London Scottish announce strategic partnership with Harlequins

Deal appears to have killed off the prospect of Richmond outfit joining an expanded Super6

London Scottish have announced a strategic partnership with Harlequins. Image: © Craig Watson -
London Scottish have announced a strategic partnership with Harlequins. Image: © Craig Watson -

LONDON SCOTTISH have formed a strategic partnership with English Premiership sides Harlequins, which appears to have killed off the possibility of the Richmond-based club joining an extended Super6.

“As part of the agreement, Harlequins will share specific rugby players and access to coaching resource with London Scottish,” said a statement issued by the club this afternoon. “This will provide an invaluable playing opportunity for the selected players, as well as growth and development experience for the coaching resource.

“In turn, London Scottish players and support staff will benefit from the expertise of these shared resources creating a development pathway that will see the team aim to improve its Championship position.”

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This news comes less than six months after the London Scottish Executive Committee and Board sent a letter to the club’s membership stating that an informal offer has been extended by Scottish Rugby to join an extended Super6 competition for season 2022-23. While it was stated in the letter that nothing had been finalised, and that a full consultation with the membership would take place, joining the new part-time professional league north of the border was presented as the preferred option in that communication.

“This would allow London Scottish to return to our roots as providing a player pathway for Scottish Qualified Players born or living in England to play rugby for Scotland,” said that letter.

“The playing standard will be equivalent to National 1 & 2 which we believe will be a higher level than London Scottish will achieve within the English League structure. It will also mean by playing in the Scottish leagues with a Scottish Qualified Pathway, there will be more commercial interest to our sponsors and investors and our key commercial stakeholders have indicated they would rather support Super8 than Level four or five in England.”

However, a week is a long time in Scottish sport and six months is a lifetime.

“I am thrilled to announce this milestone agreement between two established and thriving rugby clubs,” said London Scottish Chairman Roddy Caxton-Spencer in today’s communication. “For Scottish, partnering with Quins is an important step in our longer-term strategy of continuing to play top level rugby in the Championship while maintaining our strong Scottish ethos. This agreement is about more than just shared players and resources – it is a real win-win for both clubs that will allow all involved to grow and develop.”

London Scottish Club President Paul Burnell added: “This outstanding agreement is purpose built so that both clubs’ benefit from an extended partnership – while also allowing the freedom for each club to develop and respect each’s own distinct culture and rugby style. I am very excited to see how this develops over the course of the next three years.”

As part of the agreement, the clubs will regularly play pre-season friendly matches at each other’s grounds, commencing this summer with London Scottish hosting Harlequins at the Richmond Athletic Ground (RAG).

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About David Barnes 3995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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. I’m struggling to understand why would London Scottish would ever have wanted to be in S6? Surely the bigger opportunity is in the much bigger market within which they currently operate? If they can’t make good of that, what would be the point in playing in a league that is based 350 miles away? A stepping stone to becoming a third SRU pro-team? I wouldn’t bet the house on that and it seems to me like common sense has prevailed here.

  2. I know it’s yet another Ayrshire team, but,in terms of ability & ambition, Marr would be a great addition to a S8.
    Spreading the net as far as London almost defeatist.

  3. Ron, it’s not going to happen now but it made every sense for LS to join the Super 6 before this happened. Their travel in the English championship was no easier than travelling up to Glasgow or Edinburgh.

    • “Made every sense for LS to join Super6”

      Really? Transport 7 teams to London to play in a Scottish rugby competition.

      LS seemingly could only play on Saturdays which is a tad unfair to the other teams.

      It is curious that there seems to be a regular shifting of the goalposts with Super6. Dodson announces intention to increase teams to 8; GMs fully funded by Murrayfield for another £240k; sprint competition??

      Good for Heriots that it’s all working so swimmingly. Maybe you can share your good practice with the other Super teams who seem to be having some financial issues – go check the launch interviews where Boroughmuir, Stirling and Melrose all cite financial constraints

    • And, for the part-time / semi-professional Scottish-based expanded-S6 teams travelling to Londinium…? Two sides to this equation, Iain.

      No – me neither! Thankfully, a bunch of new logistical / financial problems avoided.

  4. Perhaps Stade Nicois or Old Glory can buy the spare 8th franchise now using the assets SRU have ploughed into them.

    • Money no object, Paul! SRU still sits on 90% of the Scottish Government’s £20 million Covid bailout funding, yet to be distributed to the intended recipients, i.e. “rugby clubs and organisations across Scotland”.

  5. Which maybe explains why there isn’t more news on expansion to Super 8?

    Good luck to LS in their new venture.

    • Them working with Harlequins ( which I think is brilliant news for LS) is very similar the roles of the Super 6 working with our two pro sides. As we enter the end of our 2nd year, badly interrupted by Covid as all our club game has I don’t think there is a rush to expand the Super 6. It would have been exciting to have had LS in the Super 6 but that leaves the door open for other clubs.

      • If you spare a moment to consider the practicalities Iain, it would be an unsustainable financial / logistical burden to incorporate LS into a home & away fixtures S6 competition involving part-time semi-professional players.


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