Opinion: ‘Scotland needs a joined-up domestic rugby strategy’

GHA Director of Rugby Rangi Jericevich sets out his argument for reinstating a modernised version of the Inter-District Championship

Action from the South versus Caledonia match played in front of a big crowd at Riverside Park in 2016. Image: Steven Rennie
Action from the South versus Caledonia match played in front of a big crowd at Riverside Park in 2016. Image: Steven Rennie

Rangi Jericevich is Director of Rugby for Premiership club GHA. GHA  have proposed a motion for this August’s AGM calling for a modernised version of the Inter-District Championship to be introduced from 2022-23 onwards, to replace of Super6 as the principal conduit between the club and professional game. Here he sets out his arguments in favour of the motion.

THE Motion tabled at the 2021 SRU AGM to reinstate a modernised version of the Inter-District Championship will, if supported, help forge a way forward for rugby in Scotland that puts the growth of our game at the heart of our domestic competition strategy.

There can be no question that participation levels within the adult male game in particular have been in decline for several years. Some clubs are faring better than others, but it is in all of our interest to ensure that the game thrives wherever it has a foothold and gains a foothold wherever it can thrive. In terms of rugby economics, the number of people playing the game is the bottom line figure that matters more than anything. It is therefore imperative that our governing body recognises its role in maintaining the correct market conditions for growth. What can not be ignored is the importance of our competition structures in facilitating this. We must ensure that the ecosystem within which we operate provides clubs with a fair opportunity to progress at all levels.

The creation of a closed domestic league featuring six centrally funded part-time professional teams at six of our member clubs causes a distorting and destructive monopoly effect. It is inevitable that these six clubs will become a focal point for attention and investment, indeed this was specified as being part of the strategy from the outset. Whilst in the short term it may seem logical to some to concentrate the top club players and SRU resources into a handful of clubs in order to improve playing standards, what are the wider, long term implications of this strategy?


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In this extract from the autobiography of legendary French cyclist Lauren Fignon, he bemoans decisions made by the governing body of French Cycling under the tenure of Dennis Baal at the turn of the 21st century and it provides a useful insight. In his words:

“Baal wanted to restructure French Cycling to focus on major clubs that developed young riders. Big ‘centres’. That decision reduced the base of the pyramid to the part that corresponded to that idea, ignoring the fact that the clubs which are best at recruiting are the little provincial set-ups, in the villages and often supported by small local sponsors. Until then they had the chance to bring on champions of their own and hang on to them for a few years. Then, thanks to regional and national squads, those at the base gradually worked their way to the top, without the small clubs ever suffering. All this was wrecked, more or less. The young riders moved on from the small clubs too quickly, without having the chance to be toughened up and to nourish the spinal column of the sport as they develop. The outcome is that the base does not radiate out as widely as before. By cutting off growth at the lowest level, the top will automatically end up in a state of drought.”

Whilst cycling and rugby are not equivalent, there is an important lesson here that we should heed. What Fignon highlights are the consequences of moving away from a joined up, more fluid and meritocratic system, to one of elitism and top down control.  In Scottish Rugby we are already well down this path, even before Super6 was launched.

The decision to establish Super6 was taken on a false premise that the Premiership was “not fit for purpose”. The question has to be asked – what purpose was it not fit for? Scotland have eight players selected in the British & Irish Lions, the pinnacle of our sport for a Scottish player, and six of the eight have played club rugby in the Premiership. Indeed, Finn Russell, one of the best stand-offs in the world, started his senior career at Falkirk in the third division. Perhaps their grounding in club rugby helped them develop a love and appreciation for the game that aided their journey?  It certainly hasn’t held them back.

Without a representative system at senior level we have seen players moving, often at Scottish Rugby’s encouragement, to ‘bigger’ clubs only to struggle to get game time at first team level. Whilst it is only natural that players may look to move clubs in order to play at a higher level, what representative rugby undoubtedly does is mitigate against this by ensuring that players, wherever they play, have that opportunity to progress without the necessity to move clubs as at present. This is an important detail.

