It should perhaps come as no surprise that SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson’s contract has been extended. However the timing appears to be very odd.
The supremo has been awarded a new 5 year contract which will take him through to the next world cup in 2019 and the SRU have pointed to several areas of success under Dodson’s reign ;
- the continued financial growth through investment most notably from BT, but also from RBS and Macron
- the strengthening of Glasgow and Edinburgh as professional rugby teams and the generation of stronger playing depth for the national side
- the recruitment of Vern Cotter from Clermont Auvergne
- the creation of the BT Rugby Academies
- the establishment of the Club Sustainability Fund earmarking£1.6m for club development over 4 years
These achievements are positive, and at long last a better infrastructure to support player development is emerging. However until this translates into on-field success at a national level, it is difficult to understand why Dodson deserves this massive pat on the back.
Of course, Glasgow won the Pro 12 last season and the financial investment from BT is significant thereby allowing investment in the academy structure. But as yet there is limited evidence of Dodson’s work resulting in progress at international level, and this was one of his original stated aims.
Dodson was appointed to the post in 2011 and since then Scotland have dropped in the world rankings. Player numbers have failed to move forward at grass root levels to support the amateur and professional development of the game. We now have no representation in the British & Irish Cup, no longer have the guarantee of Glasgow and Edinburgh both appearing in Europe’s premier cup competition, and we have lost our place in hosting the World 7s Series Tournament with our Sevens team barely surviving a funding cut. Under his tenure, the national team have twice picked up the wooden spoon (2012 & 2015) and staggeringly have only won 3 out of their last 20 Six Nations games.
We are now less than three weeks away from the 2015 World Cup. A competition that Dodson famously plans to win as part of the SR strategic objectives!
With Vern Cotter also renewing his contract just before the best opportunity to pass judgement on his talents, surely, post-World Cup would be the best time to assess just how much progress really has been made?