Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


SRU and London Scottish announce Partnership

The SRU and London Scottish have today announced a ‘resource focused’ partnership to create a joint performance programme, with the sharing of player and coaching resources at the heart of it.

This arrangement will see Sean Lineen, current International age grade supremo, take on a Director of Rugby role part time. Recently retired Edinburgh stalwart Roddy Grant will also join the coaching staff in Richmond initially until the end of the season, and both appointments are effective immediately.

It’s clear that the relationship with London Scottish has been actively developed by the SRU in recent years, with a number of Glasgow players in particular moving south for short term loans, most recently Rory Hughes. Academy players Robbie Fergusson, George Horne and Jack Cosgrove have also spent time with Scottish this season in an effort to keep them from relegation from the English championship.

This ‘partnership’ is a definite move towards Scottish be a de facto 3rd pro side, a move that has been proposed by a number of rugby writers. This summer there was even talk of Scottish, and their Welsh exile counterparts, joining the Pro 12 league which sounds a little more far fetched given their locations are still under the RFU’s jurisidiction.

London Scottish will continue to be an exiles team but this partnership will now mean more players and coaches can be sent into exile than before. A good thing?

14 Responses

  1. Commented already under Roddy Grant – very positive move that almost poses more questions than it answers. I hoped when Simon Amor left Scottish we might get Lineen. Now we have!!!

    First priority is to stay up n the Championship, then we will see.

  2. While I do not know all the details , I have stated in previous posts that this feels like the right move to me and makes a great deal of sense.

    Even if they dropped a league it would work as a feeder and a place to develop players beyond the academy and pre pro sides. Worth it being a lost leader for a few yesrs. This has to be a long term strategy.

    It does pose more questions than answers however positive questions.

    Lineen is a shaper and agruably ploughed the field and planted the seeds that brought about the harvest for GT at Glasgow. His involvement is a real statement of INTENTION in my eyes.

    Just from a busieness perspective , Scotland may not be capable of a greater revenue stream from our own domestic pro sides for various reasons , however a strong London Scottish side , could pull the majority revenue in years to come to fund Scotland International and pro side ambitions.

    Actually this makes huge business/commercial/Marketing sense as well . 5M people in the whole of Scotland and 5M in inner London alone, think of the revenue this could bring at the gates from away supporters.

    We are scots , we will take anyone’s money , so why not take English money as well as scots bawbees.

    All of this off course assumes a pertnership is sharing of the revenues and the losses in the business sense of the word and not just a convenience basis , sharing resources, however I can see this must have a cash backing somewhere.

  3. First of all Bulldog, I have to admire and applaud your enthusiasm.

    Now, where I agree – a VERY positive move by the SRU and LS. Better still they have put in (IMHO) the best possible person to make it work.

    Where we disagree – going down to National 1 would (a) be wholly unacceptable to all of LS stakeholders and (b) be self defeating. This is not just a question of game time, it is a question of who can make the next step up. This season, George Horne and Robbie Fergusson have put their hands up. Horne to the extent he is keeping the regular scrum halves out of the side. Well done young man. National 1 in England will offer little more than Premiership in Scotland.
    I cannot for the life of me see LS as a money spinner. The RAG is an antiquated ground and even if we were to double last season’s attendances (pig flys past) in what was our most successful season since Tiarks brought us to our knees, we would hardly get more that two thousand, nor would any more be strictly safe.
    Yes, there are exiles in London, most of whom are round ball followers and most of whom do not live in SW London. The logistics of travelling to LS if you live other than in SW London are not easy. For sure easier to follow Glasgow from Embra or vice versa.
    Cash backing for this will remain a mystery, however in the short term I expect that the match day squad will continue to be a mix of SQPs (Scottish Qualified Players) EQPs (thereby retaining ERFU funding as a member of Level 2 England) and those who are both SQP and EQP (for funding purposes I expect them to be counted as EQP. What I expect to disappear will be the Harlequins DR players (usually 4) and those guys who are neither SQP nor EQP (4 right now). No doubt there will be some agreement between SRU and LS over cost sharing.

    All in all a big plus and credit to all concerned to put this in place after the damage ‘Slasher’ McKie did.

    Let’s NOT start on Pro 12. A completely different topic.

    Always happy to disagree!!

    1. Hello Mike, I do not know the details and just like the concept. Something about it feels right , it has opportunity. On reflection and taking account of your view , it would be better if they stayed up. I just checked out the LS gate numbers and they get an average on 1600 per game. Even if this halfed it would be more than any of our club side attendances however I am wondering if the SRU were to set up a 3rd pro side in scotland, with all the long term investment that involves , how many people would attend . I suspect no more than 1600. Just throwing a few numbers around here however it feels like it has the word ‘development’ written all over it. I suspect the longer term plans and what might happen if they drop will be revealed in due course. I think the SRU must have some development plan and part of their risk will be an exit plan. Like yiou said, I am optomistic .

      1. If you google Daily Mail London Scottish you will get some clarity in the shape of an interview with Rod Lynch LS President and CEO. I was aware of the ground redevelopment plan, I think it is still in the planning permission sausage machine. Pro 12 I think comes with a number of caveats (a) there are no vacancies at present (b) not sure about the appetite for expansion to Pro 14, most coaches are grumbling about too many games and (c) the attitude of the RFU who need to sanction cross border competition – that said if they ring fence the English Premiership then all bets are off. Rod Lynch will be a great deal better informed than punters like you and me!!!

  4. Well, the first game under the new regime resulted in a resounding 49 – 7 win against Ospreys A. Hard to know what Lineen will take out of that. A dead game for Ospreys A , and I have no idea about the strength or otherwise of their side. Given that, LS were much crisper than of late. Two tries for Rory Hughes. Next week away to Munster A will be a lot more revealing IMHO. Then it is back to core business, YC at home and LW away the week after.

  5. What would be good is Sean Lineen appointed coach of the Anglo Scots to compete in the District Championships

  6. He has his hands full. If you read the interview with Rod Lynch, it is quite clear LS are the third pro team in all but name. District Championships in that context are irrelevant.

  7. I will continue to bang the drum for a District Championship as a feeder to the pro sides – An Anglo Scots side would not just be about LS

    1. I doubt if it It would be about LS AT ALL. Even with this new partnership I expect we will continue to have a relatively small squad, albeit with more Scottish Qualified Players. For the second season in a row we are struggling to put out a balanced match day squad due to injuries. Yesterday’ for the second time this year our number 8 came on as a back. If you are thinking about say 4 domestic district sides plus an Anglo side, that’s another 4 games. Very hard to see LS being able to free up anyone for that. Lineen has age group responsibilities as well as LS. Better to give someone else the chance.

      I don’t disagree with the need to give young talent who are not Pro Squad players proper competitive game time and if that is in the form of a District Championship then fine.

  8. The renaissance continues. After two B & I cup wins, LS fought back from an 8 – 20 deficit against Yorkshire Carnegie, to score a converted try from the touch line with the last play of the game to win 22 – 20. Grit and composure to get two tries in the last ten minutes against a side then 3rd in the table. Redpath is spitting tacks.

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