THE fixture lists for the 2020-21 domestic season in Scotland – which will start in a regionalised format with the aim of progressing to national cup competitions as Covid restrictions ease – have been unveiled, with a planned start date of 31st October.
“The regionalised schedule of competitions and matches is intended to be in place solely for the 2020-21 season and a set of National Competition Rules will be issued in the coming weeks to outline the way the games will be overseen by Scottish Rugby, with a lighter touch and emphasis on flexibility around match fulfilment intended,” said a statement issued from Scottish Rugby this afternoon.
At the top level of the men’s game, the Premiership and National One clubs have been grouped together during section one of the season and then split into four regional conferences – Glasgow/West, Edinburgh, the Borders and Caledonia (ie Stirling northwards) – with teams within each conference playing each other on a home and away basis, and the top team in each conference qualifying for the end of season national cup competition.
There will then be a second section to the season where the Premiership and National One clubs will be kept apart, but still split into two conferences which are as localised as possible. The winners of these conferences will also progress to the cup competition, and if the team which finishes top of a conference has already qualified for the cup then the runner-up in the conference will take that spot.
It is a fairly confusing format but SRU President Ian Barr believes it provides the best opportunity for clubs to enjoy something approaching a full and meaningful 2020-21 season.
“I am really pleased clubs can now see what the season ahead looks like and they can begin planning and looking forward to playing competitive matches again,” said Barr. “I know a huge amount of work has gone into getting us to this point and I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to what was a complex and challenging process.
“Our hope is that teams can play as much rugby as possible in the circumstances and we encourage them to take a common sense approach to fulfilling fixtures and ensuring the sport can resume safely, at every level. I would also like to extend my thanks to Tennent’s and Mitsubishi Motors for their continued invaluable support.”
For an explanation of how the Tennent’s Light Men’s season is going to be structured and the full fixture schedule: CLICK HERE.
Tennent’s Light Women’s season fixtures: CLICK HERE
Club Youth Competition fixtures: CLICK HERE
Girls Development Competition fixtures: CLICK HERE
Schools Competition fixtures: CLICK HERE
Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development Sheila Begbie added: “It is really pleasing to be able to share the fixture list for the 2020/21 season with all our clubs and schools today. It marks a very positive step and one that I know a great many people have contributed to across the game, and in our Rugby Development department, and for that I’d like to thank everyone involved.
“We are still taking a cautious approach and are committed to supporting the public health guidelines set out by the government. I wish all the teams the very best for the season ahead and hope we can have a safe and enjoyable return to rugby in the months to come.”