Blues turning 140 years young!

Kirkcaldy Rugby's main men (from left) Ronnie Harris, coach; Colin Harvey, coach; Mark Wallace, captain; Liam Neilson, vice-captain; Quintan Sanft, head coach and Callum McKenzie, first team manager

Kirkcaldy Rugby's main men (from left) Ronnie Harris, coach; Colin Harvey, coach; Mark Wallace, captain; Liam Neilson, vice-captain; Quintan Sanft, head coach and Callum McKenzie, first team manager

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They may be one of the oldest rugby clubs in Scotland, but Kirkcaldy will field one of the youngest teams in the Championship next season.

The Blues were founded in 1873 and are celebrating their 140th anniversary this year, but they start their new league campaign this Saturday with a one of their youngest ever squads.

Several experienced campaigners - the likes of George Mangalo, Greg Wallace, Craig Wilson and Cameron Goodall - have left the club this summer leaving the club with little choice but to rely on youth.

Head coach Quintan Sanft has called up eight players from the club’s under 18 to the first team squad, and the youngsters will have to learn fast if they are to survive in the Championship East this season.

“It’s a very much younger team than what we’re used to so it’s a rebuilding year for us,” Sanft told the Press.

“Realistically our aim has to be to stay in the league.

“We’ve lost a handful of experienced players and replacing them with first year Colts.

“It’s not an ideal siatuion to be in but that’s all we have.”

The club has taken steps forward off the pitch this summer with the appointment of a new coaching regime.

As well as re-appointing Sanft as head coach, the club has also added Ronnie Harris and Colin Harvey to the coaching team, while Callum McKenzie is first team manager, and Jimmy Bonner is the director of rugby.

“In the past it’s just been myself and the second VX coach so it’s good to have some more people on board to help out,” Sanft explained.

“It will be good to have different voices, and different ideas - that could be a big plus for us.”

Haddington will provide the opposition at Beveridge Park in this Saturday’s league opener (kick-off 3.00 p.m) and Sanft is keen to get off to a winning start.

“We put up some big points on them in our last game, but they might have changed now,” he said.

“They’ve brought in three Kiwi boys but I don’t know how good they are.

“We just want to make sure we get off to a good start, especially on our home patch.”

Kirkcaldy lost their final warm-up match against Championship West side Hamilton on Saturday, going down 41-7 in a match that showed there is a lot of work to be done before they can become a competitive force at Championship level.

The Blues played with ample enthusiasm but all through struggled to retain the ball.

“That was a good eye opener for our younger boys to see the level they need to get up to,” Sanft said.