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If we want to increase the number of players graduating from our club game into professional rugby it is logical that we must first focus on increasing the talent pool.  More players creates stronger competition both within our clubs and between our clubs, and standards will also go up as a consequence. The fact of the matter is, only a privileged few will ever play professional rugby but what representative rugby gives to players is something else to aspire to, as well as providing that stepping stone for those who have what it takes.

No one would argue that having the opportunity to be selected for Scotland does not motivate our top professional players. No one would argue that having the opportunity to be selected for the British & Irish Lions does not motivate our top international players. And the same goes for our club players and providing them with an opportunity to represent their District in a competition that is part of our heritage. It does not detract from club rugby, it complements it.

The Motion itself states that:

“A consultation on the format and criteria for participation in the Inter District Championship should be instigated by the SRU Council… The competition format and timing should take into consideration the needs of the player development pathway and the objectives of the role currently fulfilled by Super 6.”

Clearly, the format for an Inter-District Competition needs to be adjusted to work in the current era. It is not for us as the Motion proposers to decide what the outcome of that consultation should be and everyone, including the high performance department, should have an input into that.

It is already being planned that Super6 will be extended to Super10 by the end of the current license period. Why then can we not have a 10 team Premiership, with promotion and relegation into it, and then install a District competition at the end of the season?  An 18 game league season followed by a six to eight game District Programme can work. This is one scenario, there are plenty of options.

Compare that to now, where we have a significant number of Super6 players not playing any rugby every week and even at that, many are getting very little game time. Let them play club rugby and then be selected, on merit, based on their club performances.  We now have Super6 teams actively recruiting non-Scottish Qualified players as there are apparently not enough Scottish Qualified players of adequate standard to fill their rosters. Let’s move to a model that works, rather than persisting with one that doesn’t and which will cause long lasting damage to our sport.

 

A representative competition will generate interest and support across every club in each District. Sold-out hospitality, big crowds, the pressure this adds gives the competition an added edge. This is the environment in which to test our best players.

To have a player selected bestows an honour on the club(s) through which they have graduated. As for the players, not only do they benefit from their involvement but when that player then returns to his club he brings back that experience to his club team, which will aid and inspire others. There is also the opportunity for games to be shared around grounds in each District. Every game becomes a big event for the club and community that hosts it.

If the past year or more has taught us anything, it is that rugby clubs can, and do, play a vital role in the lives of the communities that they serve. Our influence extends far beyond the game itself and what is clear is that there is a solid foundation and kinship on which we can collectively build back stronger. As Fignon so eloquently points out, having the right structure in place is fundamental to this and in my view, reinstating District rugby will be a turning point in reinvigorating grassroots rugby to the benefit of the game at all levels.


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About Rangi Jericevich 2 Articles
Rangi started out his rugby journey in the North East with Garioch RFC in Inverurie where he played from minis through to Under-18s. He played age grade rugby for Caledonia region. He joined GHA in Glasgow in 2002 when he was 17 where he has played his entire senior career and, as well as playing, has served on their Committee as Secretary and now Director of Rugby since 2011. He played a central role in helping revive Caledonia Reds in 2014 for a couple of games against the Co-optimists and Newcastle Falcons 'A', then was involved again with the organising of their games against the South in 2016 and 2017.

36 Comments

  1. The need to keep a broad base to the pyramid is amply illustrated in the present Under 20 national squad. Jamie Drummond (Auchinleck) Rory Jackson (Bishopton) Tom Glendinning (Kirkcaldy) Scott King (Prestonpans) and Michael Jones (Lasswade) have all started their rugby journeys away from the more celebrated conveyor belt of private schools and wealthy suburbs. The Independent schools are great hothouses for promising players to complete schooling with a big rugby focus, and the more scholarships we can get for young aspiring players to Dollar, Strathallan, Merchiston or Kelvinside, the better in my view. But without a vibrant grassroots, community game, in places like Auchinleck or Bishopton we will miss out on a serious amount of potential talent, quite apart from depriving these communities of the opportunity to benefit from the values and fitness of rugby.

