The Super Six Pack

Scottish Rugby has announced the six franchises which will form the new Super 6 competition kicking off in the 2019/20 season.

The six available franchises have been awarded to Ayr, Boroughmuir, Heriot’s, Melrose, Stirling County and Watsonian FC.

Currie Chieftains, Dundee, Edinburgh Academicals, Gala, Glasgow Hawks and Hawick all lost out.

Those choices raise more questions than answers in terms of both the future of the Super 6 competition as well as the future of rugby in Scotland. There is no Glasgow based team (although Ayr might argue they are right next door to the airport) and Stirling is more central belt than Caledonia.

The bids were all assessed across several criteria which were: rugby, vision, governance, ground and facilities, partnerships and links, and financial sustainability, with consideration also given to the people behind the bid and its deliverability.

At least one franchise will be based in each of the four regions: Caledonia; Glasgow and the West; the Borders; and Edinburgh and East Lothian. Two additional franchises have also been awarded.

Controversially both those extra franchises have gone to Edinburgh-based teams. Edinburgh is a city that has struggled to sustain a professional team at times so it will be interesting to see whether there is also a market for three semi-professional teams as well. The tin foil hat brigade will no doubt point to this as proof that the SRU are determined to make Edinburgh the dominant force in Scottish rugby at the cost of all others. Wilder conspiracy theories have been proven in the past.

Glasgow and Glasgow Hawks are perhaps the biggest losers. The team was set up in the late 1990s to provide a pathway to professional rugby for Glasgow-based players. The Hawks made it clear before the announcement that it was likely the club would fold if it wasn’t awarded a franchise as its whole reason for being would cease to exist. It seems inconceivable to pass over Scotland’s largest city for a franchise when rugby has made such great strides in an area so dominated by fitba’. However, we are assured the selection process was both independent and rigorous. Anyone looking to demonstrate an independence of thought might point to the fact Gala was overlooked despite Gregor Townsend being on the review Panel that awarded the franchises.

Chair of the Panel Sir Bill Gammell, said: “I believe the advent of Super 6 is an exciting, forward-thinking evolution within Scottish rugby. I was impressed by the strength, quality, partnership and collaboration in the 12 bids, demonstrating the real potential for future growth.”

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson said: “Given we had double the number of bids for the places available in Super 6, inevitably some of the applicants would lose out. The Review Panel gave each bidder a full, fair and equal opportunity to make their case.

“The six successful applications will, I believe, enable Super 6 to achieve our ambition to raise the standard of rugby at the top of the club game in Scotland and also create strong, sustainable franchises in their own right.

“The bids from the successful six clubs clearly demonstrated a shared vision for what Super 6 can become and highlighted the ambitions of these clubs to grow. This is the start of our Super 6 journey together and I feel we are well-placed to make it a success.”

The announcement of the sucessful bidders marks the next stage in Scottish Rugby delivering “Agenda 3” which sounds like the command Supreme Chancellor Palpatine gave when he ordered his troops to kill all the Jedi. We now await news of the next stage which will see each franchise put together teams and backroom staff. Only time will tell if that is as bloody and rentlentless a process as the assault on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.

Scottish Rugby released statements from each of the successful and unsuccessful bidders and we have included them here in full.

Sucessful applicants

Ayr

“Ayr RFC are excited to have achieved Super 6 status and looking forward to playing in the new set up and, in particular, the cross-border competition as Ayr are the only Scottish team to have reached the quarter-finals in the B&I Cup.”

Boroughmuir

“We at Boroughmuir are delighted to have been awarded a Super 6 franchise. We firmly believe that the community-based vision at the core of our bid will serve rugby well, and we look forward to starting the tournament in 2019/20, the club’s centenary season.”

Heriot’s

“Heriot’s Rugby Club is delighted to have been selected to participate in the Super 6 tournament. We believe that Super 6 can help evolve the Scottish club game and we are grateful to all those who have helped build Heriot’s to the point that we have reached, where we have been capable of being successful in this process. We are all very proud of this achievement.

“We look forward to working with Scottish Rugby and the other Super 6 teams to further the development of semi-professional rugby players in the Scottish club game. By working with George Heriot’s School, Stewart’s Melville Rugby Club, Edinburgh College and throughout the community we will also provide a platform for all rugby players to reach their potential within the game.”

Melrose

“Melrose Rugby is delighted to be rewarded with one of the Super 6 franchises.

“This opportunity to support bridging the gap between the club and professional game is something Melrose Rugby has worked tirelessly to do since the game went professional in 1997.

“Edinburgh Napier University will play a pivotal role in further bridging this gap and we are delighted to be working in conjunction with them. Both their expertise in elite sports performance along with world class facilities will foster the environment to help the Melrose Rugby franchise flourish.”

