The university has formed a partnership with Melrose, one of the clubs to be awarded a franchise in the £3.6m shake-up of the domestic game.
The link with the famous Borders club will give their players access to the university’s high-performance strength and conditioning facilities and sports science expertise. With a large proportion of the club’s players living, working or studying in the city, the addition of another training venue will help the club develop.
Melrose Rugby believes the expertise and talent at the university can support their rugby ambitions as well as their 1883 Legacy Project and the development of the sport in the Borders area.
As well as giving the university a foothold in the Super 6 scene, the partnership will also give students access to work experience opportunities at the club, home of the world-famous Melrose 7s.
The newly announced shake-up of domestic rugby will see the existing amateur BT Premiership replaced by the new semi-professional Super 6 set-up from season 2019-20.
The six successful franchise applications, including Melrose, were revealed by Scottish Rugby on Tuesday following rigorous scrutiny by an expert panel, chaired by businessman and former Scotland international Sir Bill Gammell.
Ayr, Boroughmuir, Heriot’s, Melrose, Stirling County and Watsonian FC will all be part of the new set-up, aimed at bridging the gap between the club game and Scotland’s professional sides, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors.
Dr Susan Brown, Edinburgh Napier’s Lead for Partnerships and Enterprise, Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, said: “This partnership gives the university the chance to support the delivery of higher performance levels in the top tier of the domestic game in Scotland.
“With some of the best facilities and staff in the country, we are well placed to add significant value to the Super 6 proposition.
“Our involvement will also give students from across the university the opportunity to utilise their extensive talents and innovative thinking in support of Melrose Rugby’s wider plans.”
A spokesman for Melrose Rugby said: “This opportunity to support bridging the gap between the club and professional game is something Melrose Rugby has worked tirelessly to do since the game went professional in 1997.
"Edinburgh Napier University will play a pivotal role, and we are delighted to be working in conjunction with them. Their expertise in elite sports performance, along with world class facilities, will foster the environment to help the Melrose Rugby franchise flourish.”
Boroughmuir and Watsonians also referred in their applications to plans to work with the university to assist with players’ development and education.
Edinburgh Napier already has strong links with Scottish Rugby’s governing body.
The Sighthill campus has hosted the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy for almost three years, and the university has developed the UKCC Level 4 award and a BSc qualification for developing coaches.