  2. Its a good opinion piece.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Scotland is a small nation….much like Ireland and New Zealand. Yet Ireland and New Zealand have been able to create systems that have consistently produced world-class teams and players.

    The only question is….what are they doing that we are not?

    I know the answer to the Irish question as I coach and live here. Its well documented what my thoughts are on here. The New Zealand one is simple. It is literally sewn into the fabric of their culture. We won’t ever achieve that….but we can do better.

  3. a few good points – eg more numbers playing is key. But the conclusion that an inter-district fixes that is a delusion. Kids will be inspired by the big names, those they see on TV. I doubt a district player registers much beyond one club, if that.

    So a good point but an illogical conclusion drawn from it.
    Despite that I’d support an inter district, it does give club players something to aim for – and even act as a shop window for pro teams or S6 teams. But as an addition, not to replace S6

    When clubs competed cross border (B&I cup?) it was frankly embarrassing. Standard simply not good enough; hence S6. After well less than one season its nuts to chuck that

    I have to say this reminds me of the beginnings of pro rugby. Hawks wanted a club set up, did not like losing out to district based pro sides; now it looks like sour grapes because they did not get an S6 franchise (which FWIW I think they deserved)

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    • Ah the good old straw man argument there. Sceptic 9.

      My take away from this is how do we increase player numbers? I must have missed the but where Rangi says District rugby will fix this. The headline to this piece is a bit of a clue.

      • what is a straw man? Suggesting that an inter district will increase player numbers has nothing to support it.
        Fact is player numbers have been declining for a long time, here and elsewhere. And not just rugby. The world has moved on. The easy answers – well there are none. Kids have so many options that old guys never had, and rugby like it or not has a problem with safety – getting a different image about that out would do far more to get kids playing and keeping them than any other thing we can control.

        We need more kids playing in state schools. We cannot control the curriculum. We can or could have clubs playing bigger roles in outreach promotion and running minis etc etc – many do a great job, a few superb, others struggle in an ever decreasing downward spiral. Have a look at Hawks webpage and tell me what it says about mini rugby for example. Could be forgiven for thinking they think they don’t need to promote minis as they have their supply from the private schools

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      • the point is to increase player numbers going from club rugby to pro rugby. This is fine, but the way to do that is to have a higher standard of rugby. Premiership clubs were simply not that standard, so we needed something different. S6.

        The other way to have a higher standard is to have more players pushing each other for a place at every level. This would be the best option. But the best way to have competition for places is to have more players at all levels, and that starts at schoolboy level.

        I am in favour of a joined up strategy. Replacing S6 with inter district isn’t one, and certainly not before we have tested S6 first properly. That smells of knee jerk self interest

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      • noun: strawman
        1. An intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.
        “her familiar procedure of creating a straw man by exaggerating their approach”

        You claim the solution presented by Rangi is District rugby. He is saying Districts as part of a joined up strategy for club rugby.

        All those poor pros playing for Edinburgh and Glasgow and for the National side. Never having played S6 rugby must have been terrible for them.

        What’s still not clear to me is what was so broken with the Premiership? My understanding was that these players were also doing multiple training sessions and S&C, little different to what the S6 semi pros do.

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      • direct quote from the start of the article

        “There can be no question that participation levels within the adult male game in particular have been in decline for several years. Some clubs are faring better than others, but it is in all of our interest to ensure that the game thrives wherever it has a foothold and gains a foothold wherever it can thrive. In terms of rugby economics, the number of people playing the game is the bottom line figure that matters more than anything. ”

        some straw man, eh?

      • Dom if you do not know what was wrong with the old premiership then you never followed results when clubs played cross border. Nowhere near the standard of Welsh Prem or All Ireland League, too low a standard for players to step up, too low to convince they could. If we are serious about a pathway, that was just not acceptable

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      • I wonder what the point is in engaging with you.

