Welcome to another exciting season at Rubislaw and the beginning of a new chapter for Aberdeen Grammar Rugby.
I am honoured to have been awarded the Club Captaincy for a third season and I am also delighted to have been given the privilege of leading such a great group of guys into the season ahead.
I would firstly like to congratulate Calum Champion, who has been awarded the 1st team captaincy, along with Grant Walker and Alex Ratcliffe, who were each awarded the co-Vice Captaincy. Having played with each of these individuals for a number of years, I know they share my passion for the club and fully deserve their new roles.
The 1015-16 season disappointingly saw both the 1st and 2nd XVs finish 9th in their respective leagues. However, a major positive to take away from our previous campaign was the strong finish from the 1st XV, who went unbeaten in our last four games to ensure we retained our National 1 status.
Unfortunately, last season also finished with the departure of a number of core senior players. I would like to thank Morgan Ward, Tony McGinness, Stuart Smith and Alex Hagart for their service to the club and wish them all the best in their future endeavours. With the departure of these individuals from our squad, the 2016-17 season will open the door for many of our talented young players to make a big impression in the 1st XV this season.
I am delighted that Ali O’Connor has agreed to continue as first XV coach for the 2016-17 campaign. Ali’s tactical expertise, attention to detail and professionalism were key to our National 1 survival last season and will be crucial to our success this year. I am confident that Ali is the right man to get the most out of each player at the club, both in the 1st and 2nd XV.
This year, Ali’s coaching staff includes former players Matthew Reid (defence), Duncan Massey (forwards) and Mark Cowie (fitness), as well as former Club Captain Iain Stanger. Each member of our coaching team has worked tirelessly over the summer to ensure that all players are mentally and physically prepared for the new season
On behalf of the players, I would like to thank all of our supporters and sponsors who follow and encourage each and every week. The supporters at Rubislaw expect and deserve a high standard of rugby, and they will have a huge role to play in our campaign.
We look forward to seeing you at Rubislaw this year, with your continued support I am confident that we will soon take Aberdeen Grammar back to the top tier of Scottish rugby where I belongs.
Doug Russell (Club Captain)