Six Nations: Dublin weekend provides Scottish rugby with food for thought

Creating a buzz and having a joined up strategy for player development underpins the success of Ireland's senior men's team

Creating a rugby buzz like Ireland have would be an important step in the right direction for the game in Scotland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Creating a rugby buzz like Ireland have would be an important step in the right direction for the game in Scotland. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THEY weren’t exactly punching the air in celebration, but neither did Gregor Townsend and Finn Russell carry themselves on Saturday evening like a head coach and a co-captain who had just suffered their third defeat in a Six Nations campaign which they had started with expectations of being genuine contenders.

“I think what we showed out there was brilliant – the defensive efforts that we put in were outstanding and that’s what it should be every week,” said Russell after the 17-13 loss to Ireland in Dublin, which ultimately left Scotland with their now customary fourth place finish in the Six Nations table (and it would have been fifth place if the ball hadn’t fallen off the tee as Paolo Garbisi lined-up that late penalty to win it for Italy against France in round three).

“A lot of teams have come here and not got close to Ireland so I’m proud of the way we finished the championship,” said Townsend.


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Both men acknowledged during their post-match media briefing that they would much rather be reflecting on a first win over Ireland since 2017, but that bit really did feel like lip service to a fanciful concept. The cold reality is that Scotland can no longer look at Ireland as a team they have a reasonable expectation of beating, unless something goes very wrong on the day for the guys in green.

It’s a sobering thought and the reasons for this gulf between two rugby nations who have traditionally tracked fairly evenly stretch well beyond a straight assessment of the quality of players and the standard of coaching in the current squads.

During the amateur era, success was cyclical for both nations, and it was fortunate for Ireland that they had a golden crop of players coming through to help set the tone just as the game turned professional, just as Scotland’s Grand Slam winning era of the 1980s and early 1990s was reaching the end of the road.

Rugby in Ireland competes with GAA but they have a free run in terms of professional sport, while the private schools system – particularly in Leinster – is a huge breeding ground for young talent.

But Scotland have their advantages too, many of which we have failed to capitalise on or completely ignored in recent years, not least a debenture-funded 67,000-seater stadium (16,000 seats bigger and built 16 years before the Aviva) which has been under-maintained and under-utilised as a revenue generating tool.

We could argue the toss over how well set up each country was for the transition into professional rugby, but it will get us nowhere. A more worthwhile exercise is to appreciate and understand what Ireland have developed in terms of the sport’s profile and its importance to the national mood.

 

 

Scottish rugby fans in Dublin this St Patrick’s weekend can’t have failed to notice that on Friday evening every pub with a screen was showing the Under-20s match in Cork via terrestrial TV, and an awful lot of people were paying close attention, as the visitors made their hosts work harder than the 36-0 score-line perhaps suggests. It was great exposure for the sport and for the players.

A slam dunk in terms of creating the sort of buzz which is almost entirely absent in the Scotland pathways at the moment, where the visibility of youth, schools and age-grade rugby is practically non-existent beyond a handful of dedicated outlets.

Maybe not many pubs in Scotland would be prepared to put these sorts of games on their screen. After all, this one clashed with Dunfermline versus Dundee United on BBC Scotland. But it would be great if they – and sports fans watching from home – at least had the option. To paraphrase a famous line whispered in Kevin Costner’s ear in Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

More rugby on mainstream TV is not necessarily an easy fix, and not really in the gift of the Scottish Rugby Union, but they managed to get Super Series on the BBC’s website. At the very least, less age-grade representative games staged in secret would be a positive start.

This was also Schools’ Cup Finals week in Ireland with a full page spread in the Irish Independent on the morning of the international dedicated to the success of this vital strand of the bigger Irish rugby picture.

“The biggest week of the Irish rugby calendar began in Cork on Tuesday [for the Munster Senior Schools Cup Final], stopped off in Galway on Wednesday [for the Connacht Senior Schools Cup Final], before returning to Leeside [for the Munster Girls Schools Senior Cup Final], and then made its way to Dublin [for theLeinster Senior Schools Cup Final], ahead of Monday’s finish in Belfast [for the Ulster Senior Schools Cup Final],” explained reporter Cian Tracey.

“While the majority of the focus has been on this evening’s Six Nations title decider at the Aviva Stadium, it’s worth taking stock of the bigger picture, and examining how events elsewhere are helping to future-proof the success of the game in this country,” he added.

