Women's Rugby Performance Programme

Our Performance Programme

The University of Edinburgh Women's Rugby Programme prides itself on developing players with potential and a positive attitude into performance athletes. In return for your dedication and hard work, we will offer you world-class training facilities and support to allow you to be the best you can be:

  • 1 Full-time Head Coach
  • 5 Assistant/Support Coaches
  • Full-time Strength & Conditioning support
  • Academic support
  • Performance lifestyle support
  • Nutritional advice
  • Mental skills training and assistance
  • Access to the world-renowned FASIC Sport & Exercise Medicine Clinic
  • Detailed individualised video analysis and GPS data

UK Anti Doping- Clean Sport Policy

The University of Edinburgh is a UK Anti-Doping accredited institution. We are fully committed to clean sport principles and educating all of our athletes in applying these principles correctly. Please feel free to read through our full Clean Sport Policy.

Studying at Edinburgh

Edinburgh mixes architectural beauty and history with a lively, fun environment and has regularly been voted as one of the most desirable places to live in the world. As part of our Performance Programme, you will develop your athletic and academic skills in tandem, competing for one of the United Kingdom’s best sporting higher education institutions and studying at a university that is consistently ranked in the top 50 in the world:

  • Over 650 degree programmes
  • Flexible study
  • Ranked 10th in the UK for graduate employability by the Times Higher Education, Global Employability Ranking 2018
  • An international university, with just under half of our students representing 180 nations across the world

Competitions and Successes

The 1st XV compete in the BUCS National League. The competition sees the top 6 universities in the UK battle it out over the course of the season in a league format, followed by a knockout cup competition.

The University also takes part in an annual Varsity match against St Andrews University. Played at BT Murrayfield, the event attracts over 10.000 fans who witness the oldest rivalry in university rugby clubs in the UK.

A selection of our recent successes:

  • BUCS National League Winners 2019/20
  • BUCS Championship Finalists 2019/20
  • BUCS Premier North 3rd Place 2018/19
  • BUCS Championship Quarter-Finalists 2018/19
  • BUCS Premier North Winners 2017/18
  • BUCS Championship Semi-Finalists 2017/18
  • BUCS 7s Tournament Runners Up 2017/18
  • BUCS Championship Winners 2016/17
  • BUCS Premier North Winners 2016/17
  • BUCS 7s Tournament Winners 2016/17
  • BUCS Premier North Runners Up 2015/16
  • BUCS 7s Tournament Runners Up 2015/16

Alongside our BUCS successes, many of our players are involved in national programmes and play in international squads. In the past year, this has included:

  • 6 Players involved in Scotland Senior XV Squad
  • 10 Players involved in Scotland Futures U20s/Development Squad
  • 1 Player involved in Scotland Futures U18 Squad
  • 3 Players involved in Scotland 7s squad
  • 5 Alumni selected in GB wider squad for Rugby 7s at the Tokyo Olympics

Meet the Coach

Claire Cruikshank has been a coach at Edinburgh University since 2011. During her time she has led the club to ground-breaking success.

A former player herself, Claire has played for Scotland in both the Women's World Cup squad in 2006 and European Championships Squad in 2000. She played for Murrayfield Wanderers for 10 years and was made Captain in 2005-06 where she lead the team to SWRU League, Cup and National 7s titles.

Claire is UKCC Level 3 Qualified and has been coaching for over 15 years. Some highlights of her coaching career include:

  • 2007-2008: Scotland Women U18 Assistant Coach
  • 2008-2010: Scotland Women Academy Coach
  • 2010-2012: Scotland Women U20 Assistant Coach
  • 2010, 2012 & 2016: Scottish University Women 7s Head Coach
  • 2010: GB Students 7s Assistant Coach, World University Games
  • 2013-2014 & 2016-2017 University Of Edinburgh Coach of the Year
  • 2017; Scotland U18 Girls Coach, School Games
  • 2017-2018; Scotland Women’s U20 PDP Programme
  • 2018-2019; Scotland Futures U18 & U20 Coach; Kicking Development
  • 2019-Present: Head Coach Sweden National Women's 15s
  • 2020: Selected for World Rugby Women's High Performance Coaches Gold Programme (30 coaches in the world)

Meet the Player

Name: Rachel Law

"The set up for ladies rugby at Edinburgh University is one of the best in the country with regard to the coaching, facilities and support we receive. I’m honoured to be able to study and continue my rugby development in such a fantastic performance environment."

Course: Veterinary Medicine

Achievements: Scotland Senior 15s and 7s Squads, Scotland U20s

Meet the Player

Name: Eva Donladson

"Playing at Edinburgh I feel privileged to be a part of such a supportive community within my studies and sharing the best moments alongside my team mates"

Course: Sport and Recreation Management

Achievements: Scotland U18 15s and 7s, Scotland Futures U20s

Meet the Player

Name: Meryl Smith

"Since coming to the university, the unwavering support from the coaches and support staff has enabled me to perform to my greatest ability, both on the pitch and in my studies"

Course: Biological Sciences

Achievements: Scotland Senior Squad 7s, Scotland Futures U20s

Our Facilities & Expertise

We have access to a World Rugby approved 3G pitch where our sessions take place, located at Peffermill Playing Fields.

The team currently have a minimum of two pitch sessions, one skill session (with others arranged on a one-to-one basis) and three S&C and two conditioning sessions per week. We also have access to our medical clinic at the University for the selected Performance Players within the Women’s Rugby Programme.


We offer a number of named scholarships available through the application process.

Eric Liddell High Performance Scholarships: Created in memory of one of the University’s sporting greats to help our most talented student athletes attain their sporting ambitions.

The University of Edinburgh Elite Athlete Scholarship Fund: Awarded to support talented student athletes with the purpose of enhancing their dual career (academic and sporting) ambitions and positioning the University as the UK’s foremost Higher Education Institution for performance sport.

Keri Holdsworth Scholarship: In memory of Keri Holdsworth member of staff and Scottish International Rugby player. The scholarship is open to members of the University’s Ladies’ Rugby Club. Candidates will be selected and considered at the department’s discretion and notified if they are successful.

Further information is available on our website:

We are always looking for ambitious, academic athletes to realise their potential with us. Some useful links with information on entry requirements, scholarships and fees & funding can be found below:

We look forward to welcoming the next generation of performance rugby players to our Performance Programme, email Head of Performance Women's Rugby, Claire Cruikshank, to start the conversation about your application.


Created with images by Jonathan Ricci - "Victoria Street, Edinburgh, Scotland" • pohjakroon - "trophies show award" • Zaini Izzuddin - "untitled image" • rawpixel - "laptop document paper" Additional photography: Mihaela Bodlovic