Boroughmuir and Stirling County issue statements on league restructuring

Both clubs unhappy at being placed in National One and not the Premiership next season

Boroughmuir and Stirling County are both unhappy about being placed in National One next season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Boroughmuir and Stirling County are both unhappy about being placed in National One next season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

BOROUGHMUIR and Stirling County have both issued statements expressing disappointment and frustration with the SRU Club Rugby Board’s solution to the conundrum of how to accommodate the fall-out from last month’s news that Super Series is to be disbanded at the end of the initial licence agreement later this year.

It was announced yesterday [Thursday] that the Premiership will be expanded from 10 to 12 teams next season, with the ‘Club XVs’ of Watsonians and Southern Knights (Melrose) being promoted from National One back into the top flight, where they will join the ‘Club XVs’ of both Ayr and Heriot’s who have already earned promotion on the field play.

Meanwhile, Boroughmuir and Stirling Wolves have been promoted into National One from National Three and National Two, respectively, with the logic being that creating a 14 team Premiership would deviate too far away from the 10-team ideal and be  problematic in terms of scheduling.


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A complementary argument is that the Super Series ‘Club XVs’ agreed to drop one division from the Premiership when that competition was launched back in 2019 so promoting them one division (two divisions in the case of Boroughmuir) is the most equitable compromise now.

“All clubs will feel however they feel,” said Gav Scott, Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development, yesterday. “One of the rationales around that was when we entered into this and the journey went on, nobody knew how it would work out or what would happen but those six clubs all moved from the Premiership into National 1 and weren’t allowed to be promoted into the Premiership for three seasons.

“We felt there was an impact of those two measures taken together, and it would have had an impact on the ‘Club XVs’ regardless of who was coaching them. We felt this option rebalanced that somewhat in a fairness way. The extreme end of that was to put them all in the Premiership but that would have been too disruptive we felt, so the balance was that the redress was to move those two [Melrose and Watsonians] into the Premiership.”

He was not asked specifically about the rationale for the Boroughmuir and Stirling County decision.

SRU Vice-President Keith Wallace – who is Chair of the Club Rugby Board [CRB]– explained that reaching this outcome had been a process of elimination, before option two of the seven proposals considered was finally agreed upon as the best way forward.

“We got down to options two and three, with three being the 12 team National One and we felt there was more disruption with that because you could end up with four strong teams in that league, which would take longer to work out,” he said.

“Again, this is all based on guesses of where we think the players will land but also they are historically strong clubs so they will reinvigorate themselves. There was a feeling from National One that option four [a 14 team Premiership with all six Super Swereis ‘Club XVs’ accommodated] wouldn’t work for them so this was where we got to.”

 

 

Both Boroughmuir and Stirling County issued statements last night asserting their sense of grievance at not being placed straight back into Premiership.

Ally Hay, Chair of Boroughmuir Rugby & Community Sports Club, said:

“We can’t hide that this is a huge disappointment to Boroughmuir, our players, coaches and supporters.

“This is not an outcome we supported through the consultation. In fact, it is clear that Boroughmuir falls into the category of a club that has been ‘seriously inconvenienced’, despite SRU declarations that no club would be affected in this way. However, we will deal with the situation as we find it.

“We went into the Super Series because as a club we felt we could help Scottish Rugby succeed. While the Super Series is ending, our commitment to player pathways continues. We have built up the strongest Youth Academy in Scotland, providing numerous players to the professional rugby ranks. We have an additional task, now, to return our 1st XV to the top level of club rugby – one we are determined to achieve at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The Stirling County statement said:

“Stirling County RFC is disappointed with Scottish Rugby’s Club Rugby Board decision not to reinstate it’s Men’s 1st XV to the top division of amateur club rugby in Scotland, following the dissolution of the Super Series.

“Partnering Scottish Rugby to create the Super Series, a key component of the elite player pathway, required considerable investment from the club. Creating a semi-professional infrastructure in amateur clubs was extremely challenging but seen as a positive step to support Scottish Rugby and rugby in Scotland more broadly to develop elite players.

“It seems inconceivable that as the Premiership becomes Scotland’s foremost amateur Men’s Rugby competition; it would not include one of the country’s largest and most successful clubs and the reigning Super Series Champions. Particularly as the club supported Scottish Rugby in developing the Super Series, accepted relegation for their amateur teams as part of its creation and are now bearing the financial burden of its dissolution.

“The club is confused by the inconsistencies that have been applied to each Super Series club regarding their re-integration to the amateur leagues as well as how the Board has arrived at their decision whilst working using a core principle that states, ‘No club to be seriously inconvenienced’.

“Stirling County RFC will now turn its focus on its Men’s 1st XV returning to its rightful place at the top of the Scottish Rugby pyramid as soon as possible whilst continuing to support its back-to-back Premiership winning Women’s programme and one of the most successful talent production academies in the country.”


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About David Barnes 3891 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

22 Comments

  1. It’s one thing winning stuff at youth level but much of that was predicated on gaining players from an artificially large catchment area. Once those players hit senior level they gravitated away from the likes of county n Muir to their original clubs or elsewhere. Both club sides are toiling badly because of that and mewling about not being ‘placed’ into top tier is ludicrous. If their S6 players were that commited they would have played for the club sides too but they haven’t they’ve been listed missing or headed back to original clubs like the youth players. League positions never lie. County can attract players from fife Perthshire n Falkirk at u16 / u18 but that doesn’t translate into those guys wanting to keep up the commute once they hit seniors n have jobs. They’re v lucky to be promoted to national 1 BEYOND their current ability and should be grateful for that rather than posting arrogant hubristic statements which lack any honesty or awareness of their own in house mismanagement.

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    • Couldn’t agree more! The lack of self awareness is astonishing. That attitude is clearly part of the issue of keeping players.

