Edinburgh Eagles find new nest and plan border raids into England

06 December 2018 - Written by Zack Wilson

There have been some exciting developments for Scottish rugby league in recent weeks, with Edinburgh Eagles entering a new competition, and finding themselves a new home.

The club recently confirmed that it had entered the English rugby league pyramid, with them being accepted into the North East league structure.

They will also be Scotland’s representatives in the 2019 Challenge Cup.

In addition to confirming their place in the English league structure, though, the Eagles have also found a new base in the north of their home city.

They will be playing their home games at Royal High School, home of rugby union club Royal High RFC.

This is the result of a deal being agreed which will see the Eagles become members of the Royal High School Athletics Club.

This entitles them to the use of the facilities at the school/rugby club both on and off the field for 2019, and hopefully beyond, should the relationship continue.

"The Edinburgh Eagles deciding to base themselves at Royal High is great news for us and the Eagles,” said Serge Fraser of Royal High School.

“We are entering an exciting new era, at Royal High, with additional facilities development meaning that we will have first class facilities for all the sporting clubs based here.

“We are delighted to be adding a rugby league team to the other sports clubs based here, and hope that the progress the Eagles have made over the last few years continue.

“We hope to have a long and successful association together."

There are some good players in place at the club too, with Scotland hooker Lewis Clarke set to control things from dummy half for the Eagles.

Scotland international centre Craig Robertson is on the coaching staff at the club, as well as being a key player.

He scored a fine try for Scotland in the recent international with France, and looks to be a man with a sound grasp of rugby league principles.

“Finally we’re able to announce what is a really positive move for us,” said Robertson.

“I’ve been keen to get the information out but Baz [head coach Barry McGuffog] insisted we wait until he’d sorted a few things first.

“With all due respect to the Jack Kane, things were a bit limited. The facilities already available at Royal High and the planned developments mean that we’ve got a fair bit more appeal to potential players.”

Head coach Barry McGuffog also looks like he is in the process of reenergising the club for the 2019 season, which could be a key campaign in the Eagles’ history.

“Around the end of September, the possibility arose to to play at Royal High, and following a visit and in-depth discussion with Anthony Reen (Royal High RFC president) a proposal was made,” he said.

“Following a couple of tweaks, and a conversation with some of the staff and senior players, we decided it was an opportunity we had to take.

“It may not seem like a major deal to some people but this is a big step forward for us as a club in terms of facilities.

“It was mentioned at the AGM that in order to ‘build a club’, we need a clubhouse to help us improve match day experiences for players, supporters and visiting teams, now we have that.

“We’ll also have the chance to hold club social events and fundraising events there so it was a no-brainer really.”

The Eagles now look to have established a fine foundation for rugby league to move forward in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

It would be nice if the club received a bit of support from professional clubs in England and Australia too. Perhaps a link up with Sheffield Eagles, or even the Manly Sea Eagles could happen in the future.

But for now the club looks to be moving forward, something which can only be a good thing for rugby league in Scotland, and more generally in the UK.

There are clearly people at the club who are capable and intelligent, and who have come up with a deliverable plan for development, rather than just adopting the naive ‘build it and they will come’ mentality which plagues our sport.

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