Super6 season structure for 2022 unveiled

'Sprint Series' starting on 16th April with a 'Championship' to kick-off in early August

Super6 returns on 16th April. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Super6 returns on 16th April. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SUPER6 will return on 16th April with a ‘Sprint Series’ involving each of the participating teams – Ayrshire Bulls, Boroughmuir Bears, Heriot’s Rugby, Southern Knights, Stirling County and Watsonians Rugby – playing each other once, before the league is split so that the teams who finished in the top half play against the teams who finished in the bottom half over three weekends of play-offs to determine the final placings. 

Following the ‘Sprint Series’, teams will combine to participate in a one-off match representing the East (team selected from Southern Knights, Heriot’s Rugby and Watsonians Rugby) and West (selected from Ayrshire Bulls, Stirling County and Boroughmuir Bears) of Scotland.

Then the FOSROC Super6 Championship will kick-off in the first weekend of August, with every team plays each other twice, with semi-finals and a destination Grand Final.

Over the course of the year teams will compete in between 17 to 20 competitive fixtures, dependant on league standings.


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There is once again no cross-border element to the competition – which was a key feature of the original proposals for the league – with Scottish Rugby says is “due to all home unions focusing on recovering from the pandemic”.

As in previous years, five FOSROC Scottish Rugby Contracted Academy players will be aligned to each of the six clubs to enhance the development of the next generation alongside their full-time training at either Edinburgh Rugby or Glasgow Warriors.

It has also been announced that each team will be given funding from “existing high-performance budgets” to appoint a full-time general manager to lead on their respective Super6 team’s off-field operations.

 

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“The FOSROC Super6 made huge developments on the field last year,” said Jim Mallinder, Scottish Rugby’s Director of Performance Rugby. “The type of game that was able to be played in the late summer window is conducive in developing the players in-line with the speed and intensity that the professional game is played at.

“To now have two windows in which to play Super6 rugby, the spring and late summer, is hugely beneficial in helping players develop and prepare better for a professional rugby environment.

“For Super6 players to have the opportunity to play between 17 and 20 competitive games full of intensity and physicality is what was always planned for Super6. The aims and objectives of Super6 [to bridge the gap between the amateur and professional game] has not changed since its inception.

“I’m really pleased that we have been able to allocate existing funding to each team in support of the General Manager roles. Whilst we’ve previously invested on-field we now feel that the time is right to support and invest in the teams off-field, within budget.

“The General Managers at each of the teams will be responsible for developing and improving all off-field activities prioritising commercial expansion and overseeing the marketing and communications strategy for each of their teams.

“We believe that by doing this, the teams and clubs will become more sustainable and able to create better environments more alike the professional rugby game.”


Schools/Youth Rugby: Hawick Youth return from Wales with ‘Tubby Cup’

About David Barnes 3180 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.

37 Comments

    • Went all quiet

      Last “news” was London Scottish considering their options. Possible “Glasgow” team run out of Scotstoun but managed by Scottish Rugby.

      Could be that the costs of the two new teams have been used to pay for the ops managers in the existing 6?

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  1. On the one hand you have to admire the gusto with which Ron Sutherland embraces the will to bring rabid frothing at the mouth absolute levels of highly unoriginal common place rhetorical abuse to this forum (despite hosting his own digital cave of crazy on Facebook where he could play quietly) and yet remain bewildered that he is so willing to be the Rugby world’s most publicly identifiable troll? Since I have called him out I will leave my full name. Ed Crick

    For me whilst the optics on this latest move don’t immediatley look great my presumption is that SRU are pursuing a twin track policy of longer term revision of and investment in grass roots player development and retention widening the funnel at school and age grade but equally are planning for the mid term need to level up our pipeline to pro and international as the pool of potential overseas qualified dwindles with rule changes. It is not an easy task and they should ne commended for grasping the thistle.

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  2. I was interested when read about the Super 6 launch for the Spring to see what comments would be made on the Offside Line. I’ve not been disappointed or surprised. The usual contributors with their usual positive comments.
    Can I suggest maybe rather than knocking Super 6, something new and maybe it will work or maybe it won’t why don’t you concentrate your efforts on trying to fix our club game. It’s not the fault of Super 6, it’s not the fault of Covid and dare I say it it’s not the fault with the SRU but our club game is in trouble. We have Premiership Clubs, Nat 1 clubs struggling to field 2nd xv’s. We have a dated not fit for purpose league structure, we have a season which does not fit it to the lifestyle of the modern player, we have regulations relating to substitutions etc totally irrelevant to most club rugby. Can any one tell me what has been done in the last 10 years to address this situation. These are areas where the clubs can change but for whatever reason choose not to.
    There are green shoots of growth with a few clubs who now understand that the future of our game relies on 2nd xv’s, 3rd xv’s playing. The majority carry on blaming everything but themselves for not being able to field more teams.
    I don’t support everything the SRU do but they have got quite a lot right, I didn’t want Super 6 in the form it is in but we have it and it will get my full support. I spend more time worrying about the 3rd xv at my club because I know they are the most important team in the club, as will our Ladies 2nd xv when we get close to getting one out.
    Can I ask all the negative contributors on Davids great magazine to start coming up with solutions that will make our game more attractive to the youth ( 18+) of today to put their boots on and enjoy our club houses. 🐻

