TEENAGE rugby players have struck gold after winning a nationwide league.

East Lothian Girls Rugby were crowned the winners of the Under-16 Girls Aspiring League at Oriam in Edinburgh on Sunday.

Craig Robertson, who has been involved with coaching the team for more than five years, was full of praise for the teenagers.

The victory came after the girls had suffered heartache earlier this year when they lost to Stirling County in the Under-16 Scottish Youth Cup at BT Murrayfield.

However, the coach felt that blow had acted as an inspiration to many in the squad, who were delighted to win the finals, which featured teams from across the country.

READ MORE: East Lothian Girls ready for national final at Murrayfield

He said: “The girls that were involved have said it has spurred them on.

“They spoke to us at training and they were at Murrayfield and told us they want to go and win this.

“Eve Cowe, who is our club captain, and Ellie Moffat, who is vice-captain, have taken a big step forward in motivating their team-mates.

“They have taken a bit of the mantle of doing the confidence building and a bit of the warming up.”

Six teams were put into the East Region League as East Lothian Girls were joined by Peebles, Kelso, Berwick, Galashiels and Leith.

After coming through the competition undefeated, they were invited to the Capital venue for the finals weekend. There, they were joined by teams from the West, Central and Caledonian leagues.

East Lothian Courier: East Lothian Girls rugby is celebrating after clinching a national league with an impressive series of showingsEast Lothian Girls rugby is celebrating after clinching a national league with an impressive series of showings

Six teams were split into two groups of three as the county side proved too strong for Strathendrick, winning 30-10, and Peebles, who were defeated 40-10.

That set up a final with Dumfries and Galloway’s Wigtownshire, who East Lothian Girls beat 45-5.

Robertson said: “They [the girls] are ecstatic.

“They have put in a lot of hard work.

“They got beat last year and we lost a prominent player during the game due to injury but they stepped up and played well as a team.”

Originally centred on Preston Lodge High School, the team now has youngsters representing each of the county’s six secondary school.

Robertson, who is joined by Roger Woods, Andy Napier, Colin McKellar, Adam Robertson and Kiera McLeod in the coaching team, felt that there was a growing interest in the game, partly down to the Scottish women’s national team reaching the Rugby World Cup for the first time in more than a decade earlier this year.

The Scotland squad included Megan Gaffney and Liz Musgrove, who both grew up playing rugby in East Lothian.

The coach said: “The inspiration thing is definitely on a high.

“I think with social media, the team has posted stuff on Instagram and whatever else and they are followed back by the accounts of the players.”