Goals for the Season
- Main goal was to finish in the top 4 of BT National League Division 3
- Further develop their affiliation with The Royal High school and aim to bring in other juniors who can then feed the senior set up.
- Mid Season goal – focus on staying in the league this year and build for next season!
RHC Cougars have had a rather slow start to the season by their standards. They’ve enjoyed some great results but also had, in the words of Club president, Douglas Cross, ‘some shockers.’
Yet, from what we gathered there isn’t any negative vibes surrounding the RHC Cougars camp – they’re just more determined to turn their season around.
Last season was their first year in the BT National League Division 3 and they finished 4th, 6 points off the top!
So, at the start of this season, their main aim was to replicate that…however things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for them this season. Currently they sit in 9th position.
RHC Cougars have seen lots of young guys come into the senior squad from their junior sections with one or two shooting straight into the first team.
It’s great to see a Club trusting and believing in their youth players and giving them a genuine chance at senior level.
However, the swift transition from juniors to seniors came as a result of them losing some experienced and long-standing Players, due to individuals deciding to hang up their boots or people moving away from the area.
Experience can be vital for any sport’s team and so it is no wonder they have found this season a little more difficult given the number of Players they lost!
Their squad sizes vary on training nights and Saturdays but they usually get 2 teams out every week.
Juniors and Squad Selection Pools
The Club have an affiliation with The Royal High School and look after the Rugby programme for the school through their Development Offer.
As Douglas told us, the whole point of the Club merger (between Royal High RFC and Corstorphine RFC) was to create a feeder system for the newly formed Club.
Not only has the affiliation with the school done that, but also it has offered many kids with the chance to play Rugby both at Club and school level.
However, as we all know, things aren’t always as simple as they seem. Many of the guys come out of school and then disappear halfway across the country to university, so although there is the affiliation it’s hard to combat the career paths of young graduates!
Although they may not see as many kids making the transition into their senior team, it’s great that they offer the coaching within the schools and encouraging people to start up rugby.
Club Social Activity and Local Community Engagement
Social activity for this Club can become difficult as it effectively still has two ‘homes.’
As Douglas stated, ‘A Club is only as strong as it’s lowest team!’ RHC Cougars used to put out 3 teams with the 3rd team offering more social rugby, it is harder to drive standards as the 2nd team is a real mix of guys looking for a social game and those pushing o play 1st team rugby
In terms of community engagement, they organise a Community 7s tournament for kids to play in! ‘It’s rugby, but it’s not serious rugby, with fun being the key element!’
The drear January weather has had negative effects on a number of Clubs throughout the UK! Keswick RFC, with whom RFC Cougars play in the annual Corwick Trophy, were battered by the disastrous weather and so RHC Cougars decided to help them out by going #bawsdeepforKeswick! They have raised over £1000 for the Keswick flood fund, which is a brilliant effort! A fantastic story that highlights the community aspect within rugby!
We asked Douglas about his views on the state of grassroots rugby within the UK and if he believed there was an area that needed immediate attention.
‘The SRU talk about funding grassroots rugby. The best thing they could do, I would say, is introduced fully paid Development Officers across the country! They should be investing heavily in Development Officers and providing them with the relevant and necessary platform from which they can do an effective job. We have a fantastic DO and are really seeing the benefits.’
We wish RHC Cougars the best of luck with the rest of their season and hope that they achieve their goal of remaining in BT National League Division 3.