Glasgow University Football Rugby Club (GUFRC) have had a tough couple of years but with major changes to the club in the coaching division and with largest intake of freshers with sixty new players, it seems that this is their year and that the club is improving every year.
The development of GUFRC has been fast paced after the club was disbanded in 2009. The club was reinstated for the start of the 2010/11 season. This had a drastic effect on the involvement of the club.
As club captain Ruaridh Cameron explained, “When me and Grant [Blair – Captain 1st XV] started there were only twenty boys coming down to training and now it’s sixty to eighty. I think on the books we’ve got 130 paying members which is fantastic.”
A large amount of the club’s development has come down to the involvement of Calum Forrester, the rugby development officer at Glasgow university who was appointed in October 2013. He is a former Scotland player and professional rugby player for Glasgow Warriors. The developments that he has overseen has seen the club form a new third team this season, as well as make additional changes to the coaching staff.
The professionalism that he has brought to the club, is not only in personal experience but has also led other players at Glasgow Warriors to join the coaching team. The two most recent additions are Fergus Scott and Finn Russell, both aged 22, who joined the coaching squad at the beginning of the season. Scott came into the coaching role specifically because of his connection to Forrester. He explained how he directly asked him if he knew of any opportunities that got him the job: “he said that this position at Glasgow was free, so I jumped at the chance and started in the summer.”
The creation of a third team, shows how the appetite for rugby has grown at the university. Forrester explains: “yeah it’s great to have so many so many numbers but it’s a challenge for a coach because there’s only so many spaces on a pitch”.
The increased interest in the club has meant that the competition for game time is higher than ever. Forrester explains that everyone has to keep up their level of play: “because there are so many numbers, if guys aren’t performing then there’s room to make change, because there’s going to be plenty of them at their back…”
With only sixty six players getting a game every Wednesday afternoon, it is important for players to continue to train hard. As Scott explained, the closeness of the squad means that “it’s more up to the players, they know each other really well, and they’re pretty honest and they can call each other out. These guys can basically pick their own squad and that is overseen by Fozzy.”
This however has not put players off, Scott praised the commitment of the team saying: “the boys are really enthusiastic, their hearts and minds are in the right place so it makes it really easy for me.”
With the new coaching staff and a new third team set up, this season is going to be an exciting one for GURFC with possibility for promotion for both the second and third teams. On the question of what they’re aim was for the season, a simple but powerful response came back from captain of the 1st XV, Grant Blair: “To win.”