Stirling County

“Stirling County are delighted to be selected as one of the inaugural Super 6 clubs for season 2019/20. We look forward to working with our franchise partner Stirling University, the other Super 6 clubs and Scottish Rugby on the next phase to ensure a successful launch of the tournament.”

Watsonian FC

“Watsonian FC is delighted to have been awarded a franchise in the new Super 6 competition, which we believe will play a huge part in enhancing the development of elite rugby in Scotland.

“We are looking forward to working with Scottish Rugby and the other five franchisees to ensure that this exciting new venture will be a success. We also welcome the opportunity of working with other clubs in Edinburgh, and further afield, to provide the pathway to elite rugby for their talented players.”

Unsuccessful applicants

Currie Chieftains

“We are bitterly disappointed by this outcome. However, in the Chieftains tradition, we will regroup and continue to pursue our objective of being the best rugby club in Scotland.”

Dundee

“Dundee High are very disappointed not to have been awarded one of the Super 6 franchises. We were strongly motivated by a desire to offer a rugby pathway for players north of the Forth and we were confident that we had presented an attractive and viable bid.

“We are very grateful to those who contributed to the formulation of the bid, including the High School of Dundee, Abertay University, the University of Dundee and Dundee City Council and we trust that they will remain partners as we now concentrate on reaching the top of the amateur game which will come into place below the Super 6 competition from  season 2019/20.

“We thank Scottish Rugby for the opportunity and wish the successful bidders all the best in the new competition.

Edinburgh Academicals

“We are obviously disappointed not to have been granted a Super 6 franchise, especially having just won promotion back to the top flight. However, we feel we made the strongest case we could for inclusion and that as a club we still have a lot to offer Scottish rugby, especially once the new facilities are available at Raeburn Place. We will focus on becoming the best amateur club in Scotland and look to bid again when the franchises are up for review.”

Gala

“We are obviously disappointed not to have been selected as a franchisee for the Super 6, but would like to congratulate those who have been successful and wish them every success in this new venture for Scottish rugby. Given the facilities that Gala Rugby can offer we hope to be involved at some time in the future.

“We sincerely hope that the ‘partner’ to Super 6, Agenda 3 can stimulate and sustain amateur club rugby in Scotland in parallel with the development of the Super 6.”

Glasgow Hawks

“It is profoundly disappointing that Scotland’s biggest city will not be represented in this new structure. The commitment offered by Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities, The Royal Navy in Scotland and three long-established rugby clubs did not find favour on this occasion.

“It is our earnest hope that the goodwill of these organisations might be harnessed by an alternative body to ensure that the City of Glasgow has a platform for the best available club talent to develop in a professional environment.”

Hawick

“Hawick Rugby Football Club would like to wish success to the successful clubs that have been selected for the new Super 6 franchises. Throughout the process the club have been enthused by the direction that the game is going in Scotland and although disappointed that a club with the history of Hawick are not part of it we will support those successful clubs to make this the success it deserves.”

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Born a Souter but brought up just south of the Border in Berwick where he played for Berwick RFC as a kid any any position where cover was needed.
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78 comments on “The Super Six Pack

  1. Sotonsaltire on

    I thought and still do think that the Super 6 is a good idea. Just very disappointed that I wont really be able to engage in it. Living in the largest city in Scotland, which has the rugby club with the biggest support in Scotland, I find it astonishing that Hawks have not been awarded a franchise.

    For those at the SRU in Edinburgh, Ayr might be “in the west” but it is nowhere near Glasgow, nor is Stirling – certainly not for rugby supporters. My view is that this is an incredibly bad decision by the SRU – if any team would be commercially successful in the super 6 it would be a mini Warriors/Hawks.

    The Super 6 as a competition has no relevance to the biggest market, and biggest school population in Scotland. Wonderful stuff from the SRU.

    Reply
    • FF on

      I too have been a supporter of this idea but I’m pretty disappointed by the decision.

      Doesn’t really effect Glasgow fans, who can after all watch the pro-side, but players at this level are going to be less mobile so not having a ‘local’ Super 6 side could be the difference between a young player giving pro rugby a shot via this route or deciding to settle in the community game.

      Edinburgh just doesn’t need three franchises, no matter how strong their bids. Personally I think one and the pro-side is adequate. Dundee and Glasgow really should have a team.

      Reply
      • Blinky on

        I agree, Dundee should have been one of the choices along with Glasgow even if Hawks are a bit substandard at the start. Distribution across Scotland should trump facilities. 3 teams on top of each other is pointless and fractures support and only ensures weak teams as the talent will be spread around rather than focused in a catchement area.