The article is written around the Blackrock College side which won the Leinster Schools Cup 10 years ago featuring five players who went on to become full Ireland caps (including Caelan Doris and Hugo Keenan], plus several more who played either provincially or at high club level in the All Ireland League.

 

 

Peter Smyth – coach of that team and now the IRFU’s head of elite player development – is interviewed.

“Even if you throw in the interest of Cheltenham, I always find there’s nearly too much high-quality sport in Paddy’s week,” he says.

“It’s four days of top-level rugby. You’re hoping it will work out, but it’s absolutely brilliant, firstly because all the teams are competing at such a high level. It’s a great reflection of everything that happens in the system because people playing in a Senior Cup final will probably watch the 20s and the senior team.”

Later in the piece, Smyth pays tribute to the Clongowes team his Blackrock side beat back in 2014, who had only one future international – Will Connors – in their ranks but fought to the death.

“Loads of them went in to play rugby at a really high level, same with our team,” he says. “That’s the great thing about this, and that’s just as important in a way.

“With the best will in the world, you get to a Senior Cup final, you win or lose, but it is a moment in time. There is so much more experience and enjoyment that you get out of the game afterwards.”

Smyth reflects during the remainder of the article about how schools’ rugby has developed over the last 10 years in line with changes in the modern game.

“I know the provinces do a huge amount in terms of inviting the schools, clubs and coaches in and working with players,” he concludes.

“I think that when I look at Irish rugby, it’s not just one thing, there are multiple things happening in multiple different ways on a continual basis that gives us the output of great schools’ finals, great AIL matches, great provincial matches, great international matches.

“The national team lead the way and that bleeds all the way down.

“I’m on the under-11s circuit at the moment with Mary’s [St Mary’s College], and some of the language that some of the coaches use is very similar to what you hear the senior coaches use. And it’s all around the basics, its brilliant.”

 

 

Funnily enough, at the end of his press briefing on Saturday evening, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was asked by a visiting French journalist about his taking some time out from match prep to watch his youngest son, Gabriel, play a schools game that morning.

“I was watching St Michael’s versus Blackrock this morning, and Blackrock won which was [great],” said the Englishman. “I said to him after the game that I was feeling under pressure because imagine him winning this morning and us not winning … I’d be in massive trouble! But it was nice to get out there this morning and see some junior rugby.”

Asked by the curious Frenchman – who must have been at the match – for his views on the importance of schools’ rugby in Ireland, Farrell replied: “It is huge. Did you feel the rivalry, the competitiveness from the under-13s this morning? It’s magnificent, isn’t it? That’s what makes Irish rugby special.”

Joined up thinking and creating a buzz – it’s a good starting point for Scotland as the sport in this country hopefully starts the long process of recovery from years of damaging mismanagement.

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, bars across Dublin were packed to the rafters with revellers into the small hours – as you would expect. Young and old, from all walks of life, almost all wearing some sort of Ireland rugby kit, celebrating their nation’s patron saint and their rugby team’s success. The positivity was infectious.

They couldn’t possibly have all been at the 51,000-seater Aviva Stadium that afternoon, but they are all enjoying the ride.

 

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Six Nations: frustrated Gregor Townsend turns focus towards summer tour

About David Barnes 3908 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.

27 Comments

  1. Rugby is the pre-eminent winter team sport in the Emerald Isle.
    There is actually less competition (or conflict) between Gaelic Football and rugby in Ireland than many seem to imagine, because the former is played during the summer months, formal championship matches staged from June through September.
    In terms of winter team sports, soccer sits far behind rugby on most metrics.

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  2. Possibly the key difference is Ireland doesn’t have any real football teams. When rugby went pro maybe there was a vacuum to be filled there as well as a ready supply of big lads from a gaelic football to go into a more global sport.

    Politics may play a part when it comes to funding with our negative attitudes to private schools, despite the fact that two Hutchie boys are fighting it out to be the most socialist first minister…

    Would agree school identity vital so suggest align schools with clubs rather lose out to them wherever possible. Doubt there is huge scope to create more state school teams. If anything the injury risk in minds of worried parents threatens private school rugby.

    Look at working models we already have. Obviously Edinburgh privates and Borders but Currie, Stirling and Marr spring to mind as relatively new kids on the block who have done well, not to mention Hawks pre s6.

    Vibrant properly structured, marketed and media covered club leagues will surely produce talent which can go up the line into pro teams here or abroad.

