After a lifetime involved in his sport Fraser Stott was preparing for a career switch that would take him in a completely new direction when he was approached a few months ago to take charge of a scheme that seeks to take lessons learned in the round ball version of Scottish football and apply them to rugby.

Now 48, the fiery former West of Scotland scrum-half was among the first batch of players to turn professional in the mid-nineties, acquiring a Scotland A cap along the way.

In his final year with Glasgow he took on an additional role as a rugby development officer with South Lanarkshire Leisure and remained in that post until earlier this year when the chance arose to pursue a new challenge, joining wife Angela at AOK Learning, a company which provides CPD training for teachers.

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Almost as soon as he took that on, however, he was almost simultaneously offered the chance to get involved with Edusport, an organisation set up by Paris-based Scot Chris Ewing which aims to use sport as an educational vehicle that works beyond academia by bringing foreign youngsters to Scotland on what amount to private sporting scholarships. It was, Stott reckoned, worth finding a way of maintaining an involvement in his sport by making the two work together.

“Rugby has been a massive part of my life. I calculated it out recently and I’ve been playing for 42 years, so I love rugby and like to see other people enjoying it as well,” explained a man who still turns out for the East Kilbride second XV.

After years of working in an area where, he acknowledges, there is a fair bit of resistance to the sport within wide sections of the populace, this is a very different undertaking, working with youngsters whose parents are seeing this as a life opportunity.

Stott has taken a couple of training sessions with the nine youngsters who comprise the first rugby intake and arrived at the end of last month are, like their football counterparts, housed in student halls of residence in Glasgow, but his main role is to oversee the delivery of the semi-professional style programme while monitoring their involvement with Cartha QP, the outward looking Glasgow south-side club to which they have initially been attached.

No bold claims are being made about its potential impact on the domestic sport, but the football experience suggests that, at a time when the Scottish Rugby Union is developing links with French clubs, there will be broad reciprocal benefits as Stott noted.

“It’s not just about bringing them across to play rugby, it’s about introducing them to a different culture and especially with the younger ones giving them a bit of independence for the first time and my role is about offering these guys other life experiences like going to the Scotland v France game, or putting them through their level one coaching courses, or doing a bit of coaching with youngsters,” he said

“For me it’s an opportunity to maintain some involvement in rugby having stepped away from it in my job and be able to give an opportunity to young players. It doesn’t matter to me what nationality they are, I think what this academy can do is hopefully take them away from here as better rounded individuals, not just better rugby players. What I want to see at the end of it all is these nine guys going back absolutely raving about having come across to Scotland having enjoyed the culture, the people, their experience at college and their independence, at the same time having developed as rugby players whilst here, from the programmes we’ve put in place to make that happen.

“At the moment I don’t see it as that important for Scottish rugby, but if you look at the football model it has grown in the last six or seven years to 64 footballers over here now, from his initial programme of 13 the first year. They now have a team in the Lowland League, under-20 team and a Futsal team. So it might be an option to put a rugby team into the Scottish leagues at some point and anything they can learn from us and we can learn from them can only be of benefit. It can only be good for the game.”

He and Ewing also see the potential for this model to be rolled out to other sports.

“This is a pilot programme and it’s not in any way designed to be an elite programme, but there’ll be a bit in there for everyone that comes,” said Stott. “There’s a bit of a bedding in period and it will take us the first month or so to really understand the players, but it’s an exciting thing which could go to other sports. I don’t see why they wouldn’t look at others.”