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London Scottish say sorry in return for players

Scotland Logo © SRU - used with permission

Scottish Rugby and London Scottish have confirmed that a revised player development pathway will operate for the forthcoming season 2016/17. This comes after the recent and public spat during which the SRU withdrew support weeks before pre-season was due to begin.

It looks like London Scottish needed the deal more than the SRU as the announcement today casts it very much as London Scottish apologising for their previous statements and the SRU graciously correct the whole time with their “entirely legitimate” concerns.

Under the new deal, up to eight players will be seconded from Scotland to continue their development under the guidance of the Head of Scotland Age-Grade programme, Sean Lineen, who will continue in his part-time role with London Scottish.

The release reads (partial extract):

The arrangements in place since January this year will now operate on a more modest and achievable scale better suited to the support available from London Scottish and will build on the success of the trial last season.

Sir David Reid, Chairman of London Scottish, commented: “We fully recognise that the concerns expressed by Scottish Rugby’s Board over the financial commitment and infrastructure needed from London Scottish under the previous arrangements were entirely legitimate.

“London Scottish will now take full financial responsibility for its areas identified in the partnership, which are designed to enhance the performance environment in which London Scottish players can train and prepare.”

Rod Lynch, President of the club, added: “We regret that our recent statements and media coverage of them may have cast a cloud over such an exciting opportunity and are grateful that Scottish Rugby was still willing to continue a dialogue with us. We are now looking to move this mutually beneficial opportunity forward and will provide young players with exposure to Championship rugby and its associated benefits.

“Championship Rugby is a challenging environment commercially and we acknowledge that the concerns Scottish Rugby’s Board voiced were valid. I am delighted we have now been able to address these.”

Details of the players on loan will presumably be announced shortly.

15 Responses

  1. Wow, can’t say I’m not pleased by the outcome but feel the obvious statement SRU penned for LS to read could have been a little less cringey. Makes LS look like they are begging for SRU handouts (which they probably were given there current player shortage after failed partnership). Hopefully no more bad blood and LS will be a good proving ground for our SQ youngsters!

    1. Iain Morrison had bizarrely tried to spin it as an SRU climb down and defeat in the Scotsman. Not sure if I’ve ever read such a grovelling apology as that written for LS top brass.

  2. At least a limited amount of sanity has returned.
    The original split sounds like an accountant getting scared of potential

  3. Reads like one side wanted to get on with the programme while the other wanted everybody to know who wears the blazer in this hoose!

    Moving on and with luck upwards….

  4. “Okay, fine. But you have to say you’re really, really, really sorry.”
    “Well, I guess we can…”
    “…And say it was all your fault.”
    “I mean, we’ve got about six players without this deal, so we don’t really have a…”
    “…And say that the Championship is rubbish and poverty stricken.”
    “This doesn’t seem like a productive way to…”
    “…And you have to get ‘The SRU are the best at rugby and organising and stuff’ tattooed on both @rse cheeks.”

    These statements have the feel of someone trying to placate an enraged toddler. Loads of reasons to be cheerful in Scottish rugby, but there’s always the sense that someone in a blazer may just cock it up on a point of principle.

    1. That’s quite good. Obviously pie eating was part of the deal. As I have said earlier, nothing changed since the original announcement back in January. If some pie has to be eaten to get things back on track, so be it. Pleased for the guys who will get a chance, and pleased that LS will retain Lineen, albeit part time. Our previous DOR, Mike Friday did just fine on that basis. Must admit I didn’t see this coming when the plug pulling was first announced.

  5. Hopefully both parties will ultimately benefit from this reconciliation (and learn from the all too public spat) but can’t imagine the delay in preseason and the back and forth over the young Scots will have done LS much good going into next season. With 35 players at the moment, a further 8 will have them on 43 which should be sufficient, though they will be pretty light on experience.

    Also hoping the young guns can bring the enthusiasm and talent sufficient to help mitigate the damage done by the posturing of their blazered counterparts and remind the old boys what it’s ultimately all about.

    Going to be a long tough season with such a disjointed team. Interesting to see who the players will be?

    1. How on earth did you come up with 35? I know some guys have gone and destination has not been announced, and I know LS aren’t the best at communicating, but on Definite announcements we had about 16 when the deal was pulled, there have been four further signings taking us to around 20 confirmed. Traditionally we have worked with around 32 – 35 plus DR signings (again about 4 from Harley’s) plus the odd venture into loans as the injury toll sets in.

      1. Sorry just looked at the wikipedia. Must not have been updated properly in a while – used to the Pro12 ones being updated regularly.

      2. No problem Robbie, LS website is still showing 2015/6 squad with a note that 2016/7 will be updated “soon”. I think that other than the 8 coming south, there will still be a handful of signings plus an announcement on Dual Registrations.

  6. I’m hopeful that Lineen can pick some guys who can replicate Robbie Fergusson’s and George Horne’s showings, in which case, that should show that this is a decent development option. Plenty of time, pre-season has just started, and although it would have been good to have the whole squad from day one, time enough. Remember we only managed one pre-season friendly last year, were seriously unprepared and got our just desserts from Moseley in the first game at home. I expect a better level of readiness this year.

    As for experience, need a good blend of young and old, think we hung on too long for one or two that were past their best. I still think we are short of a few ‘hard nuts’, but I hope today’s announcement will make that just a bit easier.

  7. Lots of people seem quick to heap blame on the SRU without any clear evidence it’s their fault based on any known facts. We will probably never know the exact reasons for the plug being pulled so let’s not just speculate based on pre-existing animosity eh!

    At the end of the day, eight of our young lads will get a chance of playing some competitive rugby for a season, which can only be good for their development. I would hope it will be those youngsters who are unlikely to get much game time for Glasgow or Edinburgh that will go e.g. Cammie Fenton, Lewis Wynne, Matt Smith, George Horne etc. We shall see…

    On a similar subject, has anyone any idea how the academy lads are to get games each season apart from when farmed out to the clubs? I read somewhere that the eventual plan is for the academies to play each other twice a season which doesn’t sound like the most challenging environment. Perhaps adding in games against Leeds, Newcastle and Sale academies would be beneficial, and not too onerous in terms of travel?

  8. Are the SRU masters in game theory and experts in negotiation?

    Have LS, having already taken the moral high ground, now apologising for and assuming the faults of the SRU?

    Who knows? Best get on with it and hope LS have a great season.

  9. Until the contracts and budgets are published alongside an analysis of where the gaps were in the original deal it is impossible to say who was at fault here. Although I do find it interesting that so many people seem to think that LS have been bullied into making this statement and associated climbdown – what is the basis for this? From the language used in the statements themselves it is hard to tell.

    Could it not be that the SRU identified significant problems with the deal, and took the steps necessary to protect their, and Scottish rugby’s, financial position? And only reviewed their position when it was clear that their investment was likely to lead to a successful conclusion? In that instance the SRU deserve to be commended, although they could perhaps have handled the fall out better.

    The English Championship is a tough, tough league. Living in Nottingham I’ve watched a few games and they are not for the fainthearted. Exposure to this environment will do the young Scots no end of good, so I’m sure that both parties will want to extend this agreement at the end of the initial 12 month period.

    1. Doubt anyone will ever get to the bottom of this. Your comments on the Championship are spot on. I hope there are some well defined metrics in place to assess if this a success or not, and indeed to do so early enough if the SRU elects to not renew so LS can plan for the following season and avoid a repeat of this farce.

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