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By Euan Maxwell
Sport
Young rugby ambassadors sought
Scotland international Jamie Ritchie said grassroots rugby is the "heart and soul" of the game

A SEARCH is underway to find young rugby fanatics looking to revitalise their local club.

The Royal Bank RugbyForce competition, celebrating its 13th year in 2021, is reaching out to 18-35 year-old players in the region and across Scotland who think they can make a difference to the sport at grassroots level.

10 Young Ambassadors will be selected to receive a £500 grant from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to deliver a project of their choosing.

Each winning candidate will also receive specialist training and mentoring to develop key skills for day-to-day club management such as financial and social media capabilities and guidance on how to help their clubs attract members.

And as the programme seeks to ultimately get more young people into club boardrooms, it is also hoped that involvement in Scottish Rugby’s initiative will earn the youngsters positions on their club’s committee.

Scotland international star Jamie Ritchie, who began his career at Madras Rugby Club, Fife has shown his support for the campaign and said: “Grassroots rugby is the heart and soul of our game and as professional players, we all know how vital local clubs are in ensuring the future sustainability of the game. Away from the field, developing the next set of Young Ambassadors to take on that responsibility as community club leaders and role models is important as we look to grow our game and make rugby more accessible to as many people as possible. Rugby is for everyone and everyone should have a voice at their club.”

Furthermore, Royal Bank RugbyForce is continuing to provide funding — separate from the Young Ambassador programme — to grassroots clubs across the country, recognising that many continue to face unprecedented financial pressures in the wake of the pandemic.

Malcolm Buchanan, chairman of the Scotland Board at RBS said: “After an extremely challenging year for grassroots rugby across the country, we’re proud to be able to maintain our continued commitment to rugby in Scotland.

“Alongside the vital funding and practical assistance provided for clubs, this year we want to use Royal Bank RugbyForce as a catalyst for positive societal change through the Young Ambassador programme.”

Applications for funding and Young Ambassador nominations are open now and can be made via the Royal Bank RugbyForce website at: https://www.scottishrugby.org/clubs-and-schools/support-for-clubs/rugbyforce

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