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  2. It is beyond me that the Super 6 clubs did not have the foresight to have an agreement around what happens in the event Super 6 is discontinued as part of their original contract agreement. Was this a lack of foresight from those involved in the agreements or an assumption that their club sides would be in the top leagues anyway.

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  3. Thought s6 plus top4 prem a no brainer with only question being whether it be 10, 12 or 14 team transition. Oh well, keeps it interesting….

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  4. Both clubs should shut up and thank their lucky stars on being promoted without merit. If their claimed top youth structures had been any good then their club sides wouldn’t have been relegated.

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  5. There seems to be no accountability from either club as to how their clubs teams faired so much worse than everyone’s else? With great youth set ups it’s obviously mismanagement.

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  6. The 1st xv that has the strongest youth academy in Scotland sit in 6th place in National 3, having won 8 games from 18, yet they can’t hide their “huge disappointment” about being handed a two league promotion.

    You’ve had massive investment from Murrayfield over the last few years, with access to some of the best resources the country has to offer, and now you are getting preferential treatment over 15 Clubs who sit above you in the pyramid.

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  7. To be fair there was an option for teams to enter into the race for joining the “Super 6” Stirling and Boroughmuir were part of a group of clubs that thought this was a great idea. On the flip side a lot of clubs such as Marr, Hawick etc were happy to sit this one out and continue to play in a highly competitive and well run Priemership.
    My thoughts are you had the choice , you took it and are now experiencing the aftermath of a ridiculous set up that was never going to work. What would have worked was investing heavily into the Premiership as it was and nurturing the talent that was there rather than decimating club rugby.
    Unfortunately guys your made your decision based on financial gains and the ill guided allure of the Super 6 franchise. You’ve made your bed so lie in it springs to mind.
    The only debacle in relation to the re structure is the inclusion of Melrose and Watsonians. Why ? What makes them different from everyone else. They to should have to work there way back into the Premiership.

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    • All the Premiership teams applied for S6, plus Dundee. Being part of S6 has been a huge financial commitment. Anyone who thinks running a semi-pro club in Scotland is a profitable business is sadly deluded

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      • Also. One missed kick in second last game of season v WFC would have meant SCRFC staying up and WFC relegated. That was the difference between the teams.

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      • Correct, Marr didn’t apply. And they were not a prem team when applications were taken in 2018/19. Marr earned promotion to the prem by merit that season, but five other nat 1 teams arguably did not. Musselburgh finished sixth in N1 and were promoted!!

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      • Marr were not in the Premiership the season S6 applications were invited.

        Premiership 2018/19 [Final season pre-S6]
        Ayr
        Heriots
        Currie
        Melrose
        Watsonian
        Stirling County
        Boroughmuir
        Glasgow Hawks
        Hawick RFC
        Edinburgh Academical

  8. Why not parachute the Super six in above the Premier league.
    Promote 2 clubs from Premier 1 to make it a Super 8. With a view to then adding in an Edin and Glasgow Development Team.
    To make it a Super 10.

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  9. Keith ‘Dodson’ Wallace doing some excellent work i see.

    Keep it up! Boroughmuir and Stirling belong where they are now. Loving the pettiness on display here.

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    • I’ve read many things on this forum, but the irony of your post is hilarious.

      Both of these clubs were asked to support a strategic initiative by the SRU that most saw as a folly, and did so to their now obvious detriment.

      If you truly are a Netherdale man, which I doubt, then think back to how the Border Reivers saga played out. The SRU, because of financial mismanagement, put paid to that future.

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  10. Appalling approach by the SRU, all super 6 teams not already in the Premiership should have gone straight into the new premiership for next season. Both county and muir will see their better players drift to premiership clubs to play at the highest level. Gav Scott’s comments are typically hypocritical of the SRU. Any changes to the league structure should have been planned long ago, leaving it so late to scrap the Super 6 licenses is part of desperately poor planning and no clear strategy to develop rugby and players in Scotland

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  11. A Scottish Premiership without the two clubs that have produced more elite players, in the mens and women’s game, than any others. And in the name of changes to the elite player pathway? Only the SRU could come with that.

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    • Nothing to stop these elite youth players moving on to bigger clubs as many did before. Heriots a popular destination for quite a few over the years, I’m sure they’ll continue to welcome them and develop them to that next level.

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  12. sour grapes spring to mind. You’ve both been promoted without winning a league. Maybe if you’d spent more time and focus on your proper club men and team like other super six clubs you’d have avoided this situation.

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    • Partially agree with you that the clubs should have invested more in their 1st XV players. However, lets not forget that many clubs applied for Super 6 and only those 6 were granted. They put in a lot of financial investment and are now being penalised. Many clubs lost their 1st XV players either to Super 6 or who moved to another premiership team leaving their 1st XV, in effect now their 2s, weaker. Trying to keep talent at clubs when they are being offered premiership starts or Super 6 is difficult and so the spiral continues. Some clubs are bigger and have more financial backing than others. In my opinion, they should have all been treated the same. This is typical of the SRU

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      • Nailed it Joe. Running a semi-pro team, men’s and women’s amateur teams and a full youth development programme on the back of COVID, has been a massive challenge. The SRU have not fulfilled promised support in terms of facilities development and marketing.

        Stirling and Boroghmuir have been sacrificed to let everyone sweep this mess under the carpet. We certainly didn’t get everything right at Stirling but not for lack of trying.

        Will anyone trust the SRU in the future, or the clubs that seem to have forgotten they applied to be part of Super 6? Does anyone believe we have a strong player pathway in place that will give young players game time at a level to allow them to thrive at U20 level? Such a shame that many people are driven by petty self interest and not the wider interests of the game in Scotland.

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