    Ps. I don’t want to hear the usual get rid of Mark Dodson, get rid of foreign players, get rid of Super 6……. A cure to Covid is allowed.

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    • Thanks Iain for your analysis. If I may offer, it’s not either/or it’s and. So it’s perfectly legitimate to consider Super 6 to be ill considered, financially suspect and aside from the fan boy applause not delivering what it says it will.

      You don’t get to frame the terms of the debate as all the issues you say we can’t speak about have a direct impact on the game in Scotland.

      The broader question is how we increase playing numbers. The stats published by Murrayfield for the season structure work shows there are less than 9500 adult male players. That in anyones terms is shocking. The more worrying stat is the number of players used to get teams out. It’s averaging 40 players to get one team out.

      Leave that aside and look at the fixture lists and the number of games unfulfilled. This is especially so in regional and reserve rugby.

      Wouldn’t it be helpful that the body tasked with governing the game here, who have a department dedicated to developing the club game might take some initiative? Take Action? Have a view at least? Seemingly not.

      You are a strong advocate of “local rugby”. In principal I agree with that. The tricky bit comes from defining local. Does that mean Watsons, Heriots, Accies, Stew Mel play each other a few times so they don’t have the misfortune to go forth of Inverleith or god forbid have to leave the city boundary? There are obvious problems at Boroughmuir who are really struggling to get their 2nds out. Edinburgh Accies 3rds seem to appear at home then find themselves unable to leave Raeburn Place. I’m not picking on these clubs. Merely stating the evidence from the fixture pages.

      Local in Edinburgh and Glasgow is very different to Midlands or Dumfries or North. It’s a numbers game and unsurprisingly clubs tend to be in population centres. Scotland isn’t well served with a speedy road network.

      I find simple solutions rarely address the underlying issues and invariably fail. Hopefully the season structure work does arrive at evidence based proposals.

      My 2c

      It’s not just about playing structures like league formats. It’s about the laws of the game and how that helps people play.

      So remove subs in the club game.
      Make the game the aerobic activity it was in the past.
      Look at tackle area with below waist tackling
      No taking out players at rucks and mauls
      It’s supposed to be a game of evasion – encourage that.

      Match playing numbers. Game on principles are a good move. I wonder why more clubs don’t utilise this?

      Player pool – some sort of system that allows players to make them available for a team struggling for players.
      Festival rugby – club invites other clubs. Small or full sided games based on what turns up. Just turn up and play in these events. The same ideas used in mini rugby and developing girls rugby.

      Will it work? No idea. You are right that society has changed. Players have different commitments and don’t live their lives around rugby (as we did back in the day). That’s a good thing.

      To end. This isn’t the preserve of rugby. All sports are suffering. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/oct/21/sport-england-warns-increase-in-activity-levels-will-take-collective-effort

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      • that is a very good post. I’m not going to say I agree with every word, but you pose lots of very good question and suggest some solutions – of which some are definitely doable and I’d support. I might add that some clubs clinging to national leagues where more regional doesn’t help put out 2nds or 3rds but does add to costs.
        I’d love to look at the laws around the tackle and breakdown, I’m wary about having them different in club rugby and pro and international rugby. Unless World Rugby change these laws for everyone, then if we can change them just in Scotland, then players hoping to move to top level are not going to get appropriate experience at lower levels. That eventually weakens the test side, the cash cow. Perhaps S6 can bridge that gap

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      • Cheers Sceptic

        I’ve thought long and hard about National v regional rugby. There are no easy solutions here. I had advocated doing away with Nat 3 but have changed my mind.

        Speaking as a regional club. It’s one up into Nat 3. Some years there may be no relegation into a region. The congestion can get a bit tiring

        We do need a suitable ladder. Stepping straight into Nat 2 from regional rugby isn’t reasonable or practical (imo)

        The current season structure proposal would have seen 6 clubs go down from Nat 3 into regions. I’m assuming Nat 3 goes back to a full league next season. 6 teams down is a huge change into regional rugby. Remembering that it’s unlikely to be equal. Just looking at todays reduced table would be 2 down each in West and Caley and nothing in Edinburgh.

