London Scottish hope to be part of ‘Super8’ for 2022-23 season

Scottish Rugby state that while conversations are at an advanced stage, no concrete plan has been resolved

London Scottish won the Melrose 7s in 2019, and they could be back at The Greenyards playing Super8 rugby next year. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
London Scottish won the Melrose 7s in 2019, and they could be back at The Greenyards playing Super8 rugby next year. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

LONDON SCOTTISH hope to join an expanded Super6 [Super8] for the 2022-23 season, with a letter from the club’s Executive Committee and Board sent to membership today [Friday] stating that an informal offer has been extended to the Richmond-based outfit by Scottish Rugby. The other new team in the league will be based in Glasgow, apparently.

Scottish Rugby has distanced itself from the suggestion that anything concrete has been agreed, although positive conversations have taken place on the matter. Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson has made no secret of his desire to grow the league, and is keen to establish a sporting and commercial base in London. It is understood that Malcolm Offord – who recently resigned as a Board member of both London Scottish and Scottish Rugby after being made Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland – has been central to negotiations.

“The Super Six is proving to be a successful competition in Scotland and the Clubs just voted to expand it at the recent AGM and the SRU Board and Council have approved the Executive strategy to expand the tournament to 8 teams in season 22-23,” said the letter.


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“The SRU wish these two teams to be based in Glasgow and London, therefore London Scottish has been invited to join Super8 in season 22-23. Preliminary discussions between SRU and RFU CEOs indicate that ‘the RFU cannot think of any reason why they would stop London Scottish playing in Super8 so long as the amateur club remains rooted in the London community’. 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.

“Also, from a financial perspective, each Super 8 team will receive £150k support from SRU, plus all of the travel costs will be covered. This is the same amount that we are currently getting in the Championship, although based on the current spending cuts this is by no means guaranteed going forward. We also believe that a salary cap will be imposed which will be much closer to what we are currently spending on the squad – therefore making us much more competitive in the new structure.

“The League will consist of 7 Home matches and 7 Away matches comprising Melrose, Heriots, Watsonians, Boroughmuir, Stirling County, Glasgow and Ayr. These matches will be played in blocks around the two International windows of Autumn and Spring. From the initial feedback we have received, Scottish teams are keen to play matches in London and will bring supporters. Home supporters from the Scottish Diaspora will enjoy LS playing high level Scottish teams instead of mid-level English teams.

“To put this into perspective, 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 4 or 5 in England.

 

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“At this stage the SRU have provisionally offered London Scottish a place in the new look Super8, which will be formally ratified, hopefully by the end of December. From our understanding the initial ‘franchise’ will be for a period of 3 years, with the potential for the format to be expanded to the Super10. The final details are still being discussed but from what we understand there will be a salary cap (adjusted for LS to take into account London weighting) and which is within our current budget structure. The SRU have offered to pay for all associated travel expenses for all teams involved.

“The current requirement for the Super8 is that 75% of the squad be Scottish qualified – but we expect that initially, we will receive some sort of dispensation in order to facilitate our transition to this requirement. However, we believe by having a clearly defined pathway for Anglo Scottish qualified players – this will provide an attractive proposition of young players who have aspiration to be seen and watched by senior Scottish coaches.”

The letter also explained that the club plans to continue as tenants at Richmond Athletic Ground for the “foreseeable future” and are in discussions to extend our agreement with owners Richmond RFC.

“However, this is only one part of the Club’s overall structure and we also need to take into consideration the Lions who are effectively the 1st XV of the Amateur Club, along with the Mini’s, Juniors and Colts who also make up a substantial part of the Club,” the letter added. “We believe that in order to get RFU approval for us joining the Super 8, they will want the rest of the Club to remain within the English Club and community structure. To this end, it is imperative that we find a new ‘home’ for the remainder of the Club to establish a base from which we can grow and develop.”


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About David Barnes 2679 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.

46 Comments

  1. Great to see the possibility of Scottish coming to the fore again. However this will put strains on the seven (?) teams based in Scotland. Strains financially and in terms of time for players who all have jobs or studies to contend with in addition to their rugby.

    • these are the same strains as have applied from the start of S6, no change for existing teams. Its semi professional, but with a salary cap.

