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Angus Vipond reflects on rugby at Strathallan

Angus Vipond had his best rugby memory to date playing for Strathallan – and his sporting journey looks set to continue apace now that he has moved on from school.

He first played rugby at Stirling County as a youngster and progressed through the ranks there.

“The junior section at County was great fun,” he recounted.

“We had really good coaches all the way through the different age groups and we were also lucky enough to go on various tours including one to France so I have great memories from them.

“The coaches created a fun environment, but also one that pushed us to get better and really think about our own game and I think that helped me to break into regional rugby as I got into my teens.”

At senior school he was attending Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline until his two final years when he moved to Strathallan.

“County was a great level of rugby, but I knew that playing at one of the top schools in the revamped Scottish Rugby conference system would really help take my game onto another level so I was very keen to join Strath in my lower sixth,” he explained.

“I had also played against the school enough to know about the attractive style of rugby them played and I wanted to be a part of that.

“There are some great coaches at Strathallan and I knew the likes of Andrew Henderson and Ed Kalman could help me.”

In his first year at the school in 2016/17 Angus played in the under-16s team.

The squad reached the Scottish Schools Cup final and were able to play on the main pitch at BT Murrayfield.

And although they lost out 10-3 to St Aloysius’ College in that one, Angus and the others involved took a lot from the occasion.

“We didn’t have big expectations that season, but we came together well as a group and built a really good team spirit and it showed just what could be achieved,” the utility back explained.

“It was then great to get a taste of first XV rugby towards the end of that season playing with and against older guys and it set me up nicely for upper sixth.

“In that year I was involved with the firsts from pre-season and we knew we had a good squad and we were well led by the likes of Murphy Walker so we set ourselves quite high expectations.”

Fast forward a few months to late 2017 and Angus was named man of the match and presented his trophy by Scotland caps Zander Fagerson – also an ex-pupil at Strath – and Tom Brown after the under-18s won the Scottish Schools Cup at BT Murrayfield.

Playing at centre in that one – alongside Ollie Smith who has featured for Ayr in the Tennent’s Premiership this season – he scored a try and kicked six conversions to lead the team to a 52-8 victory over Glenalmond College.

“What an amazing night it was,” Angus said enthusiastically.

“We knew we were going into that one as favourites, but we still had to do the job and to share that feeling with the other guys was brilliant.

“I learnt so much about myself and about my rugby at Strath. Defensively I feel I became a much better player and I put a lot of effort into being versatile so that I can play a number of positions throughout the backline and hopefully that will help me going forward.”

So what is next for Angus?

Well, in September he made his first XV debut for Stirling County off the bench against the Currie Chieftains in the Premiership.

And around Christmas time the teenager is due to be jetting off to Australia to play rugby for a time at North Brisbane Rugby Club.

We wish him all the best for this exciting next chapter.

By Gary Heatly

Twitter: @G_HMedia