        Your straw man was in claiming that Rangi’s solution for getting more players was district rugby. He didn’t say that nor make that claim.

        As for dredging up cross border rugby results from years ago as evidence of your argument is quite a stretch. But knock your self out champ as you seem to have all the answers.

    • Appreciate the comments Sceptic. FYI, Glasgow Hawks and GHA are two separate clubs. It is GHA who have proposed this Motion.

      The premise of the article in relation to our overall domestic game strategy is one I personally have been making since well before Super6 was announced. I can assure you it does not come from a place of self-interest but of a principled view on what drives participation and a belief that having the correct (merit based) competition structures is fundamental to this. Creating centrally funded Super clubs is, in my view, detrimental to the fabric of our sport as it naturally reduces the base of the pyramid, at least in the areas where these clubs are located. It’s a classic monopoly effect argument. A representative system, on the other hand, does not. So, for me, the argument that Super6 needs to be given a chance before we can judge it is analogous to saying that we need to run full speed into a brick wall before we can be sure that it will hurt. This is nothing against those clubs who have a Super6 team, clearly they are among the top club sides in Scotland whatever competition structure we have in place and that is because they have earned it. There is no reason why we can’t have a stronger club game and a stronger Premiership if we instead focus on what it takes to make our club game stronger – first and foremost, more players.

      Having a representative tier, as they have in NZ and South Africa, gives players the same opportunity as Super6 affords, but in a far more inclusive manner with what would be a more widely supported, high standard, and commercially viable tournament.

      I look forward to having the opportunity to propose the Motion at the upcoming AGM and giving the member clubs their rightful say on these matters.

      • and thank you for that reply.

        I understand where you are coming from and accept your motivations without qualification.
        I do beg to differ fundamentally however. The brick wall we already had – premiership that was frankly not a high enough standard to bridge the gap between club and pro rugby. I hope we can agree with that. From there a representative team is an incentive for players to play well – but too little game time together, either spread out across a season, or concentrated so as to have little impact on how players get a chance to step up. Something we should be aiming for is having players ready to step from club/S6 straight into a pro squad mid season. I don’t see your proposal enabling that, a key part of any pathway.
        S6 is semi professional. There is currently an SRU rule I think that there should be no player payments below that. Do you intend to have that over turned, a return to what we had previously? Chaos and unsustainability. Or only have totally amateur players in the “new” premiership?
        I get you opposed S6 from the off and why. That is your right of course. But the competition was approved, and should be given a chance to to prove itself. If others follow your example, someone who disagrees will be trying to change every change every year. More chaos, hardly a joined up strategy.

        And a district competition could sit atop of the premiership and afford that challenge. I can easily support that. You do mention participation levels in your article, as I said I don’t see a district comp replacing S6 doing much to address that, certainly no more than a district comp sitting alongside S6 and premiership. I do commend David Fergusson’s excellent article yesterday on this subject – the challenges on player numbers are far more basic that competition structure

