SGM expected towards end of March to consider MacColl recommendations

Governance Working Party has recommended no relegation from Premiership this season and 'Club XVs' of Super 6 teams to be moved to National One

Any material change in the format of national club competitions requires support from a two-thirds majority of clubs at a general meeting. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

IT is understood that there will be no relegation from the Premiership at the end of this season, but the ‘Club XVs’ of Super 6 franchises will be removed from that league and placed into the division below [National League One], if the recommendations of Gavin MacColl QC’s Governance Working Party are accepted by the SRU Board tomorrow [Thursday] night and then ratified at a Special General Meeting of member clubs, which is likely to be in late March.

MacColl – who was mandated at last August’s AGM to come up with plan for how the club game should be structured after the launch of Super 6 next season – has conducted two surveys and met with various club forums in the process of drawing up his recommendations. He presented his findings to the SRU Council last Thursday night and apparently received a favourable response. The Board will hear his thoughts tomorrow night, but as his recommendations include a material change in the format to national club competitions it will need approval from the clubs at either an AGM or SGM, where a two-thirds majority is required. For purely logistical reasons, it is unlikely that a meeting can convene before the conclusion of the Six Nations in mid-March.

It is understood that MacColl has resisted calls for a moratorium on promotion for Super 6 ‘Club XVs’ out of National League One for a set number of years, but he has recommended limiting promotion/relegation between those two leagues to one-up and one-down per season.

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There has also been calls for Super 6 ‘Club XVs’ to be placed in their own distinct 2nd XV league, but MacColl seems to have accepted the argument that these teams are member clubs – with the Super 6 element the new creation – so they are entitled to play in the National Leagues.

SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson stated when he launched his controversial Agenda 3 programme in August 2017 that all domestic leagues below Super 6 would be strictly amateur. However, MacColl has apparently recommended that the Championship [which is replacing the Premiership] will have limited player payments while everything below that will be amateur, but with caveats for coaching and other legitimate forms of employment related to the club.

It is understood that MacColl has recommended that the general league structure should consist of a 10-team top division [the Championship], then three national leagues made up of 12 teams, with everything else regionalised.

With Super 6 ‘Club XVs’ dropping to National League One, the Championship next season will be made up of the four current Premiership clubs who have not been included in Super 6 – Currie Chieftains, Edinburgh Accies, Glasgow Hawks and Hawick – plus the top six clubs in National One at the end of the current season.

MacColl did not deal with the issue of whether Super 6 should be shelved altogether. Ordinarily, the introduction of Super 6 would have needed two-third support at an AGM or SGM, but because Dodson persuaded the SRU Council – the elected representatives of the clubs – to  authorise him to create the league before he presented his plan at the 2017 AGM, the percentages have been flipped and stopping (as opposed to initiating) the process would now need a two-thirds majority.

It seems unlikely that opponents of Super 6 would be able to mobilise that level of opposition from rank and file clubs, many of whom are happy to support a change of structure on the basis that it will help the pro game and doesn’t impact their own viability.

Dodson’s dream: Everything there is to know about Scottish Rugby’s ‘Super Six’ proposal

About David Barnes 4026 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. Anyone know where the players from Edinburgh and Glasgow will play if not involved on match days with their club, will they just be placed in Super 6 games for example 8 playing for Ayr and 1 for Melrose.

  2. This is madness. And badly implemented! Clubs in Nat1 this season are playing not knowing what lies in the future until the season is nearly over. This will kill grass-roots rugby and see many stalwart volunteers turn their back on club rugby. Just as they have on attending Murrayfield matches. Dodson’s obsession with money and this short-term flawed concept will kill the game. And then his precious “pro teams” will be filled with second-rate foreign mercenaries. That will be great for improving the national squad. Let’s get a chief executive in place that has long-term vision; financial nouse; and is able to listen not just bully. Then the SRU’s grandiose ideas and weasel words will actually mean something more than just stripping the ethos and playing resources away from our grassroots community-based clubs. There is more to rugby in this country than money and competing in “elite” rugby. Save our “game” before this flame is extinguished forever.

    • McColl’s proposed arrangements seem eminently straightforward and sensible, don’t really see what your problem is.

      Ref National 1, instead of one team winning promotion and another getting a shot via a playoff, the top SIX will all be promoted at end of season and NONE will be relegated. What’s not to like and what is there for them to complain about now?

      You say, ah but it’s late in the season to decide this. Some might think that the delay is primarily down to the N1 clubs themselves, who have managed to slow everything up with their endless objections. So chickens and roost come to mind.

      As there is no particular downside to the proposals, can’t see why stalwart volunteers would turn their backs on club rugby. Do you not think they may rather be energised by playing in the top tier of club rugby or, for the six that remain in N1, by proving something on the pitch against these residual team ‘upstarts’ N1 seems do vexed about?

      The Pro teams have I believe a quota of NSQ players, which I reckon is 25% of the squad max, the other 75%+ are Scottish, SQ and an increasing conveyor belt of young lads via the Academy. Thank goodness we have NSQ players of the calibre of Mata, Schoeman, van der Walt etc, etc, or Edinburgh wouldn’t be able to put out a competitive team today v Kings, ditto Glasgow Warriors last night!

      Dodson’s ‘obsession’ with money has near-on * doubled the SRU’s income from the McKie era * reduced its mega debt down from £20m to under £5m * created the academies, which are bringing through more young Scots players than we’ve seen for years * got women’s rugby organised, growing and on the up * increased school and youth rugby enormously * got the two Pro teams punching well above their weight under top coaches, etc, etc, etc.

      I personally think, and here I agree with you, that a lot of new money needs to go into the grass roots game. But simply taking it from the other corners of the game, which have just got their heads above the water, is not the answer.

  3. Apart from the method used to put the Super 6 in place it seems sensible that the 4 Premiership teams stay where they are and will be joined by the top 6 from National one. The 6 ” vacancies”will be filled by the Super 6 seconds.

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