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Sport - Egg-shaped course kicks off

This year's S3 subject options at Hawick High have a new addition: rugby.

The school, in Scottish rugby's Borders heartland, hopes the trial course will boost job prospects and add to the 58 Hawick men who have played for Scotland.

The course has been certificated by Borders College at SCQF level 5 - equivalent to Standard grade Credit - while depute head Peter Beaton has ensured it ties in closely with Curriculum for Excellence.

A group of 20 boys is working with Richie Gray, of Borders College, and former Scotland scrum-half Dee Paterson for four periods a week, on rugby skills and "skills for work, life and learning".

Headteacher Alan Williamson stressed that, with many Hawick men playing rugby at a high level, a high percentage of pupils may find work in the sport.

"Having rugby on our curriculum as a subject in its own right, in addition to the health and well-being elements of core PE, fits perfectly with our development of Curriculum for Excellence - local solutions to local issues," he said.

Hawick High is now being described as a "rugby academy", similar to the Scottish Football Association's "schools of football".

The initiative has been officially titled The McLaren Class of Rugby, after the Bill McLaren Foundation - formed in honour of the legendary rugby commentator who died this year - became involved.

Scott Renwick, head of PE and son of British Lion Jim Renwick, said: "The course fits perfectly with all that Bill, as a former teacher in Hawick, stood for, in the way it develops pupils in the wonderful spirit of the game, while fostering excellence."

The school created the course with the Scottish Rugby Union and the Borders Academy of Sporting Excellence at Borders College which, along with Scottish Borders Council, are also providing funding.

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