THE stars of the national side might be the inspiration for the next generation but, for a group of lucky Dunfermline Rugby Club youngsters, they reversed roles by singing for Scotland.

Like many other sports clubs, the impact of coronavirus has been felt keenly at McKane Park, with matches and seasons halted, but members of their Primary 4 team became virtual stars by showcasing their musical talent.

Organised by coach Matt Lee, who is a member of Scottish Rugby, the kids were given the opportunity to be the virtual mascots for Scotland ahead of their Autumn Nations Cup match with France at Murrayfield – and had the chance to perform the national anthem.

After three or four weeks of practice, they hit the high notes as a video of their performance with piper Sky Laurie, recorded by Roy Smith, was posted on Scottish Rugby's Twitter feed ahead of the game and played to the players.

It was an undoubted high point in what has been a tough 12 months and, although the Scots were beaten 22-15, Dern Roy, the team's coach, said: "It was just phenomenal to see these amazing children signing their hearts out – it was so moving.

"It was such a nice thing; these kids have missed out on so much rugby because of coronavirus. The big thing for them was that the Scotland players were getting to see this video, and that they were inspiring them on that day, just like the Scotland team do for our boys.

"We always ask, 'Did you watch the Scotland game?' and things like that – we like to hear what their views and opinions are, and it's just nice to see.

"This little group of boys are all from different schools, different backgrounds, and the friendship that rugby has united in them, and given them a common interest, is amazing."

Although competitive matches have been put into touch because of COVID-19, younger club members were able to return to training in August when the schools returned, and interest is booming.

"Since we've been allowed to come back, our numbers in every single age group have increased," Dern continued.

"I'm constantly getting emails and messages from people asking about getting in touch to join the team, which has been phenomenal and is a real big thing for us.

"You are always slightly worried that COVID might put people off and they might not want to come back but it's actually done the opposite for us. It's had a massive boost on our numbers across the entire club, which has been fantastic.

"The attitude and commitment from all our teams, players, managers and coaches across the whole of the club has been amazing. It's so nice to see everybody so enthused and to be back again.

"We've certainly missed it, that's been for sure. I think after all this time away, these kids need to get back to a little bit of normalisation again. Yes, we still follow the restrictions and the guidelines to make it safe but we make it fun for them. It's just brilliant to see their smiling faces and it goes across the entire youth section.

"The spirit of rugby is well and truly back alive at Dunfermline, that's for sure."

The club is always on the lookout for new players – regardless of age or experience – and if anyone is interested in getting involved, you can contact Dern by emailing or by visiting the club's Facebook page or website.