Competitive league rugby for the club game to return in September

Survey of member clubs found that 63 percent of respondents wanted the return of a national league structure with promotion and relegation

GHA and Currie Chieftain can look forward to locking horns again in the Tennent's Premiership from September. Image: © Craig Watson -
GHA and Currie Chieftain can look forward to locking horns again in the Tennent's Premiership from September. Image: © Craig Watson -

COMPETITIVE league rugby for the club game is set to resume in September in the same format as pre-Covid, it has been announced. 

A survey of the Scottish Rugby Union’s member clubs found that 63 percent of 252 respondents wanted the return of a national league structure with promotion and relegation after almost 18 months of the grassroots game being on hold due to the pandemic. The other option was a regional league structure with no promotion or relegation.

Taking into account the potential for further Covid-related disruption, it has been agreed that so long as at least 65% of all league fixtures have been fulfilled, promotion and relegation within the leagues will be applied, and if the total number of all completed league fixtures falls below that threshold then the season will be no promotion or relegation.

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The league programme will be prioritised meaning that cup competition details and fixtures will not be confirmed until later into the season when Scottish Rugby can be confident that the 65% target can be reached.

“We are extremely grateful to the clubs who responded to our survey as it has been fundamental in informing the decision-making process,” said Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development, Sheila Begbie.

“Further to the announcement made today, we anticipate that a number of clubs will wish to review their position and may request to step down into a lower league following changes to their squads or player numbers.  As a result, we anticipate publishing fixtures week beginning 21 June having received and considered any and all requests.

“It has been really encouraging to see clubs and schools return to rugby activity over the last few months, and especially recent weeks as all ages can now resume contact training. I am really pleased we can provide our clubs and schools with clarity on how we can return to competitive rugby in the months ahead. I wish everyone well in their preparations for the new season.”

Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr added: “On behalf of the Council I’d like to thank everyone from across the game who shared their views and insight to enable us to have a clear competition structure at every level, across the whole country, for rugby to resume fully when safe to do so.”

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About David Barnes 3032 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.


  1. Not trying to be negative on the return to play but how are they going to manage amateur rugby in regards to pre & post game covid testing? We don’t know where boys have been in regards to work during the week? Is this form of testing going to be mandatory and fully funded by the SRU for all clubs?

    My main concern is we’re still seeing games in professional rugby union/league being called off due to positive cases and these guys are together daily and have all the right testing facilities in place? Not to mention still high cases further up Scotland in some cities

  2. How do they propose to deal with the high possibility that teams could get relegated with games in hand?

  3. Good to see it back ASAP, but can’t help feel we’re missing a trick if we don’t use this as an opportunity soon to switch to summer rugby.


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