THE youth section of Dunfermline Rugby Club are proving that the future’s bright after picking up a prestigious Scottish Rugby title.

Players in the McKane Park outfit’s under-13 (S1), under-14 (S2), under-15 (S3), under-16 and under-18 (colts) teams produced some sparkling performances to win the SRU Mitsubishi Motors Galant Conference competition on December 2.

Now in their third year, the conferences provide a playing environment for clubs and schools based on their development infrastructure and the number of teams they run.

Last year, 156 state schools, 26 independent schools and 93 clubs took part in the competition, which runs from August to December, and this year Dunfermline’s conference featured 12 teams.

That included Glasgow Hawks, whose senior side play in the BT Premiership, GHA and Cartha Queen’s Park, and the title was awarded to the club with the highest combined points total from all the individual age group leagues after 11 matches.

The Blues finished top overall with 131 points, seven clear of Allan Glens and a further two clear of third-placed GHA, while the colts side were number one in their individual conference after winning 10 and drawing one of their games.

Kevin Storie, the club’s youth convenor, said: “It’s first class. This is the third season in these leagues and the SRU brought them in so teams are playing at a decent standard. We have guaranteed games at a consistently high level, where before at this time of the year we’d be looking around trying to organise friendly games.

“Winning it shows our strength across all the age groups and, in our final round of matches against Allan Glens, we also recorded wins for our under-13s (28-14), under-14s (30-10) and under-16s (38-17), and our under-14s and under-16s also finished second in each of their individual leagues.

“It’s raised our level and I think what we have done well is put a decent coaching structure in place that follows the SRU pathway.

“A lot of hard work has gone into it; there’s a one club philosophy in place and Mark (Dobson, senior team head coach) gives training sessions to players at all age groups, which is great. This is a fantastic achievement for the club and shows that we’ve created the right environment for the players to develop. Our teams are playing some excellent rugby.”

Andy Morgan, director of youth rugby, commented: “We were playing some really competitive teams and some games were very close.

“Our teams did well; particularly the colts, who have kicked on from finishing mid-table last season. It is a good test for the players coming through the system and, when they get to that age group, they’re performing at a high level.

“Across the board, the club should be proud of the kids and the coaches. It’s really good to see and I’m so pleased for everybody.”

Dobson said: “The connection between the junior and senior arms of the club is seamless and we have some supremely talented young players at all age groups. The club can only grow and it’s an exciting time to be involved with Dunfermline Rugby.”

Colin Thomson, Scottish Rugby’s head of schools and youth, added: “It has been great to see clubs and schools flourishing in the Mitsubishi Motors Galant Conference.

“Congratulations to Dunfermline RFC as they continue to develop and challenge in Scottish youth rugby.

“Dunfermline’s success is a great example of just how players, clubs and schools can benefit from Mitsubishi Motors Conference rugby.”

Earlier this year, the colts and under-16s picked up winners trophies at the Caledonia Youth Cup finals day in St Andrews.