A trio of Scotland’s brightest prospects are to embark on a life-changing rugby experience in South Africa as part of the John Macphail Rugby Scholarship.
Fosroc Academy players Jacob Henry (18, Melrose), Thomas Jeffrey (18, Jed Forest) and Kristian Kay (18, Glasgow Hawks) have been awarded the coveted Scholarship for 2018 and leave this Saturday (12 January) to spend five months immersed in South Africa’s renowned rugby culture at the high-performance training facility at Stellenbosch University.
The programme previously sent emerging players and coaches to Canterbury in New Zealand for a 15-week programme, changing to South Africa and extending the stay for the first time last year.
The extended opportunity is designed to deepen the still relatively new relationship and enable players to benefit from a longer period of time, while keeping aligned to the northern hemisphere season.
Previous recipients of this unique rugby opportunity include Scotland captain John Barclay (the first recipient in 2005), Grant Gilchrist (2011), Jonny Gray (2012), Finn Russell (2013) and Adam Ashe (2014).
Mark Laing, Chairman of The Robertson Trust's Scholarship Committee, said: “Jacob, Kristian and Thomas have exceptional potential and I’m in no doubt all three will prove to be worthy recipients of the scholarship.
“I, along with the Macphail family and all at The Robertson Trust, look forward to hearing about the players’ progress throughout their time in South Africa and beyond.
“Through the John Macphail Scholarship, The Robertson Trust has assisted in the development of some of Scotland’s brightest young rugby talent for over 13 years.
“We are proud of this legacy and believe the programme’s new setup, and all the experiences it will bring, will help to accelerate the development of even more professional and international players going forward.”
2018: Thomas Jeffrey, Jacob Henry, Kristian Kay
2017: Angus Fraser, Andrew Jardine and Guy Kelly
2016: Patrick Kelly, Ross McCann, Mike Blair (coach) and Calum Forrester (coach)
2015: Callum Hunter-Hill, Ben Robbins, Ben Cairns (coach) and Duncan Hodge (coach)
2014: Adam Ashe, Ewan McQuillin, Don Caskie (coach) and Kenny Murray (coach)
2013: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Finn Russell, Shade Munro (coach) and Alex Duncan (coach)
2012: Jonny Gray, Gregor Hunter, Chris Paterson (coach) and Ben Fisher (coach)
2011: Grant Gilchrist, Harry Leonard, George Turner and Ian Monaghan (coach)
2010: Finlay Gillies
2009: Lewis Niven
2008: Roddy Grant
2007: Kevin Bryce
2006: Graham Hogg
2005: John Barclay