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  3. It seems a little myopic to put Scotland’s final placement down to the ball falling off Garbisi’s tee. He missed a few easy ones this year, so maybe not a sure thing that he would have got it anyway. More than that though, we all know that Scotland did actually score the winning points against France.

    If we can remove a physical event from the Italy game, we can also allow common sense to prevail in the minds of officials at Murrayfield. That would mean that Scotland actually placed 2nd.

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    • It also seems a little myopic to reply to your own posts, but here goes anyway… I forgot to mention that I noticed on the BBC that Sam Warburton found a spot for a player from every nation but Scotland in his team of the tournament. This seems quite unfair, when you consider that we should have been placed 2nd and were a last minute try away from a Triple Crown. Very symptomatic of how numerous Lions squads have been selected. I think our lack of media outlets (compare the number of youtube channels discussing Irish and English rugby to our own) contributes to this. Our players need to do more than anyone wearing a rose to get recognised.

      … That was my effort to get my post back on to the topic of the article, which I also forgot to mention was insightful and hit on a number of good points.

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      • I worry that we will again be underrepresented on the next Lions tour. But at least it’s not a Gatland selection…

  4. I coach at school level and the structure and organisation is terrible. All matches feel like friendlies with no way to establish best players or teams through structured competitionn. Too many people protecting their own interests at School level. And did I mention nepotism and cronyism….

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    • Interesting comments DM, would be interested to hear more. Is your school playing in the schools Conference or in a local district league? It would be disappointing if the structure and organisation of the former is not up to scratch.

      I notice there is but one Schools officer per district in the SRU development set-up, so I suppose the SRU is not of much practical assistance here.

      Is your school running teams from S1 to U18 or just S1 and S2? Is there a local club helping the school and how does that work out?

      I see the SRU also has one schools-clubs partnership officer per district and was wondering what their role is. I fear it is to get the boys playing a bit of school rugby at S1 and S2 and then pushing them into the clubs to populate their Youth teams.

      That has not proved a very useful model over the decades it has been running, Outside the Super clubs, which nab the players from several schools, we still have a lot of weak Youth teams.

      It would IMO be better to concentrate resources on getting more schools playing in local leagues and building up some rugby ethos and continuity in these schools, rather than just being a recruiting office for the clubs.

      But there seem to be a lot of obstacles in the way of schools rugby, such as shortage of willing staff, multiplicity of sports being offered in taster sessions,lack of resources to cover equipment and travel costs and so on.

      Ireland seem to have soared with their schools rugby, we have been stuck in the same rut for a couple of decades now, with no sign of any SRU plan to galvanise things.

      Would be interested in any comments and enlightenment!

  5. Thank you to ‘Waitandsee’, what a great insight to the funding of Irish rugger 😲
    I.e. In Ireland the Irish government give a 40% tax rebate on the best 10yrs of a sportsman’s income if he remains resident.The government pays the wages of teachers in the private schools as they believe it saves them money.
    Our schools in general simply no longer deliver sport.

    Geez Louise, we have no hope of competing in Scotland at that level with far too many rugger folks inward looking, and really only have there clubs at heart which is commendable, but that was a model for the 70’s through the 80’s. Unless tha6 have direction from Murrayfield what else are they to do? Please, please do, not come back to,me with the Super 6 😞
    My goodness what a long term mess we are or will be as this crop of players age, also in reflected in the u20’s who should be praised for the great shift they put in at the weekend, but ultimately fell way short at the level required.

    Rather than reflecting on the Irish system, look what Italian rugby has achieved in the past 10 years, in a totally football mad country. They were wooden spoon regulars but now a force to be reckoned with including there U20’s who sweep most before them? What are they doing that we’re not, Benetton & Treviso that’s all they have in professional rugger, therefore read Glasgow & Edinburgh, so why the disparity?

    I don’t have the answer, but venture to suggest that the SRU (bunker) is the equivalent of your local government, and I mean across the UK, far too many with there feet under desks getting paid good money to shuffle paper around, it’s not their fault, they are human beings trying to provide, but if not held to account they will keep regurgitating the same paperwork to feed the machine and suck the coffers dry over time.

    Okay, gripe over, I have no real answers, suffice to say Mr.Dodson and his cohorts should hang there head in shame at the debacle we find ourselves in 😣

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  6. Chris – what a ood idea. Getting Wee Nippy and the Buffalo Girl on the same board of directors would be great for Scottish Rugby, they could sell the rights to broadvast their arguments in the room to TV and make the fortune which would totally turn-around our finances. But otherwise, given how Nippy hobbled the drive for Independence, she’s the last person we need near the SRU.

