Youth still in focus for Falkirk after Division One promotion

Niall Lear
Niall Lear

Falkirk rugby coach Niall Lear says the club will not deviate from their youth structure in BT Premier League Division 1.

The Sunnysiders sealed promotion to Scottish rugby’s second tier last weekend with a team of Scots sprinkled with foreign imports.

That’s a far cry from previous years and the club’s successful Ac ademy programme has homegrown players chapping on the door of the first-team dressing room.

Lear admits they’ll be brought in next season despite the step up in opposition next season which he says will give Falkirk “a tough opponent every single week, whereas at this season’s level it was a tough game every three or four weeks”.

Regardless, youth will be given a chance to flourish by the head coach who doubles as a PE teacher away from the clubhouse.

“We have nothing to be scared of,” declared the headcoach. “I’ve told the guys that in the debrief end of the season chats.

“We have played these teams over the past few years against the teams promoted from our league and we’ve always done very well and the results in the league above suggest that, so long as you play positive rugby, the teams who go up don’t usually come back down again, so we’ll aim to keep that up.

“The youth structure has been big for us and we’ve been working on managing their individual expectations and the club’s. We have three or four guys knocking the door now but we’ll still integrate them as much as we can next year and it’ll be picking the right time and right place to get them in.

“We’ve done that in the league below but we’re confident they can move up a level through.”

Academy sponsors Sportsters, in Princes Street, hosted the club and sponsors on Tuesday night this week and the local influence has been a recurring feature at Sunnyside in recent seasons.

“Over the years I’ve been here there’s been a foreign influence. We’ve had two foreign boys from South Africa this season, who have come over to experience a new country but we’ve had a fair few Falkirk lads topped up from Glasgow and Edinburgh. We are unique in that within a season everyone calls it his home club.

“Our newer boys have said they want to be involved next year regardless of where their jobs take them.

“Next season it’s about the right framework, strengthening a few positions, and sticking with the core who got us up and made the difference.”