School of hard rucks

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WILLIAMWOOD high school is making a name for itself in the rugby world, thanks to its impressive under-18 team.

Both captain Stewart McGillivray and coach Steven Bastock admit the school does not have a “rugby tradition”, but that hasn’t stopped the under 18s from reaching the semi-finals of the national bowl.

Last week, the plucky squad defeated Stornoway’s Nicholson Institute in the quarter finals and now face an away tie against Peebles.

Stewart, who, like many of the squad also plays for GHA rugby club, has been impressed with the team’s commitment to the cause.

He told The Extra: “We are training twice a week with the school, while the majority of the team also train twice a week with their club, as well as playing other sports such as basketball and football.

“It’s very hard to juggle everything. Playing club rugby has helped a lot though as a lot of the boys are already familiar with each other on the pitch, while GHA have been extremely supportive in terms of offering coaching and facilities”.

Coach Steven believes the club has encountered some difficulties along the way.

He said: “It can be hard to compete, the school doesn’t have pitches which meant we had to forfeit the plate competition.

“There is no training within curriculum time, unlike a lot of the other schools, so the success has come completely on the back of commitment from the players themselves outside of school hours”.

Mr Bastock has now started an S1 and S2 rugby club in a bid to continue the success of the senior players and try and help the sport grow in the school.

He added: “The players need more regular rugby, and that is difficult since there is no league in East Renfrewshire. However, this cup run has meant we have had more games than we would ordinarily, so there has been a greater level of continuity.

“This year, a lot of pupils who have not played rugby before, but are talented athletes, have joined the team and have made a significant impact, that is incredibly encouraging”.

Meanwhile, this week, the U16 side will have a chance to replicate their success, when they face Wick in the quarter-finals of the U16 bowl.