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  7. There does seem to be a view we need to try and spread the net wider in Scotland, I would counter that. If you are starting a new business you can’t afford to have that as your strategy. You have limited capital, the more you spread the money the thinner the effectiveness gets and the less you can find effective strategies. Find what works and “pour gasoline on the fire” as my previous company CEO used to say.

    There seems to be a lot of success in certain pockets of the country. A couple of examples,

    South West – the Ayrshires and D&G, seem to be doing well at bringing through players just now – how can we improve the number of players coming out of the region?

    Boroughmuir Rugby Academy seems to have started to bear some fruit in recent years, again what can we learn from them?

    Maybe we need “centres of excellence” Italy has created and is now stupidly discarded. But, this requires focus which is the opposite of spreading the money out evenly.

  8. From what I understand, Irish private schools have a much wider social base than in Scotland as they are far cheaper and so take up is higher. This is one reason school competition is far more intense, as they bring a similar competitive ethos and drive for status to Scottish private schools whilst being less narrowly elite.

    It seems to me that as the number of Scottish private schools who invest in rugby is so few in number and the majority of Scottish state schools are probably lost to rugby, we need a strategy that supports schools that do play rugby whilst driving wider participation through a club-based strategy. I think in France, sport participation isn’t really done through schools and we may be clinging on to outdated ideas if we think that’s the way to resurrect interest in rugby where its been abandoned. We don’t actually need most boys to be playing rugby 5 times a week all through their teens, we need to engage lots of young people from every walk of life so that we can identify and hot house talented athletes and build compelling competitions for them to participate in.

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    • I’m just one voice among many FF but I felt a much stronger attachment to and sense of identity with my school, to be perfectly candid. They were guys i saw nearly every day and socialised with. The club by contrast brought rivals we had no especial love for into our orbit. Rightly or wrongly we were far more likely to empty the tank for school as a consequence, albeit perhaps subconsciously. Our school coach happened to command our respect too which is where people skills come in.

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  9. I have lived in Ireland for 14 years and there is absolutely some truth in what David says in this article. I am originally from Paisley from a working/lower middle class background and my love for rugby makes me a bit of an outlier with my oldest best mates most of whom are just football mad and either big St Mirren or Rangers supporters. I have my dad to thank for this who from the same background in Paisley but always brought me up to watch the old five nations ad get behind Scotland every weekend. A couple of them are more open to rugby but it will never be their game, they will try and tune into Scotland when they play. Alot of my other mates really dislike rugby and dislike the typical type of rugby supporter in Scotland (as they see it). I feel this culture is quite prevalent in alot of parts of Scotland outwith the borders and pockets of the Edinburgh or Glasgow areas.

    The culture in Ireland is entirely different and the majority of the Irish will be hugely bought in to passionately supporting the Ireland team, not just that but really understanding and loving rugby as a sport. There are plenty of people here more focused on soccer (as they call it), gaelic football or hurling more so in the southern half of Ireland, but even many of them will still be fully committed to getting behind the national rugby side. In terms of actually going along to follow the provincial teams the combined home attendances of the 4 provinces in Ireland must be somewhere around 55-60k people?! It is miles ahead of the supporter numbers we have in Scotland at provincial/club level.

    I think the reasons for this are as alluded to in the article, Ireland had a golden generation of players and major upturn in fortunes at the turn of the century as professionalism took hold. We turned into a shambles. The professional structures, systems and pathways in Ireland were clearly set out and defined early in the professional era and everything fed into the national team pyramid style. In short, their strategy worked and as a result the levels of interest surged. This also led to a steep rise in player numbers in Ireland with more and more young players throwing themselves into rugby and dreaming of playing pro rugby. I think on almost any measure we have really failed back in Scotland. Alas, we are where we are. Ireland are where they are. The Irish football team absolutely used to be the big source of pride for your average Irish sports fan particularly through the 80’s and 90’s, as they have declined badly the team is largely scoffed at and ridiculed now by most people in Ireland. Rugby is the great attraction and their great source of pride now.

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  10. We’re probably seeing the decline in investment some private schools put into sport. Rightly (or wrongly if that’s your view) money generated by schools will now be equally spent amongst genders and other sports and also greater focus on Academic performance.

