CLUBS in National Leagues Two and Three are set to follow National One by calling for a 12-month postponement of Super 6, putting further pressure on the SRU to revise the timetable for the introduction of the new league.
Super 6 is scheduled to start next season, and it is understood that licence agreements between the half-dozen clubs involved and the SRU have now been signed, with the names of the six head coaches to be announced shortly. But if the move by the National Two and Three clubs is formalised, that would essentially mean 40 out of the 46 top clubs in the country [i.e. all apart from the clubs involved in Super 6] are in favour of postponement.
The clubs in National League One made the request at the end of October, and the ‘forgotten four’ Premiership clubs who are not involved in Super 6 – Currie Chieftains, Edinburgh Accies, Glasgow Hawks and Hawick – are understood to be in wholehearted support of this motion, although they have not yet officially shown their hands.
According to a letter sent to all relevant clubs yesterday [Friday], a debate at the National League Two and Three Forum Meeting at Murrayfield on Wednesday evening invoked “a number of calls from the floor for our Council representatives to be mandated ‘there and then’ to convey to Council a formalised statement of support for the call made by the National One Clubs Forum to postpone the introduction of Super 6 for a period of 12 months”.
It was explained at the meeting that the constitution of the forum dictates that any such mandate could not be given without due notice and time for consideration being provided in advance to all the clubs in those two leagues.
In response, three forum delegates – Keith Wallace (Haddington), Bill Faulds (Falkirk) and Stephen Fairbairn (Preston Lodge) – were asked to prepare a note to be circulated to all relevant clubs, seeking “the views of all our forum members on this extremely important yet obviously contentious matter”.
In the correspondence sent out yesterday, each member club of the forum was asked to answer two questions in order to ascertain a clear understanding of where the clubs stand on this issue.
In the first question, respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement –
That, until a full assessment and agreement is reached of both the outcomes of the recent club surveys and the forthcoming “MacColl Recommendations” by the National 2 & 3 Clubs Forum, we call upon our Forums’ Council representatives to petition the SRU Council forthwith to seek a delay to the proposed introduction of the “Super 6” concept.
In the second question, respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement –
That, specifically, in the event that the “Super 6” concept is introduced (whenever), those club sides associated to or forming part of any “Super 6” franchise be not permitted to play in any national club league unless or until such is specifically agreed by the Clubs at AGM / SGM.
Faulds [one of the authors of the email] said he was not looking to cause a breach with Scottish Rugby, but he fears that the wide range of concerns about the impact of Super 6, particularly regarding where the ‘2nd XVs’ or ‘Club XVs’ of these teams should be placed in the new domestic league structure, has created too much confusion over a fairly fundamental issue, leading to a lack of cohesion in the clubs’ response.
“I’m doing this to see if I can get the National League clubs to align,” he said.
The Scottish Rugby Council Standing Committee on Governance – under Independent Chair Gavin MacColl, QC – was asked after the SRU’s AGM at the start of August to investigate the current domestic league structure and recommend an alternative which better suits the current Scottish game. MacColl has issued two surveys to clubs so far, and met with the Premiership, National One and National Two/Three League Forums on Wednesday evening.
However, the SRU have simultaneously shown a lack of sensitivity to the situation by aggressively pushing forward with plans to expand Super 6 already, with a letter being sent to clubs in Glasgow on Monday asking them to express an interest in applying for membership.
If the National Two and Three forum gains something close to universal support – as is expected – for a postponement to the launch of Super 6, that would mean that as many as 40 of the top 46 clubs in the country have supported the move.
And senior figures at a number of these clubs have warned that should the SRU continue to push ahead with their plans without entering into meaningful engagement with all the clubs effected then a significant constitutional crisis is on the cards.