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  4. Firstly, I support the recommendation/motion made by Rangi Jericevich. Let me approach and support his argument from a slightly different angle. Many rugby players and supporters will know the name Keiran Reid – former All Black number 8 & captain. What is admirable about Keiran and many other All Blacks is the fact that despite their fame and absolute class they still play for their CLUB sides. Keiran played for the Crusaders, but also played for Canterbury & Counties Manuua in the Mitre 10 club competition. This infers to me that there’s a vertical structure in place within New Zealand rugby and it has served their purposes for a very long time.
    Can you imagine the “so-called professional players” at Glasgow or Edinburgh slumming it and going back to their club sides? More than likely they have NO club affiliation or a very tenuous one – yet All Black internationalists have no qualms about returning to their roots and passing on some valuable insights into far reaches of the game. This would benefit our club teams enormously and develop plus inspire young rugby players to achieve better standards etc.
    Unless the clubs and their supporters advocate drastic action NOW and attempt to save our club rugby it will disappear within a very short timescale. The SRU, although supposedly acting on behalf of the clubs in thought only, we as supporters must endeavour to approach this problem with a radical solution. The clubs should no longer be part of the the current SRU, as this self-serving body only looks after themselves and those players at the top.The CEO of the SRU receiving close to a million pounds salary is both a scandal and a disgrace, when clubs rely on poultry revenues from club bars and other fund raising activities. An association of clubs (with no entanglements with the SRU) could be formed along with the Inter District tournament (NO Super 6 sides) and help develop players for the future.
    It is fair to say that Scotland is the only country with the current set-up and is also the LEAST successful the world over, whereas other rugby playing nations have remained true a club based structure to develop players for future honours. Scotland currently cherry picks the young players sends them to the SIS and then to a Pro team, without any form of apprenticeship in the rugby ranks. They will succeed regardless, as otherwise, the whole SRU scouting regime will collapse – it is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
    Until, we return to a club based structure at the bottom of the pyramid rugby in Scotland will gradually disappear. Club rugby is very seldom mentioned in the national press, the SRU do not provide the correct information for BBC Sport pages therefore the coverage is virtually zero!! Sorry, to sound pessimistic but unless we make adjustments NOW, the game we like may just disappear slowly. We have the right basics but we need new leadership for the future.

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  5. I think the ‘give S6 a chance’ argument overlooks the fact that many people object in principle to there being a closed-shop at the top of the club game. I thought the original concept was supposed to be multiple clubs tendering together for a franchise in their area, and no more than 2 franchises per district. Fair enough Melrose and Ayr have rebranded in an attempt to appeal to other local fans, but that just makes it even stranger when they’re in a league with 3 Edinburgh teams playing under their traditional club identities.

    MD said the biggest problem would be managing the disappointment of unsuccessful applicants. Well that just shows how flawed the process was. It created winners and losers, on grounds other than sporting merit. If a regional/ district comp has the potential to raise all clubs (not just a select few) then it should be given serious consideration.

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  6. Lockdown has sabotaged the test results but the mere fact that so much controversy surrounded super6 spoke volumes.

    For me it just never felt right but for reasons that were hard to fully explain, so Fignon’s cycling analogy extract nicely summed it up. You could also point to the failure of the national football team since the 10 club SPL was formed in 1998.

    International success will come and go, particularly for a small football obsessed nation like ours but the club game is the lifeblood.

    Curious that super6 finds so much support at Heriots however. I’d have thought a thriving club game with the school and related grass roots feeders at its heart would have more chance of filling the Goldenacre stand again but maybe not.

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    • You should get down to Goldenacre one evening and see how club rugby should be. Super 6 , Blues firsts and 2nds, 2 ladies teams all training at the same time. A full club house after training ( in normal times) a busy club house every Saturday.

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      • Thanks Iain. I’m very fond of Goldie. Just struggle with the s6 concept and gap between high costs of pro rugby and low level of investment in clubs.

  7. Ranji lots of your ideas and thoughts are well put however the only two sides since the inception of league rugby almost 50 years ago to have gone from bottom to top and remained there are Currie and Stirling County. Through that period hundreds maybe thousands of players have left there starting clubs to move on and develop to become the best they can be. That is business it’s the way people progress. The game is about the players. Guys like you and I need to make our clubs better and allow players to progress.. However i do feel the opportunity for amateur players to play district rugby as a shop window to get to the next level s a good one.

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    • Eddie
      Scottish Rugby was held back for years by the unofficial club championship which was a closed shop. The dawn of national leagues brought meritocracy which previously excluded clubs (yours and mines included) and players benefited from hugely. You now appear to be voting for the closed shop which is S6.
      Can you explain?

