London Scottish and Scottish Rugby are pleased to confirm the first group of players to team up with the Exiles as part of our performance partnership.
The five players – whom arrived and started training earlier this week – are among Scotland's brightest young prospects, with hooker Cameron Fenton accompanying back-row Ally Miller, scrum-half Hugh Fraser, centre Tom Galbraith and wing Ben Robbins after their involvement at the World Rugby U20 Championship.
Fenton, who came through the ranks with Bell Baxter High School and Howe of Fife, before spending his final year at Strathallan School, has been part of the Glasgow Warriors squad for two seasons, and recorded his Guinness PRO12 debut against Munster in February with a memorable victory.
Fenton has represented Caledonia U16, U17 and U18 and has played for Scotland at under-17, U18 and U20 level.
He said: “There is a great bunch of boys down here, and the partnership is brilliant for young players to get the chance to play in a league such as the Greene King IPA Championship.
“I’m looking forward to getting on to the pitch.”
Miller was part of the Scotland U20 squad that recorded the team's highest ever finish at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship (8th) in 2015 and 2016.
The back-row also captained Edinburgh’s Under 20 side, and the George Watson’s College Scottish Schools Cup winning sides of 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Miller is looking forward to a new challenge at the Athletic Ground.
“Most of the guys from Scotland age groups have worked with Sean Lineen [Head of International Age-Grade Rugby and Director of Rugby at London Scottish] before; it’s good to have some familiar faces around.
“Hopefully we can add to what is a great squad at Scottish this season.”
Fraser joined the BT Sport Academy in 2014, having started out at Teddington, Esher and London Irish.
He represented Scotland at under-16, U17, U18 and U19 and made his Scotland under-20 debut in the 24-6 win over England, in the opening game of the 2016 Six Nations Championship.
Consistent performances in the summer earned him a place the World Rugby Under-20 Championship ‘Dream Team’, for playing his part in Scotland’s record equaling finish.
Fraser said: “I’ve seen a few Championship matches and it will be a great test for us. The pre-season matches against Blackheath and Saracens can’t come soon enough.”
A product of Kelso RFC and Perthshire Colts, Galbraith broadened his rugby experience in New Zealand in the summer of 2014, where he played for Upper Clutha RFC in the Otago region.
He made his first start for Scotland under-20 in the final game of the 2015 Six Nations – a 17-10 defeat of Ireland at Netherdale – and went on to appear in four of his side's five games in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Italy that year.
He featured in every Scotland under-20 game in 2016, and captained the side against Ireland in the Six Nations.
Galbraith admitted he is looking forward to a full season in another new environment.”
“The first few days have been great. Being part of the squad is an exciting opportunity that we’re keen to grasp with both hands.”
Robbins’ searing pace earned him under-17 British Championship success at 400m and saw him race to New Year Sprint glory in 2013, before he hung up his running spikes to commit to the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy in the summer of 2014.
He scored his first Scotland under-20 try against Italy, when he came on as a second-half substitute in the 2015 Six Nations Championship clash at Netherdale, and subsequently added to his international tally with his side's sole try in the game against England in Darlington.
He also spent time as a professional youth footballer with Livingston FC, before turning his full-time attention to rugby.
Robbins is hoping that the squad can excite the Athletic Ground supporters.
“I’m ready to go so hopefully we can make a difference to the team and make it an exciting season for everyone involved.”
Head Coach Peter Richards has been impressed by their influence already, after less than a week of training.
“The guys have been brilliant and all look like great prospects, so we are excited to have them with us for the 2016/17 season.
“There is great competition among the group for places in our match-day squad, so the addition of these players can only add to what is a very promising year ahead for London Scottish.”
The Performance Partnership
Earlier this year Scottish Rugby and London Scottish announced a new partnership to support the development of a joint performance programme.
The agreement, which is resource focused, will see regular coaching, playing and high performance support provided by Scottish Rugby to the club.
It will provide a further professional rugby environment for identified players and coaches, as well as benefitting their personal and professional development.
Selected pro-team, BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and Scottish age-grade players will be based at the Richmond Athletic Ground and available to London Scottish for English Championship and B&I Cup fixtures.
Scottish Rugby’s Head of International Age-Grade Rugby, Sean Lineen, has taken up the role of Director of Rugby on a part-time basis to lead the on-field direction of the performance programme and support current London Scottish Head Coach, Peter Richards.