AFTER a buoyant start to the season for youth rugby at Lomond Helensburgh, the organisation is keen to help more young players on their journey in the sport.

The senior youth sides sit joint top of their conferences after comprehensive victories away to Cumnock and Hills Rugby, while the younger players are honing their skills and developing fast.

Now Ian Smith, Helensburgh Youth Rugby youth convenor, is calling on more young people to get involved – especially girls. He told the Advertiser: “Anne Young, Joy Fletcher and Lucy McCrae all started their extremely successful rugby careers at Ardencaple for Helensburgh RFC.

“We have a new development officer and two trainee development officers who will be actively involved within the community and schools. We are continually investing in coaching staff, equipment and club facilities. Rugby has a position for you irrespective of your ability, come along to Thursday training sessions from 5.30pm with a pair of boots and a mouthguard.”

Appointment of the development and trainee development officers marks another step forward for the organisation as it looks to engage with the younger generation. Ian acknowledged that getting involved in rugby isn’t always without its bumps in the road – but said the rewards are more than worth it.

He continued: “Success does not come easy. These results are endeavours of many hours of commitment and training.

“They say it takes 10,000 hours to master something and we only get to coach young people for a few hours each week. Many of our squad players have a strong bond and will take it upon themselves to organise a training session or kicking practice, often mixing ages and bringing the older or younger brother.

“This is why coaches continually plan ahead for training and matches. We give them the tools and idea to foster their creativity. These are the players who see rugby as way of life and the friendships it can bring. Some see rugby as recreational outlet where they can shine and escape the digital world of online gaming or study.”

Ian added: “Post-pandemic, we have both gained players who have never seen or picked up a rugby ball. These players have grown in confidence and stature, they soak up information and guidance – it helps that they have not gained any bad habits after years of playing.

“Seeing your name in newspaper print still holds attraction too. These are the features that grandparents cut out and add to a scrap book; team photos that in many years the squads will look at and laugh, at hairstyles and boot choices.

“Along the way, we have lost some players too. We wish them well and their squad will always welcome them back with open, muddy arms.”

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