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      • Firstly can I say in general that I find it incomprehensible the criticism of Super 6 after less than one season. I can accept comments from those who didn’t want it in the first place.
        Regarding some comments, the gulf between the Premiership and pro rugby was getting bigger and bigger each year, in fact there was a gulf in standards in the Premiership itself which was getting larger. The Super 6 adds a lot more than just offering players a higher standard on the pitch, there is all the work done off the pitch which is contributing to increasing the standards of the players.
        Regarding National leagues, they were needed back in the early 70’s to open up the game which was a closed shop. Things move on and I actually believe leagues as they stand at the moment are detrimental to developing our game. We have got to offer a product the young men and ladies want now a days. It is obvious by the declining playing numbers in adult rugby the clubs are not offering a product that all the players involved in school and club youth rugby want. Move away from automatic promotion and relegation, more regional leagues. You just have to look at the link between unfulfilled fixtures and travel. I hear the shouts of “ no promotion , what about ambition “. At this current time every clubs ambition should be to get more teams playing. This is in the hands of the clubs but there seems to be a massive reluctance for change. I cannot understand why a club wants to be in the National leagues with all the costs and travel involved when they struggle to get a 2nd xv out.
        We can argue the pros and cons about Super 6 and districts but we are all missing the point. We NEED more adult players playing the game at all levels or we won’t have a club game ( that I’m passionate about) in the future. The top level will always survive as there will always be a core of ambitious players who want to perform at the highest level, look at the number of Scottish born players playing at the highest level, more than ever. It is our , if I dare call it social game that is being lost. This is the core to the ethos of our great sport and this is being lost. What the solutions are I don’t have all the answers but what we do now can start securing the future of our game. Like our leagues in the past, Super 6 at the moment, nothing needs to be for ever, we can change in the future once we get the playing base back to sustainable numbers again.

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  8. Ranji lots of your ideas and thoughts are well put however the only two sides since the inception of league rugby almost 50 years ago to have gone from bottom to top and remained there are Currie and Stirling County. Through that period hundreds maybe thousands of players have left there starting clubs to move on and develop to become the best they can be. That is business it’s the way people progress. The game is about the players. Guys like you and I need to make our clubs better and allow players to progress. However i do feel the opportunity for amateur players to play district rugby as a shop window to get to the next level s a good one

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  9. Interesting article but the problem lies below this level!
    I’ll put my head above the parapet and state that I am not a fan of the present SRU top brass. I don’t believe they are interested in the grassroots of the game. They would rather sign a South African and pay them for 3 years to play for Glasgow or Edinburgh. That is much easier and probably more cost-effective?
    There is but one problem with Super6. It’s just not Super! The player age/ability is too wide.
    The U-20’s were mentioned in another comment. I read about the team earlier in the week. It was full of private school pupils. Are there no youths interested in the game of rugby at state schools? Yes, there are but there is no realistic chance of progressing in the game unless their school can compete with the private schools. What opportunities do they have to show their worth? Very little!
    Starting with the elite means your base is narrow and can only get narrower!
    Is it not time to build more development into the state schools/local clubs? Development officers or coaches from the club base could be matched up and those with potential given extra coaching.
    It may seem simple but I think this would bring more interest to the game. Benefits are there for the clubs too.

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  10. This makes a lot of sense – club rugby needs to be aspirational and Super 6 doesn’t do it. Geographically the Super 6 is a nonsense With 3 of the clubs from Edinburgh. How there wasn’t a team based in Glasgow to build on the momentum of interest building around the Pro team at the time still baffles me.
    6 districts of South, Edinburgh, Glasgow, West of Scotland, Central and Highland could be a manageable starting point.

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  11. Very well argued Rangi

    Never thought I would read a Fignon quote on OSL. Every day is indeed a school day.

    The critical issue is in player numbers. Without those we don’t have a game. The idea that scotland will survive internationally with an elite cadre of semi and pro players is nonsense.

    The noises coming out of some Super 6 sides are particularly worrying. Saying we don’t have the right calibre of player to fill an S6 roster or saying join our side to get access to S6 do nothing to grow the game.