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  2. I was a London Scottish ticket holder for more than 20 years back in the day when they were playing elite rugby in England’s top tier. But I was also virtually the only supporter to travel to away fixtures such as Northampton – hardly a huge distance away. In fact the club was so poorly supported that the tannoy man used to announce that ‘for those wishing to attend next week’s away game, a small car will be leaving the ground five hours before kick-off and spaces are still available’ (no lie). When the club got sold down the river by Tiarks and was busted down seven divisions, I then found myself standing virtually alone in places such as a muddy field somewhere in Sussex or outside the gates of Wormwood Scrubs (London Nigerian) supporting the boys at venues even closer to home. Climbing their way back up to the second tier with successive promotions, I was dismayed to see them not play last season and to be embarrassingly uncompetitive this year. What the future holds I do not know, but the chronic lack of support has always been London Scottish’s Achilles heel and I don’t know how this move is going to address that. A sad situation for a club that has produced more Scotland internationals than any other.

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  3. I still feel that before we look to expand we should be given the facts and figures for attendances at the super6 as it stands. I myself have enjoyed the Super6 and feel that at least here in the Borders it has been reasonably well attended and we have probably been
    pleasantly surprised by the standard.

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  4. I believe Hodgson had played a handful of games for Edinburgh but Thompson and Sykes had no pro rugby experience and then went on to get pro deals at Glasgow and Edinburgh and now they are Scotland caps.

    Would they still have got pro deals and Scotland caps had they spent that year playing in the prem? Maybe, but they played super six.

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  5. Will be interesting to see who is awarded “franchise” in Glasgow. GHA, who proposed the vote at the AGM to abolish Super 6, and create a new inter district championship? Or Hawks, who although continuing to attract a lot of young talent, aiming for pro rugby, appear to be without a real solid home – Balgray for 1st xv, Lochinch for 2nd xv – and from what I have seen when attending games, have one of the smallest regular crowds in premiership

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    • Hawks may have the smallest support in the Premiership, but they are the Club that has prepared the most players for the professional game and the Scottish international team.
      George Horne, Ross Thomson, Scott Cumming, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Grant Stewart.The super6 is intended to be the vehicle to develop the talented young players for a future as a career in the game. Not just a competition for clubs that can afford to be in it and win it with imported mercenaries. Glasgow is now a rugby desert but doesn’t need a manufactured Club run by the Union

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      • Robert, Hawks have done well but tell me how many of those players you listed came through the Hawks academy, as opposed to being “placed” with Hawks to aid their development? I think you have few “placed” right now, yet still complain?

        I genuinely find Hawks position on Super 6 odd and inconsistent. Hawks bid for a franchise (or in your terms, bid for a manufactured club) first time round. Then when they failed proposed to abolish S6. Frankly that looks a bit churlish – and I say that as someone who had hoped their bid had been successful.

        I again genuinely hope they will put their toys back in the pram and bid for a Glasgow based franchise.

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  6. Commode – what is this “Scottish Rugby Blog podcast” to which you refer? WTF is a “podcast”, anyway? For the life of me, notwithstanding many years of executive involvement at the SRU (and work with the WRU & RFU) followed by professorial academic engagement in the field of sports management at one of Scotland’s premier universities, I cannot recall personally having ever come across either species.

    Is it something with a purpose created out of the Murrayfield midden, complete with a delicate aroma designed to indoctrinate, to pacify doubters and to quell unrest, while offering reassurance to the great unwashed hordes of hopelessly uncritical, unquestioning Scottish Rugby-supporting diehards? Or are you simply stirring what is already there, deep down in your insides, Commode?

    On reflection Commode, as you were – please don’t bother to respond. The very thought of the ghastly stench of a typical riposte from you already fries the imagination of decent people.

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    • What the article fails to say is that this is a discussion that the SRU are having with several Clubs in order to ascertain potential interest in participating in an extended Super6/8. From what I understand the London Scottish members ‘newsletter’ was to seek their input and thoughts on such a venture. The conversations between the SRU and all Clubs, including LS have been at an informal level and no details have been agreed or formalised.