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    • don’t always agree with some of what you say Iain, but your comment on the Third XV being the most important team in the club is spot on.

      Lose your thirds, then in a few years your twos will find themselves struggling, then a few years after that its the ones.

      Many of the Premiership/National league clubs don’t even pay their reserve teams lip service on their socials and they wonder why they don’t have enough bodies for a twos.

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    • A few years ago, I warned the Super 6 Clubs that volunteer support would dry up as the demands of organising the squads and matches would prove to be too demanding for club members. This is the SRU’s response – the introduction of General Managers effectively paid and controlled by Head Office at a significant additional cost which apparently comes from within the existing High Performance Budget. Really?
      As Bear states the number of players is falling alarmingly. I am not sure how we address this but it is certainly not by spending more money on Super 6!

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    • I share your concern about the reduction in number of 2nd and 3rd XVs being fielded and the resultant reduction in numbers of players playing the game . What do we do ?
      There are a number of things that should be done which
      together might improve the situation .
      * make mods to the structure of the game in Scotland
      with 3 National Leagues of 10 teams ( in Ireland it is
      5 National Leagues of 10 teams) . Below that teams
      play more locally with less travel . The SRU and Scottish Gov should be encouraged to invest in better coaching and facilities to support club rugby and create a more vibrant , positive club environment
      * make mods to the Laws to get more players on the pitch in a safer and more enjoyable environment by reducing numbers on the bench , banning high and double tackles , take outs without the ball , speeding up
      scrums simply to restart the game
      * get a third Pro side on the lower cost Connacht model to
      to give the surplus Edinburgh , Glasgow and 40
      SQP Pros currently playing in the English Premiership
      more game time
      * phase out Super 6

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      • so a 3rd pro team on a lower budget like Connacht (whose budget ain’t so low BTW) and attract players getting paid well in the English Premiership, where they have higher budgets. I see a problem there

  3. This will become an U20’s programme as most older & more experienced players with ‘real’ jobs won’t give up Spring & Summer for the poultry money to play Super 6…many have already….& yet now we have a full-time General Manager added to f/t Coaches…typical of SRU…lopsided logic….
    Same old…

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    • Spot on, Walter – you said it!
      SRU is currently sitting on £18.5 million of the SG’s £20 million Covid bailout, according to the documentation intended for “grassroots rugby clubs”.

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  4. As much as you wrap it up and re-invent it a six team league will never really capture the imagination and interest. It will provide half a season of rugby or a full season of familiarity bringing contempt.

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  5. “We believe that by doing this, the teams and clubs will become more sustainable and able to create better environments more alike the professional rugby game.”

    Fascinating comment. More sustainable? Really.

    Perhaps you could give us the Super 6 sustainability metrics there Jim? Also remember that the Scottish professional game can’t exist without the cash transfer to keep it afloat. Ie it’s unsustainable

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    • Having found and published the link, you might have read it. “The players must be Scotland-qualified (eligible to play for Scotland)”. What is the problem?

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      • Well what does ‘Scotland qualified’ actually mean? If it is Scotland qualified by merit of residency rather than a familial connection I don’t think that is particularly promising, well in my opinion for what it is worth. As for the mission statement it seemed a bit like the commentary you get on the Discovery channel, if you get my drift, as for General Managers and ‘off field’ funding all sounds a bit Jam tomorrow.
        Frankly from a distance and with admittedly limited in-depth knowledge of the system it just looks ‘amateurish’ for want of a better word.

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      • Frankly I don’t see what the problem seems to be with wanting Scottish International players preferably qualifying on parental rather than residency, or am I missing something.

      • Why can’t we produce enough of our own via our development system rather than use a Cape Town based agent!

    • @GeorgeHaley

      when you say “nothing wrong with wanting Scottish International players preferably qualifying on parental”, there are a few angles.
      The easy one. Taking that strictly, the child born in Scotland of non scottish parents is as scottish as needs to be surely?
      Residency qualification is always contentious. But under World Rugby rules, players can qualify on residency. I doubt you can find a single top tier union (never mind smaller unions) who do not exploit that. We don’t need to but we would be taking on the rest of the world with one arm behind our back.
      We can push the SRU to push WR to bin this rule of course, but while its there we should play by it IMHO. Within reason.
      Residency qual used to be 3 years, its now 5. We will see fewer players qualify in residency in future (while kids not born but brought up in Scotland as their home will be fine).
      I do think that the S6 should tighten up though. I want players to progress via that to full professional and maybe Scotland, but there were maybe more non Scot qual last season.

