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.