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  12. Compelling article for me not least having watched the u20 international which saw Englands full time pros with Gallagher premiership and European Champions Cup experience up against lads who struggled to get any game time at all in super 6 whilst 30 SH journeymen n fridge Glasgow n Edinburgh players lumbered around mauling n kicking the ball away. Our lads were brave today but even against 14 were physically outmatched. Super 6 has failed to capture the public as it’s lacking authentic competition with no promotion and relegation and players shared between squads. It’s never going to have the public appeal that district sides do and it didn’t afford game time to our academy players. We have a district system which runs right up to u20….let’s extend it to senior rugby and provide a pathway to the dozens if not hundreds of players who are rejected from the development system at a ludicrously young age. Super 6 will never provide the public interest to be truly sustainable and pretending otherwise will be an expensive folly.

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  13. Really well thought out and written article Rangi. I don’t agree with the conclusion of going back to a Premiership and district competition operating as the feeder to pro-teams as this was unsuccessful previously. We need to bridge the gap to the pro game and there is growing evidence that Super6 is a way to do that. It needs to prove itself on the pitch this season. The pressure is on!

    I do think there is strong merit in having a district competition at club level to further develop the pathway to Super6 and pro rugby. We (Heriot’s Rugby) would be hugely supportive of that.

    I will reach out to Barney and get your contact details. I would appreciate it if you had time to discuss.

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    • This to me is the correct way to go.
      Super 6 or 8 rugby is here to stay for the foreseeable future at least.
      Give it another chance this season to prove its self.
      District rugby for aspiring club players is next level down at right time of the season.
      Just my opinion!

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      • Agree Ian,

        Super 6 has not even been given a chance by very stubborn people. I think having district rugby below that is something to aspire to and a fair compromise, and clubs which want to make the step to the semi-pro super league should be given their shot in time providing they meet the requirements.

        Super 6 will undoubtably make some mistakes along the way while it learns what works and what does not, but we need a higher calibre of players coming through the system otherwise we will be stuck where we are.

        The academies were the first big step towards bring Scotland out of the noughties/early 10’s and people criticised that, but now Scotland are a more competitive team for it. Super rugby is the next big step forward.

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    • Add in district championship for the different levels and it gives guys lower down something to work towards. Use the current cup splits and you’d have three or four district championships on the go.

      Either that or bring back a proper national cup.

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    • Perhaps you could lay out the growing evidence that S6 is working Neil?

      For a competition that has been in hibernation for over 12 months that’s a pretty big claim to make.

      I will take a punt and predict you will reference S6 players now getting pro contracts and playing for E&G. Here’s a little story. High ice cream sales lead to murders! It is statistically correlated that higher ice cream sales in New York match increased murder rates. The problem obviously is causality isn’t the same as correlation and the specific issue here is heat.

      Likewise moving onto pro contracts from S6 will no doubt have some sort of correlation – principally as that’s now the waters being fished for new pros. The same would have been said of the Premiership a few seasons ago.

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      • Dom what on earth are you on about, stop speaking in tongues and don’t put words in my mouth.

        I just think the Super league should be given a fair crack before its scrapped.

        Have your fully amateur regional districts below that, and let the clubs who want to apply to be semi-pro do so, lets not be stupid here, if the super-6 ends up being a success then more teams will want to make the move up.

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      • My comment wasn’t for you Commodore Neil.

        My apologies that your level of reading comprehension is so poor.

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    • Neil

      I know You think about our great game a lot.

      I would welcome an expansion on your claim of “district competition acting as a feeder to pro teams as this was unsuccessful previously”

      When was this?

      I am unaware of any properly constituted district competition in the pro era except maybe in the very early days when with four pro teams there were simply too few players to do both.

      I am aware however how well it worked before professionalism and of course how well the ITM Cup currently works in New Zealand, which seems to be akin to Rangi’s overall thinking.

      Look forward to hearing your thinking.

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