the legacy of the South alive in the younger players coming through – it actually just starts to look like a vets team that is difficult to break into, and let’s be clear with this ageing selection it is close to a vets team in its current form. Is that what the South wants to be viewed as ?

    • If you believe there are better players who have been overlooked that’s fair enough, we’re all entitled to our views on that. On paper the squad is very strong regardless. But to suggest a player isn’t worthy of selection based on his date of birth is a nonsense in my eyes, discrimination in fact. If they’re good enough they are old enough, or indeed young enough. The coaches job is to win and they have picked a side accordingly.

  3. I appreciate it is a reward for the best players in our club game but the old districts not only did that but it was a stepping stone for further honours. I wish it was being held in December with the reward of a club international cap at the end of it against Ireland or another home country.

  4. The age profile of the South team is ridiculous , far too many players late 20’s / over 30 for me, indeed only about 6 out of the 39 are under 25. Why would it be necessary to pick so many players who have already played for the South as opposed to picking new blood. Can’t see the logic at all in picking a 39 year old Bruce McNeill, what’s the point ? No doubting he’s a canny rugby player but why pick him over giving a young lad a chance. There are many others in this squad that I would ask the same question…
    Also a squad of 39 and a huge support team team consisting of two managers , 4 coaches for 2 games ? again why ?
    To me selection looks like an old pals act with so many of the players having played for the South before. I personally would have like to have seen the Inter District Championship as an under 25 event to allow some of the younger club players the opportunity to showcase their skill set and hopefully experience the opportunity of playing for the South.

    • What on earth are you on about? It’s for the best players in their district, whatever their age. If anything it’s just reward for the loyalty and longevity of some of these outstanding servants of Borders rugby. More power to them! Good luck one and all.

    • Have to disagree. This is about picking the best players in a region to play and age shouldn’t matter. it’s a firing reward for any player who has played well over the season irrespective of their age

  5. Great that the Districts are taking the competition seriously. They have been missed.


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