THE new season has arrived, and The Offside Line is delighted to announce an extended programme of coverage of the club game after agreeing partnership deals with 31 out of the top 34 clubs in the country.
This means we can continue our unrivalled reporting on the Tennent’s Premiership, which includes a full preview of the weekend’s action every Friday afternoon, comprehensive reports from all five games every Saturday night, our regular ‘talking points’ feature on Monday, our ‘leaderboard’ on Tuesday, our keenly contested ‘team-of-the-week’ on Wednesday, any other news related to the league as it happens, and a minimum of two features celebrating each participating club over the course of the season.
And now, for the first time, we will also be covering National Leagues One and Two throughout the 2019-20 campaign, which will include a full preview of each league every Friday and a comprehensive round-up of each league on Sunday, plus a minimum of two features celebrating each participating club over the course of the season and any news as it happens.
Super6 gets under way at the end of October and we are currently finalising exciting plans on the nature of our coverage of that league.
But before that, we have the World Cup, and The Offside Line will have their reporter on the ground in Japan – supported by Savills property experts – to provide all the news, views and colour from the biggest rugby show on earth.
We are living through a period of significant upheaval in both the domestic and global game. Now, more than ever, it is important that there is proper scrutiny of those charged with guiding our sport through these uncharted waters (where the potential is huge but the risks are great). The Offside Line has worked hard to shine a light on major issues facing the Scottish game, including: the unfair sacking of Keith Russell by the SRU, the unwarranted use of non-disclosure agreements by the SRU for departing staff, the conception and implementation of Agenda3/Super6, the SRU’s financial performance and the imminent arrival of giant private equity investment in the sport. We will continue to ask the tough questions and to highlight the important issues we believe our readers need to know about.
Old heads and new faces
We are delighted that Iain Morrison – former Scotland flanker and rugby writer for the Sunday Herald and Scotland on Sunday – has joined our stable of experienced freelancers, and will work alongside long-standing regular contributors David Barnes, Stuart Bathgate, Colin Renton, Alan Lorimer, Gary Heatly and Jack Nixon. We also have some exciting young blood such as Erin McRitchie, Steven Brunsdon and Iain Hay coming through to keep the old men on their toes!
Scotland’s top two professional rugby photographers in Craig Watson and David Gibson will continue to work with us this season, supported by a talented army of ‘amateur’ snappers from up and down the country.
Making it happen
Club rugby has been at the heart of The Offside Line since the site’s inception in February 2016, and we are very grateful for the support we have had from some of the leading clubs in the country, which has allowed us to embark on a remarkable growth curve to become the leading independent source of news, views and analysis in the Scottish game.
During this period, we have been delighted to widen the scope of our coverage to include international, pro-team, women, 7s, youth and schools, grassroots and, of course, governance – helping us to achieve 64,940 page hits last week alone [Monday 26th August to Monday 1st September] – which isn’t bad considering the season has not properly started yet!
No matter how much we grow into other strands of the sport, we will always remain committed long-term to giving the club game the profile we believe is deserves. It is the beating heart of our sport.
We’re just getting started
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