The SRU’s new Chief Executive Mark Dodson has said that one of his priorities following Scotland’s exit from the Rugby World Cup was to speak with schools in both the independent state sectors, with a view to establishing rugby as the country’s top school sport.
He said: “We are also going to be challenged on player numbers but what we have to do is bring better players with better skills through, and we are looking at that from a community perspective.
“The schools are important to us – all schools are important to us. I’m not interested in just going to schools that have always played rugby. I want to go to schools that have never played rugby, to working-class areas and drag kids out of comprehensives and just tell them what’s possible for them in this game.
“My ambition is to try and make rugby the preferred sport in most schools in Scotland and I think we have a fantastic chance while football is going through some difficult times. We have great values around the game of rugby, in terms of health, sport, discipline, community and we’ve got to get that message across because a lot of people are not even opening their mind to play rugby because we haven’t engaged with them in the past.
Dodson added: “Despite what’s happened in the World Cup this is the only sport where Scotland is globally competitive, as Scotland. Rugby is for everybody, not just a portion of society and we’ve got an opportunity to make it happen.
“We have to get through that noise of everything else that is happening in education at the moment in terms of delivery. How do we get in there and make sure kids are being coached properly? I’m not necessarily wanting them to be doing set-piece work, just running around with a ball in their hands and seeing if they can take people on, touch and pass and go.
“I’m happy with this universal attack on schools rugby to take baby steps, but it is very close to the new administration’s heart that we drive schools rugby forward.”