    • what is this podcast of which you speak. Now that did make me laugh. Nothing like being in touch with the modern world LOL

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      • Who are these irrelevant, misquoting, distorted ignoramuses? And, not that it matters – wtf are you, hiding behind that alias?

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      • @Commodoreneil – based on his last post here he has an excellent mirror but double vision in each eye

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    • Well, Commode – I got bored after a couple of minutes of their uninformed sniggering.

      Clearly lacking a single brain cell between the 4 neanderthal gargoyles appearing on screen – who are these ignorant, uneducated, misquoting, misrepresenting dipsticks?

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    • Great Post Ron. Chucking out some childish insults whilst still articulating what a dinosaur you are with your combination of views and ignorance.

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    • Yes Ron, Podcasts were invented by the SRU as means of a propaganda tool. They have managed to create over 2 million podcasts listened to by almost 400 million people world wide. Mocking an entire media platforms doesnt really do your argument any favours.

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  7. It’s exciting to see the competition grow but it feels its easier to ignore making inroads into the vast untapped parts of Scotland than is just to plump for Edinburgh and London (where finance is easier). Also imagine the rivalry if you backed another Borders club. The rugby was entertaining but it’s a better spectacle with a large crowd. Just look at the difference in watching Edinburgh now and when they were at Murrayfield.

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    • finance is easier in some areas but there is a salary cap and equal SRU funding (except maybe some London weighting allowance) so its not quite the issue it would be for a fully professional team with a full squad. But it is an issue

      I would personally prefer to see expansion into other parts of Scotland, but I recognise that eg Dundee isn’t interested at this point, that Aberdeen couldn’t get the finances sorted last time (that was a surprise and maybe an indication of wider problems out)

      What I don’t know at this point is what discussions were had or feelers put out to others – the LS stuff was supposed to be in confidence.

      As to another borders team, maybe but expansion elsewhere should be prioritised over that. I’ve mentioned Aberdeen and Dundee, and its quite amazing that there was no Glasgow franchise first time round.
      For now I’d like to see local teams support the franchise in their area as much as they can, view it as part of the (local) pathway upwards for their best and brightest

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  8. Surely anything that can be done to improve the reach and exposure of the Super (add your prefered #)s is to be applauded. Obviously it would be good to include at least one northern Scottish club in this but only if they would be suitably set up for it as opposed to for the sake of it. I think that it should also be possible for clubs to be relgated from the Super series if they fail to maintain the required levels that initially gained them entry, giving another club the chance to gain entry if they are able to meet the entry criteria.

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  9. For some time many people have been advocating for London Scottish to be a more integral part of Scottish Rugby, returning to the role they proudly held back in the amateur days, however formerly the response from EH12 seemed to be patchy and inconsistent, that is why I found it a bit surprising that the article suggested that Dodson was in favour of bringing Scottish back into the fold in some fashion as all of a sudden he wanted a ’London’ involvement, who other than LS could that involve: London Welsh!
    Another aspect that I found surprising was the comment ‘London Scottish were looking forward to playing at a ‘higher level’ than the level 4 or 5’ down South. Well that is a surprising comment they are not playing lower level teams, at present they are level 2 however they are at the bottom of the English Championship whereas in former seasons they were at least off the bottom to a degree and the suggestion that they consider that they will fall to level 4 or 5 is a concern not to say rather defeatist.
    Last Saturday I should have been at Ealing for their 150th Centenary Anniversary Dinner, sadly I was unable to travel but at least I avoided one of my former Clubs, Ealing putting 100+ points on London Scottish another former club of mine.
    The Championship in England have several contenders to rise to the Premiership, if allowed, and Ealing have been front runners for some time along with Cornish Pirates, frankly the Greene King Championship is a very strong level, for those that are unaware the next level up are Quins, Bath, Wasps etc., all the usual suspects and frankly from observing some of the Super 6 games I think LS might well be finding the opposition in general terms more manageable than the league they are holding up at present.
    There is a concern in the point made by London Scottish regarding the amateur side of the club splitting physically as it looks as if they will end up going down the Road to Esher and ground-sharing, not a good prospect in some respects.

