Borders clubs to have a voice at rugby conference

From left: Fraser Harkness (Selkirk 1st team), Gary Lyall (Selkirk Stormers), Scott Tough (Selkirk A), 'Arron McColm (Selkirk U-16's/SHS), Darren Knox (Selkirk Youth Rugby Club), Oliver Tomlinson (Selkirk Rhinos).
From left: Fraser Harkness (Selkirk 1st team), Gary Lyall (Selkirk Stormers), Scott Tough (Selkirk A), 'Arron McColm (Selkirk U-16's/SHS), Darren Knox (Selkirk Youth Rugby Club), Oliver Tomlinson (Selkirk Rhinos).

Representatives from rugby clubs and schools in the Borders will have a chance to have their say on how the local game is run.

A Conference on the Game will be held at Borders College on Sunday, January 26, and clubs and schools are being invited to send three representatives each along.

The idea was mooted at a recent Border League meeting and, after discussion with the Border Regional Forum clubs, it emerged that all the clubs and schools in the area see merit in holding the conference.

The agenda will cover youth rugby, refereeing, adult rugby, sevens and women’s rugby in the region.

The Border League secretary, John Thorburn, said: “We have already had a pretty good response to the idea of holding a conference and we are hoping to see representatives from all areas on the day.”

Thorburn added: “One of the main issues likely to be looked at is how to attract players to the game and keep them there all the way through to adult level.”

The Border League president, Chris Budzynski, said: “Everyone is looking forward to the day to discuss and debate all areas of rugby in the Borders.

“There are concerns currently at the number of referees that are available, youth rugby and second XV rugby to name a few, so the delegates will get the opportunity to address these areas and others on the day.”

One of the Borders’ most respected players, Selkirk’s Fraser Harkness, believes the conference has been a long time coming and shared his views on what he thinks the local clubs should be concentrating on.

“I think nearly every player and rugby supporter would have something to say at this meeting,” he commented.

“It’s a subject close to the hearts of many people in this area and a lot of players have been let down because of certain grey areas in the age group set-up over the years.

“That can’t be changed now, but we can change how it’s handled from now on.”

Border League representatives will meet next week before finalising details of the conference format.