A NEW season beckons for Helensburgh Youth Rugby – and the club is looking to hit the heights with its talented crop of youngsters.

Following the summer break, the club’s squads have returned to strength and conditioning training as the prepare for the months ahead.

Investment in the clubhouse and coaching staff have combined to help Helensburgh Youth Rugby through the challenging circumstances of the pandemic – and the hope is to continue moving forward.

The under-18 side has a friendly with local rivals Loch Lomond at Dillichip on August 21. All the youth squads then kick off the conference season on August 27 with a match against Strathendrick.

Helensburgh Rugby Club Aug 2022 Under 15s

Helensburgh Rugby Club Aug 2022 Under 15s

The 18s bolstered by a strong contingent from last year’s 16s boast an enviable playing squad, however paper squad numbers are not equating to training numbers and now is the time to get off the sofa and back on the field. Paul Reaney leads an experienced coaching staff of Alan Devenny, Tamara Chamberlain, John Penniston and Stewart Tacchi.

This year’s under-16s have been joined by last year’s 15s contingent but the side needs new recruits; a bare playing squad leaves coaches Ian Smith and Pete Kemp praying for no injuries. A number of players will be trailing new positions this year. Seven of last year’s under-16s are playing age grade rugby and have committed to a season to help mentor and develop the squad.

Elsewhere, Iain Mackay leads the under-15s with Leigh Swanson and the pair will be looking to build on last year’s success and continue the fine form into the 2022-23 season. There is a large playing squad Iain and Leigh are unafraid to try different combinations and player trials in different positions.

Helensburgh Rugby Club Aug 2022 Under 16s

Helensburgh Rugby Club Aug 2022 Under 16s

It is thought S1 and S2 may merge into one squad and play age rugby to fulfil their fixtures, led by Craig Dunlop, of Lomond School, and Paul McClearn, both highly experienced in grass roots rugby.

Ian Smith, youth convenor, told the Advertiser the club is looking ahead with optimism – but called on more people to lend a hand in a bid to help nurture the next generation of rugby players.

He said: “Volunteer numbers are low – it’s the same parents who continually volunteer. We provide rugby to more than 150 youth players every training and matchday.

“Your coaching staff cannot do it all. We cannot run the line, referee, coach and do first aid. If everyone volunteered just once you would be called upon less than once a season.”

To get in touch contact Helensburgh Rugby Club on Facebook or speak to any member of the coaching team.