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    • George, the letter goes on to say that the amateur part of the club is investigating setting up base in Chiswick so a groundshare at Esher looks unlikely although of course nothing is definite.

      • That might be the old Civil Service Ground at Chiswick perhaps: very good Teas on Sunday fixtures. There was some sort of connection with Esher in the past, just one of those assumptions that it would continue. Thank you for the additional information.

      • Sorry George I should have given more detail. The grounds being considered are the Quintin Hogg Memorial Ground and the Kings House Sports Ground which are I believe next to each other.

        The connection with Esher was a couple of years ago when LS were planning to leave the Athletic Ground and groundshare with Esher whilst they found themselves a new ground. This was announced to the press as a proposed move but nothing was actually signed. LS then got a better deal to remain at the Athletic Ground and some at Esher wondered if the proposed groundshare was just a bargaining tool.

  10. Not unexpected but this is a poor way to learn about this move. Though seems to be the standard these days. The clubs are the last ones to be informed of developments.

    A few thoughts

    The clubs did no such thing at the AGM. The motion from GHA was defeated. That was about stoping S6. Nothing about any expansion.

    It is really quite remarkable during Cop26 for this news to emerge. I saw a tweet from Murrayfield yesterday extolling their no landfill waste from the recent Tonga match. Well done. Now we are sanctioning 7 trips to London for 30+ people a time and 7 trips for LS to consul here. Really environmentally aware there chaps.

    It would also seem that the rules for S6/8 are being adjusted again. Perhaps embarrassed by the sides touting for players in other countries by specifying a Scottish qualification ratio?

    Scottish Rugby will cover the travel cost! Well done guys. More money into the S8 pot.

    And the lose use of “franchise” in the letter. Thankfully they used quotation marks as it’s a licensing operation and not a franchise. The entities participating in S6/8 would be better protected if it was really a franchise right enough.

    That there is to be a team from London in this competition and nothing north of Stirling is a pretty damning indictment.

    We wait to see what this “Glasgow” team will be – is it the reputed playing out of Scotstoun or are the Glasgow clubs being asked to bid?

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    • It’s a move by Scottish Rugby Union Ltd Neil. The SRU had no input into this at all.

      No I don’t see many positives here. S6 already struggling to get players so let’s add another 70ish players. And the cost of this will escalate massively.

      That it’s a cheap way of creating a pro side we can’t afford has merit. What the participating entities get out if it beats me.

      LS need to sort things for themselves. As a defensive move I see the rationale – ie not that keen to slip further down the English pyramid. But accessing more players from London could be helpful.

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  11. 1. Salary cap adjusted for London weighting, eh? Nice little loophole!

    2. Given the pressure on sport to behave in a socially responsible manner, how green are the credentials of a Governing Body that appears determined to increase both the domestic and international travel requirements of squads & teams under its aegis?

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  12. I see Mr Barnes has conveniently omitted the part of the letter which says NOTHING, repeat NOTHING has been agreed and asks LS members to keep this confidential. No agenda here, obviously.

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    • What agenda? To report a legitimate news story which was sent out by London Scottish to a huge circulation list, it seems, including several journalists? Guilty.

      At no point in the letter does it state ‘NOTHING’ has been agreed and at no point in the article do I state that anything has been agreed. The fact that we state in the first paragraph that the offer is informal acknowledges that this is not finalised.

      It is very clear that this is the preferred option of the Executive Board and Council at London Scottish and of Scottish Rugby, and if it is not then I am happy to report somebody from either of these organisations saying so.

      I’m not a London Scottish member, so why would I not publish?

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      • I think having had sight of the letter, you are perfectly within your rights to public a public interest story.
        I may have missed it, but I did not see a reference in your article that the recipients of the letter were being told it was all in confidence. If I missed it, down to me, if it isn’t there, maybe it should have been, but its not a huge issue either way

    • Chiel – return & read the bit at the top of the article, for your sought-after enlightenment!

      First flagged up a week ago on the facebook “WTF is it about Scottish Rugby” page, this proposal is going to be a big ask, because of LS’s basket-case condition, both financially and on the field of play at RFU Championship level, where they are (to be generous) currently propping up the table……

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      • Commode – what is this “Scottish Rugby Blog podcast” to which you refer? WTF is a “podcast”, anyway? For the life of me, notwithstanding many years of executive involvement at the SRU (and work with the WRU & RFU) followed by professorial academic engagement in the field of sports management at one of Scotland’s premier universities, I cannot recall personally having ever come across either species.

