Rugby academy set for £2.5m expansion

Hugh Fraser, Professor Andrea Nolan and Graeme Beveridge at the site. Picture: comp
Hugh Fraser, Professor Andrea Nolan and Graeme Beveridge at the site. Picture: comp
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RUGBY stars of the future will be honed in the Capital after work began on expanding an academy.

The £2.5 million extension at Edinburgh Napier University’s Sighthill campus will feature a gym and rehabilitation space.

Students will also be able to carry out research projects in the facility, which will boast a 30-metre running track.

Graeme Beveridge, BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy manager for Edinburgh, said young players were already benefiting from being part of the Napier campus.

He believes the extension will help them blossom into top-class players.

He said: “Edinburgh Napier University has been home to our academy for several months now and our players are enjoying the experience of being on campus.

“The new facilities will provide us with the additional equipment and space required to develop our ambitious young players into world-class ­athletes.”

Napier already boasts one of the UK’s leading biomechanic labs, which includes an exercise physiology lab, and features an environment chamber that simulates altitude, humidity, and hot and cold conditions.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Edinburgh Napier University’s principal, said: “Over the past six months, we have been developing plans for the new facilities at the university so we are excited to see the build off to a flying start.

“The centre will offer students, staff and the local community state-of-the-art gym facilities, as well as providing the academy players with the amenities they need to improve and progress their skills.

“It will also be the university’s centre for development and provision of clinical exercise programmes, and research into exercise and cancer survivorship.

“We look forward to the long-term benefits this project will bring for the university and the surrounding area.”

The base is one of four BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academies launched over the course of the past year, to nurture young rugby talent and develop future rugby stars.

Sighthill was the third BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy venue to be launched and building works are due to be complete in late spring 2016.

newsen@edinburghnews.com