    Take Edinburgh Academy, 10 years ago they supplied players to the U20s squad. I’m sure they won the schools final around that time. Now, Afshar had to move from the Academy to Merchiston to get that higher level of rugby to propel his success.

    Blackrock (Dublin) and Merchiston are both boys schools.

    That’s the landscape we now face.

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  11. I suppose the main crux of it is we need too see tangible endeavour on the ground to genuinely open up the game in Scotland – not lip-service and the first team touring the country before a WC on a bus to stop off and sing Caledonia in the local battle cruiser. The problem is partly – probably mostly – financial. If it’s the case that the prevailing view is state schools need to be more inegrated in the system, their funding issues are compounded by the fact most councils are on their collective arse financially. So, aye, the money needs to be found somewhere, somehow to ensure state schools have proper kit, proper equipment and a proper, competitive environment to play in, be that leagues etc. There are terrific players there who, given accessibility and something to aim for, could make a real difference.
    Perhaps as important is to have a clear sense of objective as to what is trying to be achieved and what the steps are to making it to district, national level and so forth. We’re talking about kids so this comes from education and clear messaging. I can remember being fortunate enough to be selected to play districts but the sense was I was selected just because (i.e. no feedback) and a random, isolated game with no cup and as part of no enduring competition had been arranged – again, presumably just because. To convey this message, our development system needs emotionally intelligent and rugby intelligent leaders, well trained and vetted by the SRU. Otherwise schools would be as well putting forward a pedantic PE, biology or physics teacher to lead the team and explain matters in scientific terms; hardly likely to get buy-in and willingness to follow from the group. Development officers – the setup in ascending order in my school days was school, club, development squad (do they still exist?? Again, no structure in terms of games, tourneys at this time), district, national in my experience came to wave the bus away and that was pretty well it as far as could be discerned.
    The game in Scotland is far too geographically concentrated. We need all hands on deck if we are serious about this.

  12. Scottish rugby relies heavily on Murrayfield and 6 Nations revenue. It’s not that long ago the stadium was nowhere near full for the autumn internationals or even the visit of Italy for the 6 Nations and no-one could have any expectations of a lost team. If your imagination now is captured by the 6 Nations, how many subscriptions will you have to pay to continue to follow the players? At least two for league games, another for whatever the Heineken Cup is called these days, another for the autumn internationals and probably yet another if you want to follow the summer tour.

    Adding the lack of access to the sport at the highest level, we have a very confused leadership team, not helped by the changes at the very top. Watching the U20s games on Friday highlighted just how far behind we are in developing those who do want to play. France fielded a team with many hours in the Top 14 and one player with a full international cap. Our players were lucky to have played a few hours of rugby over the last 6 months. Quite what the future holds for the players from the Super 6 squads is anyone’s guess, but maybe if we could access regular coverage of the top league online, that might help.

    As for the senior Scottish squad… I’ve never been a Townsend fan and make no secret of that. In recent weeks we’ve seen a player out of form picked to start anyway, dropped, brought back again and finally replaced by someone who had been playing consistently well and was our player of the match in Dublin. One of our two captains was dropped just 18 months ago, in an act of petulance, ostensibly because of poor form. More recently, concern was justified at the apparent mental fragility of our team, due to their inability to play for 80 minutes. They showed on Saturday they could, if the plan was clear. Earlier, there were grumblings from within that game plans were being forgotten and concerns voiced here about mental fragility. Denials were offered by a coach and senior player, yet now Russell, one of the captains, is asking for mental toughness. It’s a shambles.

    Looking at our 6 Nations campaign, we could very well have been playing for a grand slam on Saturday, but must apparently take solace in being within a score of winning the three matches we lost. I don’t care how close it was, I care that we lost matches we should have won and very nearly lost one that should have been over at half time. When Townsend got the job, we were going to play the fastest rugby and that didn’t work, so plan B was needed. I hate to think how far we’ve progressed through the alphabet, but it’s undeniable there is a major problem at that level and we must address it as a matter of urgency. It was straightforward in Dublin, defend and try to take advantage of the few opportunities that would arise. It was a far more coherent effort than we offered in Rome, or Cardiff. Having two captains on the pitch doesn’t help focus either and is impossible to justify for a team that has recently competed in a world cup together. We need better leadership, on and off the pitch and that’s asking something of Townsend he doesn’t posses, as Iain Morrison points out.

    If we win, more people will want to play and the game will survive. If we don’t, it won’t. It is that simple.