      • Thanks for your input but without appearing too bumptious I am aware of World Rugby rules and the advantage Unions take within those rules and as I mentioned in another comment in response to ‘Jan’ who commented on the U20 article it surprised me to find out that the opportunity to ‘adopt’ a country is a hangover from the amateur days.
        My suggestion was, not unreasonably in my opinion that the SRU should look to develop homegrown talent rather than ship in ‘prospects’ and that I thought was happening to a degree in the Super 6. If I was/am mistaken in that I am certain someone will point out my error.
        My comment was a plea if you like that the priorities should be developing the game from all quarters of Scottish Club Rugby and that from the few examples of Super 6 that I managed to see I thought the standards were patchy especially in one of the fixtures I saw one of the ‘Props’ wouldn’t have looked out of place in an Old Boy’s Extra B team svelte he was not: that combined with Players on loan from the Pro Clubs and apparent restrictions on the playing front I just thought it was a strange concept and one designed to prove someone’s point rather than anything else.
        Was there, is there a reason that Roseburn Street had to make up a competition and ‘cobble’ sides together because that is what it looked/looks like to me, again if I am mistaken I am certain that someone will be able to enlighten me.
        As regard using the existing World Rugby rules we are where we are and I agree with you that it would be madness to declare a form of UDI.

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  6. Someone found a spare £200k+ to fund these general managers “from existing resources”

    I didn’t realise there was a money tree at Murrayfield.

    Or put another way. 20% of the funds being made available to clubs to bid for based on the Scottish Government’s loan.

    Professional rugby will eat itself.

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    • Mind-numbing gullibility, verging on criminal idiocy – Matron definitely won’t be pleased to see your latest tawdry outflow of deranged, deliberately provocative sepsis…. Such spanking fun will be had!

      More of those lunatic comments and the big strong girls in white coats will be along with their corrective red-hot pokers, to remove you from within the cowardly cloak of that silly pseudonym, dispeptic 9, toxic+9 or whatever contrived keyboard moniker you are currently cowering behind. After that, you’ll be even more defective than you are deranged!

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      • as usual Ron you resort to personal abuse. Not s single word relates to the article. What a sad old man.

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      • Bless you for your blustering bilge, Speccy9!
        The comment was a response to your “contribution”.

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      • yes Ron, a personal attack. Accusations about the state of my mental health. Pretty low even for you. Not a word about the article, not a single comment on my post – which consisted of 2 words. Too much for you?

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      • Oh dear, Apopleptic+9 – your overworked bilge pump is clearly cranked up to full toxic volume yet again!

        Off you trot, there’s a good chap, take your over-worked single brain cell with you, offer further vacuous 2-word comments on articles and (as we have seen) more about other contributors – and misrepresent someone else.

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      • David, can we cut out this crap that Ron posts for once?

        The nonsense he comes up with in fancy wording is one thing when it at least relates to the content of the article… surely this is just abuse of another commenter.

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      • Agree. Septic 9 has given his opinion and got a torrent of abuse in response. ‘Neil’ was censured for (arguably) less than this. Even if others don’t share S9’s enthusiasm for S6, there’s no need to abuse him for fundamentally being happy about a rugby comp he enjoys watching.

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      • Ron this may come as a surprise but the comment ‘excellent news’ is in no way incendiary. There are plenty of people ive spoken to who enjoyed the Super 6 and are looking forward to more. So for us this is………….excellent news.

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    • What Mr Sutherland does is consistent and predictable. He does not like to see anyone say anything which opposes or seems to critique anything he has said. He rarely if ever tries to engage in debate, so tries to shut down debate using personal insults etc.
      Well it ain’t going to work.

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      • MEANT TO POST AS REPLY:

        On the one hand you have to admire the gusto with which Ron Sutherland embraces the will to bring rabid frothing at the mouth absolute levels of highly unoriginal common place rhetorical abuse to this forum (despite hosting his own digital cave of crazy on Facebook where he could play quietly) and yet remain bewildered that he is so willing to be the Rugby world’s most publicly identifiable troll? Since I have called him out I will leave my full name. Ed Crick

        For me whilst the optics on this latest move don’t immediatley look great my presumption is that SRU are pursuing a twin track policy of longer term revision of and investment in grass roots player development and retention widening the funnel at school and age grade but equally are planning for the mid term need to level up our pipeline to pro and international as the pool of potential overseas qualified dwindles with rule changes. It is not an easy task and they should ne commended for grasping the thistle.

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      • Tut, tut EdC – nothing of note in that misposted infantile barb (nb: we had already outed you a few weeks ago as Epic Prick, or similar) having lasted little more than a day on FB, if that, before the admins decided to pull your leaky bilge plug.

        Keep it up chaps – a genuine hoot to be savaged by a flock of semi-moribund sheep…. EdC is sure to come piling in bravely – behind the big boys.

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