University Rugby Coach wins 2023 Principal’s Medal

Claire Cruikshank, Head of Women’s Rugby, is being recognised for her impact on women’s rugby both at the University and on the international stage through her external coaching roles.

Principal’s Medals

First awarded in 2008, the Principal's Medals are one of the most important ways the University recognises its staff and students. The awards celebrate the achievements and dedication of the professional services and academic colleagues and students who have delivered exceptional service, have supported and served the University or the wider community and demonstrated strong alignment with the University’s values. Recipients are nominated by their fellow students and staff members.

An exceptional contribution

Claire Cruikshank has achieved excellence in the world of women's rugby making an outstanding contribution to both the University and the wider community. Her impact on women’s rugby on both a university and international stage has been monumental. Claire and her programme are great advocates for The University of Edinburgh, its extraordinary people, and the extraordinary things they can achieve.

Claire Cruikshank

An extraordinary performance programme

The women's rugby Programme at Edinburgh is well known globally, for producing international players, operating at a world class level, and being innovative in its delivery.  In this year’s Six Nations competition, no less than 12 of Claire’s current or former players were selected for the Scotland National Team (5 current students and 7 alumnae). This was the highest number of current students playing international rugby, from any university programme, highlighting Claire’s coaching skills, player support, and overall development of players.

The welfare of her players is central to everything Claire does, ensuring sport psych is readily available to players, concussion education is built into programmes, and that medical support of the highest standard is readily available at fixtures.

Claire also volunteers on the British Universities and College Sport (BUCS) Rugby advisory group and has been at the heart of the drive to getting the offering of women’s rugby at Universities across the country. She is constantly driving standards up, and leading the way in women’s rugby.

Claire Cruikshank

Recognition on the international stage

From 2019 to December 2022, alongside her role as Head of Performance Rugby, Claire was the Swedish National coach, helping them secure Rugby Europe Womens Championship status and compete in European 7’s as well.

In 2022 she was she selected by World Rugby for the Coaching intern programme at the World Cup in New Zealand, one of only 7 coaches globally to be selected.

This involved working with the Scotland team for the build-up and duration of their involvement in the World Cup, and then with World Rugby until the Cup was finished.

In 2023, the Celtic Cup Challenge was established, a pathway competition for the development teams of Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Claire was asked to coach this programme by Scottish Rugby, pulling together a hugely impressive offer from scratch. This also saw 12 current Edinburgh University Players selected, highlighting the quality of Claire’s Coaching to get current players playing at this level. She has also recently been appointed as the Head of Coach of the Scotland Futures programme by Scottish Rugby. Highlighting Claire’s ability to develop up and coming players to be the next senior internationalists.

Claire will receive her medal with the other 2023 winners  during this year’s Winter Graduation ceremony.

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