ON the weekend they were relegated from the BT Premiership Gala have made a statement of intent by launching an academy.

The initiative will be led by the club’s development officer, Gregor Hunter, with assistance provided by the School of Rugby Programme within Galashiels Academy and other outside help.

“Gala has been working with partners for over a year to secure funding for the creation of a Rugby Academy within the Academy under the umbrella of the rugby club,” said Gala president Graham Low.

“This long-term funding has been provided by Sportscotland over a four-year period and Gala will then resume full responsibility.

“It is very apparent that to provide a sustainable club we have to produce our own to the highest standard. Initially, the School of Rugby and thereafter Gala Triangle and Gala Wanderers will see the first benefit.

“We will see our youth, both boys and girls, stepping up to a higher level of age grade rugby. Gala will ultimately benefit as we bring through a constant stream of talent.

“The club has recognised an opportunity within their pathway model to give promising young players more time on task in a performance environment and they will no doubt reap the benefits.”

The Academy will be made up of players between the age of 14 and 17.

These players who have been selected for the programme show long-term promise on the field, but more importantly demonstrate admirable behaviour skills such as commitment, self-reliance, discipline and work ethic that will allow them to thrive within this environment.

David Edge from Sportscotland said: "Sportscotland is delighted to support the ambitions of their youth players and ensuring players have the sufficient time on task as they develop as young rugby players.

“We are also encouraged with the introduction of female players in year two of the project in line with their growing girls’ rugby programme and the formation of a senior female team.”

The Academy will be run as a development programme intended to maximise each player’s rugby ability through skill development, strength and conditioning training, tactical analysis, nutrition advice, mental skills and life balance advice.