        Is it something with a purpose created out of the Murrayfield midden, complete with a delicate aroma designed to indoctrinate, to pacify doubters and to quell unrest, while offering reassurance to the great unwashed hordes of hopelessly uncritical, unquestioning Scottish Rugby-supporting diehards? Or are you simply stirring what is already there, deep down in your insides, Commode?

        On reflection Commode, as you were – please don’t bother to respond. The very thought of the ghastly stench of a typical riposte from you already fries the imagination of decent people.

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    • Well at least Mr. Barnes puts his name to his articles, presumably there is no ‘agenda’ in denying the World and this forum the knowledge of yours.

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  13. Who said this Super 6 thing was successful ?.
    I can think of only 1 person .
    No crowds .no interest from proper rugby people .

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    • Who is the one person??

      I know lots of people who have enjoyed it, I thought it was a great competition with lots of competitive games, displaying a high level of rugby.

      Also the three former super six players who made their Scotland debuts last weekend possibly consider it to be successful.

      I guess I must not be a ‘proper rugby person’

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      • Excuse my potential lack of knowledge but were not the three players you mentioned established players in Pro-team squads being ‘lent down’ to a Super6 side?
        If that is the case it does change the picture somewhat.

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    • Only person to say this is successful is Dodson .
      He has to it was his call.
      This will definitely go belly up with big financial losses
      mark my words it’s a Dodson folly .

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  14. It is just flabbergasting.
    No negotiation with anyone else. The north of scotland, once a bastion of hard edged rugby teams like Dundee, Gordonians and now Aberdeen is being ignored yet again…..quite jaw dropping.
    Will london be yet another costly failure,like the last time, i wish i was a betting man.
    The Borders, the heartbeat of Scottish rugby, not properly considered for a second side or reconfiguring of the difficult relationshp between its s6 ‘knights’ and the clubs that become drained of homebred and homenurtured talent to feed the greater ‘good’ of semipro rugby.
    Glasgow to be given a team…only 5 years too late…and why only 1?
    Oh and the 3 in auld reekie can carry on, boroughmuur sadly seem to be struggling on all fronts given the 3 teams’ league positions yet they are to be patted on the head and told to ‘carry on up the s6’.
    It may be one person’s fiefdom but how much collaboration and thought go into it, how much democracy?
    I speak as an individual, not for Hrfc, but what a disaster befalls us it seems to me. The men’s scottish game is all about professionals ,and so clubland can just get on decimated in numbers as it is , to struggle on in the face of disinterest from those keen to ensure an s8 ….with tv rights the golden goose ahead of men n women playing on a saturday in parks and on muddy pitches in easily forgotten towns.
    Oh and why not make it an S10 with teams in new york and cape town surely that folly must be the next ploy.

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    • Aberdeen didn’t want a team in the S6 so hardly ignored. The Dundee clubs have now merged into Dundee Rugby but them getting enough resources together for a S? franchise is way down the line.

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      • Aberdeen weren’t in a position to put a bid in. Which is different to not wanting to. We really need to get a bit more accurate in this comments section.

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      • The DHSFP bid to join S6 was underfunded by at least £100k through their own admission. How do I know this – they presented to Midland clubs in their proposal. Long on aspiration and zero credibility of it actually happening.

        They also highlighted the challenge it would be getting players to come to Dundee. Exacerbated by their view that only 3-5 of their current players would make the grade.

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  15. “The current requirement for the Super8 is that 75% of the squad be Scottish qualified – but we expect that initially, we will receive some sort of dispensation in order to facilitate our transition to this requirement”

    Meaning time to get rid of those not ethnically Scottish?

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    • That is completely outrageous.

      Perhaps we should just scrap international sport and pick anyone to play for National sides?

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  16. London Scottish will be a welcome addition and I do hope this goes ahead. Still it’s hugely disappointing that S8 will stretch south of the Thames but not north of the Forth.

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