THE winners of Saturday’s Super6 match between the Ayrshire Bulls and the Southern Knights could earn up to ten league points after it was decided to make the fixture a double-header.
The teams’ first scheduled meeting of the Championship, at the Greenyards on Friday 2 September, was postponed to allow the Bulls to travel to Inverness to play Glasgow in a pre-season warm-up. Worcester had been due to play the Warriors at the Caledonian Stadium but pulled out because of their financial difficulties.
The game in the Borders was then rearranged for the following Saturday, 10 September, which was a fallow weekend in the original fixture schedule. However, the death of the Queen two days earlier led to the cancellation of all domestic rugby fixtures that weekend.
As play in Super6 is now due to take place every weekend up to and including the date of the final in late October, there was no obvious date on which to reschedule the Greenyards game. Both teams therefore agreed with the tournament director’s suggestion that Saturday’s match should be given the value of two games, according to a Scottish Rugby statement.
However, a video interview with Southern Knights head coach Bruce Ruthven indicates that it was more of a mandate from HQ than an agreement between all relevant parties.
The Bulls will thus officially have one home game more than had been planned, giving them a potential advantage over their rivals. By the same token, it could be argued that the Knights’ hopes of fighting their way into the top four have been hampered by the loss of a game at their own ground. On the other hand, playing one fixture fewer could turn out to be a benefit to one or either team.
The two teams contested last season’s final, when the Bulls won 26-16, but they have had contrasting fortunes this season.The Bulls are currently in second place, seven points behind Watsonians with a game in hand. The Knights are fifth, ten points behind Heriot’s with a game in hand.
A statement on the Scottish Rugby website said: “Saturday afternoon’s Super6 fixture between Ayrshire Bulls and Southern Knights, kick-off 5pm at Millbrae, Ayr, will act as a double-header.
“The round 5 fixture between Southern Knights and Ayrshire Bulls was initially due to be played on Saturday 3 September at The Greenyards, although an agreement was made between all parties to support Glasgow Warriors in a pre-season fixture after the withdrawal of Worcester Warriors in Inverness on Friday 2 September.
“As a result, the Super6 fixture was re-scheduled for Saturday 10 September however as a mark of respect, to acknowledge the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, all competitive matches in Scotland were suspended for that weekend.
“Owing to the significant fixture congestion towards the tail end of the FOSROC Super6 Championship, together with player welfare considerations, internal discussions were had and a proposal was put forward by the Tournament Director that the original round 5 fixture be cancelled and this round 7 fixture is to act as a double header.
“With all parties involved in agreement, the round 5 fixture will not go ahead at any point and all league and match points accumulated this Saturday will count for double.”