SCOTTISH RUGBY has confirmed the identity of the four academy players who will be loaned out to Stade Niçois this season as part of the governing body’s partnership agreement with the French third tier club.
Former Scotland Under-20s and Scotland 7s scrum-half Kaleem Barreto, who played last season with Glasgow Hawks in the Tennent’s Premiership, is the fourth Scottish player to be added to the French club’s roster. He came off the bench with 15 minutes to go in the team’s 7-35 victory over Castanet Tolosan in their first match of the league season on Sunday.
Barreto joins former Boroughmuir prop Ross Dunbar. who was unveiled by the club back in June, plus former Currie Chieftains second-row Hamish Bain and former Boroughmuir back-row Archie Erskine, who both played for the Federale One club last season.
“Our performance partnership with Stade Niçois supports the development of our players on and off the field with them having to establish themselves in a completely different rugby environment and culture to what they are used to,” said Scottish Rugby Technical Director Stephen Gemmell.
“The nature of the game in France provides a real challenge for our players and it is great that we are able to provide this opportunity for the four players for the forthcoming season.
“It is also exciting to be able to second Chris to the club to not only support his continued professional development but to also help the club and our players to achieve their aspirations moving forward.”
Barreto said that he hopes the move will help progress his career after training virtually full-time with Glasgow Warriors last season without getting on the park in a competitive game, before appearing to be leap-frogged in the scrum-half pecking order when 18-year-old Jamie Dobie signed a full-time contract with the Scotstoun outfit in April.
“We’ve seen a couple of players return from Stade Nicois and have gone on to have success with their professional clubs so I’ve had a bit of an insight as to the challenges and what to expect in Nice,” said the player. “I’ll be putting a lot of onus on my skills development. In French rugby, there is a great reliance on the scrum-half and game management so I’ll be looking to developing my decision-making skills. I’m excited for the challenge ahead.”
Scottish Rugby established their partnership with Stade Niçois in 2017 and has placed a number of players there during the last two years, including Bruce Flockhart, who is now a full-time member of the Glasgow Warriors squad, and Josh Henderson, who will play Super6 with Stirling County next season having been part of the Scotland 7s set up last season.