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    • Impossible to disagree with any of your points there MacBog.
      Especially the comments on Townsend, and I am a fan. However, when you put it as succinctly as that perhaps I need a rethink. The game plan has certainly changed over his tenure and it changed almost game on game this 6N, we seem to have lost our identity.
      I’m just not sure who we could attract in his place that would be better. It’s too early for Franco in my opinion.

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  13. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Irish rugby here and perhaps Grant can afford us some insight. What i’d wager is those involved in the Irish schools setup harness a sense of identity, a sense of tradition, a sense of alterity and a sense of being part of an elite in their approach. It gives things an edge, evokes ideas of rivalry and them versus us, and creates a competetive environment. If something is deemed exciting as their setup looks to be, young lads want a slice of it. To me, it boils down to the age-old struggle of competition for limited resources: in this context, a place in part of something considered elite. To break in, the individual has to be bloody-minded, besides exceptional at something in terms of skillset. Thus they arrive in the test arena already battle-hardened.
    None of this is to say the Merchistons of this world don’t have their own firm sense of identity, traditions et al. But unless it has changed wholesale since I was in the school setup in the 90s, private schools pretty much played a circuit with one another where state schools only got the occasional crack at taking them on. From the state school perspective, of which I was a part, only the lads who supplemented their training and gametime by playing for the local club too could hold their own playing private, boarding school lads. As I’ve mentioned before, there was no league – just sporadic tournaments at 7s and 15s. Rivalries were there but were transient in nature with all depending on the influence and drive of individuals in places of authority (in our case a deputy rector) or motivated parents. Jamie Dobie is actually a goid example to cite, coming from my home neck of the woods. Would he have made it had he not moved to Merchiston? I have my doubts. This is not to indulge in victimhood but to point out a demonstrable reality.

  14. And we keep hearing how rugby comes 4th in the hierarchy of sport in Ireland. I’d hate to think how well organised and promoted the number 1 is.
    Meanwhile in Scotland, even on 6N match day more pubs than not will be showing football instead no matter what tier and the regular punters decrying anyone daring to suggest they change channel to watch ‘egg chasing’. I could see their point if the football was entertaining or at a high level – it is neither.
    And in those clubs which are interested in their rugby the members and powers that be have shown their colours in failing to get behind the Super 6 development tool, they bickered previous to the S6 about the choice and availability of their allocated professionals and is they continue to bicker about the pathway forward with complaints about teams parachuted in to leagues, payments to amateurs etc.
    There is no way in 20 years we are going to have pathways like the Irish.
    I dare say we will have to hope that somehow a crop of top players capable of competing robustly with the other 5 Nations will magically appear from the morass that we call Scottish Rugby, Oh hang on a minute………..
    Now if only we had a coach.

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  15. Lots to reflect on there. What ever learning taken from this we are looking at 10 years of effort at least.

    Little is said about culture though. The biggest difference is that playing sport is a differentiator in Ireland. They have the huge engine that is the GAA to provide some raw materials for rugby but it’s kids taking part in sport that is the thing.

    You can’t have massive school competitions without the teams to make that function. Without the schools you don’t have a player base to grow from.

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    • In summary unfortunately rugby in Scotland isn’t important. In Ireland the Irish government give a 40% tax rebate on the best 10yrs of a sportsman’s income if he remains resident.The government pays the wages of teachers in the private schools as they believe it saves them money.
      Our schools in general simply no longer deliver sport.
      The Sru is full of non entities only interested in keeping their jobs.
      Unfortunately the latest divorce of club rugby from elite rugby will take us further down a road to nowhere.
      Scottush rugby has a Union with no Ceo. No finance officer and no director of rugby
      It has a crb that hasn’t a clue and has its head buried in the sand. I genuinely believe it thought it would get the monies from S6 where obviously that’s needed to create a new pathway that someone somewhere who has already failed in his job is wondering how to implement.
      We are supposedly at the beginning of a 10yr plan. I’d suggest on the basis of the first few weeks it’s a plan to take us to the bottom of the pile or we will be discussing this again in a lot less than 10yrs time
      It’s sad really really sad.

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      • Looking at your first paragraph
        I suggest the problem is, who has the ability at the SRU to sell the idea to Government and by the same token who has the ability in the Government to see the benefit.

      • Let’s get Nicola Sturgeon on the board of the SRU or give Jeremy Hunt a second income of £150k a year! <- not a serious comment

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