RISING rugby stars are hoping that a trip south in preparation for playing in a first competitive league won't be kicked into touch due to a funding shortage.

The Primary 7 team with Dunfermline Rugby Club will, after the summer, compete in a Scottish Rugby Union (SRU)-led league system.

To prepare, the squad – consisting of 26 boys and seven coaches – is aiming to scrum down in Northumberland next month for a series of matches and team-building exercises, with bespoke fixtures against local teams in the process of being arranged.

However, despite what they described as "several years" of fundraising already behind them, in addition to sponsorship support from parents and several local businesses, the club is still more than £1,000 short of its target.

Nikki Cunningham, the team's manager, said: "The boys have shown so much commitment to their training and matches over the years and they've had great success in fundraising through bag-packing and other activities.

"But there's only so much they can do and we're really appealing to the local business community to help us.

"Rugby is much more than a sport; it's great for character-building and all sorts of life skills. We really appreciate the kindness of those companies that recognise what rugby can do for children and have already supported us; all we need now is one major shirt sponsor to come forward and the boys will be set for the trip of a lifetime.

"But we'd be immensely grateful for any support, no matter how small."

The team is scheduled to play a variety of opposition in the east, west and further afield in the Caledonia region within Scottish Rugby's Mitsubishi Motors School and Youth Conference initiative, designed to be player-centred and development-driven as part of the annual schools and youth playing programme.

Dunfermline Rugby Club's Primary 7s tour is due to take place between April 24-26, based in Hexham, and funds are required for transport, accommodation, catering and kit.

Any businesses who can help should contact Nikki Cunningham on dunfermlinerfc2008@hotmail.com.