GREENOCK Wanderers' rugby development officer AJ Guthrie says he is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to grow rugby in Inverclyde.

Since taking the position back in March, numbers across every team and section have grown, despite the pandemic.

As a result, Greenock Wanderers now has six youth teams covering S1, S2, under-15, under-16 and under-18 for boys and girls.

AJ said: "This was always the first goal for me, get enough boys and girls playing again so that we have a full range of teams playing on a Saturday and Sunday again."

Guthrie started his rugby aged five down in England before travelling north and joining the Wanderers in S1, travelling from across the Clyde for training and games.

He said: "I want to see the club get back to the successes that I remember coming through the ranks. Having strong teams out at all levels is very important to the future of the club, as it's these boys and girls who are going to be playing in our senior teams in years to come."

Ever since leaving school, AJ knew that he wanted to do something with rugby. After a year at college in Perth studying health and fitness, he started an apprenticeship with Scottish Rugby working with the development team at Perthshire Rugby Club.

On completion of his apprenticeship, AJ joined Carrick Rugby's development team as an assistant development officer. This allowed AJ to return to the Wanderers once more to play after a two-year period away.

He said: "It was a no-brainer for me to accept the role here as soon as it was offered.

"I knew a lot of members at the club already from playing here over the years and I knew how the club liked to be operated.

"We have seen a clear improvement in the numbers at each age group and the quality of rugby played, but there's still a long way to go to reach our full potential.

"At the moment we're working hard on recruitment across all age groups so that we have string numbers across the board. I believe competition for places brings out the best in players, which is obviously what we want."

Greenock Wanderers' boys youth teams (S1-U16) train on a Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Wanderers' Micros and Minis sections (P1-P7) both train on Sunday mornings with Minis (P4-P7) also training on Wednesday evenings.

Under-18s boys train on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and GWRFC Girls (S1-U16) train on a Monday evening.

AJ added: "I would encourage anyone who's unsure to come down and at least give it a go. We have a great team of knowledgeable coaches who make every session enjoyable whilst also challenging players of all abilities.

"If you would like any more information about our club and how we work, call 07870 302949 or email"

l Greenock Wanderers is sponsored by MM Search. Greenock Wanderers youth teams are sponsored by McLaren Packaging.

*Photo* AJ Guthrie (right) coaching some of Greenocks up-and-coming U16 stars