Roving Reporter: Local schools the target for Aberdeen Wanderers

The Groats Road club gave Jason White his first taste of rugby and now they are working hard to uncover another future Scotland captain

Aberdeen Wanderers Under-13s played in front of nearly 50,000 fans at half-time during the Guinness PRO14 Final at Celtic Park last month. Image courtesy: Aberdeen Grammar

ABERDEEN WANDERERS are plotting their way to the top of local rugby through an ambitious scheme to involve local schools in their already large under-age section.

Guy Mullinor, the club president, was delighted by the response the initiative had received. “The club has a tradition of attracting youngsters, going back to the time when Jason White, a former Scotland captain was a member of our youth section,” he pointed out. “Since then, we have been going further afield, and last month we ran a training session for four primary schools in the Westhill area which is about six miles away in Aberdeenshire. It was highly successful, and thanks to Freda Nicolson, the schools  co-ordinator, it’s an enterprise that will continue, especially encouraging is the fact the four schools are feeders to Westhill Academy. The future of youth rugby at the club looks good.”

The Groats Road club, which has been in existence since 1928, also has strong links with the nearby Hazelhead Academy where Wendy Parrott, another schools co-ordinator, has been instrumental in growing the game.

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The club’s Under-13’s recently won a competition run by the SRU and as a consequence were the guests of the governing body at the Guinness PRO14 Grand Final at Celtic Park, where they rubbed shoulders with Glasgow Warriors and Leinster.

“It was a great day out from them, raising the profile of the club, while giving the youngsters a close-up of the professional game at the highest level,” said Mulliinor.

The development of the youth section is designed in the long-term to bring greater success to the senior team, including a step up from Caledonia League One to National League Three, an ambition which has been underlined by the appointment of new head coach.

South African, Waldemar Van Heerden, will take up his post at the start of the 2019-20 season, and while his first objective will be to consolidate the club’s position in the top Caley League, Mullinor hopes Wanderers will eventually be able to follow in the steps of Orkney, Highland, Gordonians, and Caithness who have all been promoted in recent years to the national leagues.

“All four have done well, so why not Wanderers,” he concluded.

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About Jack Nixon 72 Articles
Jack is a Borderer, born in Langholm, and a graduate of Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh. He was a founder member of Livingston Rugby Club in 1968 and has been rugby correspondent for the Aberdeen Press and Journal since 1997. He has been going to Murrayfield man and boy since 1954!