      • Stu on

        IMV it’s not about attracting bigger crowds – clubs have their fans and that only tends to fluctuate with membership. It’s about improving the quality of the rugby and players.

      • Sotonsaltire on

        FF, I agree with your post.

        For those commenting it is not about growing a fan base I think this misses the point about Glasgow. Scotstoun is sold out every week, there is a really rugby following in the city that didn’t exist 10 years ago and this was an opportunity to make Hawks a real community and feeder club for the Warriors and further broaden the player and supporter base amongst the next generation.

        Three sides in Edinburgh is nuts from a player pool, supporter base and in my view long term financial viability of the project.

      • PaulJ on

        One of the features within the proposal document is that the Super6 will help with “stimulating spectator appetite for exciting play” which “will in turn increase public interest in our game”. So it is very much about attracting bigger crowds.

      • Stu on

        Paulj, proposal docs are always full of that sort of stuff. This is about improving player quality, not about growing the club game.

      • PaulJ on

        Agreed, this is not about developing the Club game, it’s about generating funds to develop the Pro game – just that those funds aren’t coming from external investors, they’re being diverted away from the Club game.

  2. SlowWalk90 on

    A team in Glasgow seemed like a clear requirement. Warriors don’t have a stadium big enough to house all their supporters, so there’s certainly a market there. Edinburgh, on the other hand, are lucky to get 3000 people at times… But they get half of the teams?

    Also, how is Stirling the representative for Caledonia? It’s pretty much in the Central Belt. Are they just trying to ensure its easy commuting distance from the Capital?

    Reply
  3. Andy N on

    To be honest, I’m more disappointed that the Glasgow clubs weren’t able to get themselves organised and put together a competitive bid. In my opinion it’s the clubs that have let the supporters down here, not the SRU.

    Reply
    • TheSmidge on

      This.

      It’s too blatant to be an Edinburgh-focussed stitch-up. Even the SRU are not that daft.

      Feels like complacency on Hawks’ part, when the failure of their bid is most likely due to the uncertainty and unavailability of a home ground. Each of the Edinburgh bids have a clearly established base and facilities. They can’t be blamed for succeeding where others failed.

      Reply
  4. pragmatic optomist on

    Amazed and very disappointed about the Super 6 selections. 3 x teams from Edinburgh!!!!! WTF is going on here!
    I was under the impression that the teams were going to be chosen by geographical demographics. To me that means a team each from, Ayr, Melrose, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and either Dundeee/Aberdeen/Inverness. This has bamboozled me. Has this ‘donkeys ass’ idea been hatched by the accountants rather than the rugby players?
    How is it that 3 x teams from Edinburgh is seen to be a good thing? Just don’t understand.

    Reply
    • Stu on

      It seems like a strange decision but training facilities and coaching support are obviously important.

      If we are comparing this to football then the S6 is equivalent to League One/Two where it’s common for teams from Angus, Fife or the borders to be full of players from the greater Glasgow area. If the players are serious about making a career in rugby they will go to the clubs that offer the best opportunity to do that. If they aren’t willing to travel a bit they are probably no great loss.

      Reply
      • Ian on

        You aren’t factoring youth development in the S6 clubs – youth players of school age are much less able to travel and so some will be lost to game, especially in the Glasgow area.

  5. Tonnie's Advisor on

    So you are basically saying Dundee deserved a spot. Aberdeen and Inverness did not submit bids. How is location the deciding factor here? I think Galsgow Hawks should have been represented before Boroughmuir but the other 5 franchises deserve their spot.

    Reply
    • Flexion, Touchez, Pause, Entrez... on

      I have to disagree with you here Toonie’s advisor – Boroughmuir have arguably the most impressive and suitable facilities of all the 12 applicants so that’s one I can understand.

      Reply
      • Tonnie's Advisor on

        Boroughmuir don’t own their own ground. Its owned by Edinburgh leisure. Last season Boroughmuir had to play a rescheduled game at Lasswade as their pitch was being used for something else. Hardly ideal for a Super 6 franchise.

      • Flexion, Touchez, Pause, Entrez... on

        Yes – aware of that. Same situation with Hawks, who you mentioned, who played at Scotstoun while they sorted the sinkhole in their pitch. Broadly speaking I’d say Hawks and Boroughmuir do have the best all round facilities available for a new semi-pro environment, just a shame neither are owned outright. I do agree with you in that location shouldn’t be the determining factor for successful bids – the pathway to professional rugby isn’t going to be blocked for those who want to become professional players just because there is no super 6 team in their city. If individuals really want to become professional rugby players, they will move to areas where opportunities are available to them. The whole point is creating elite level, successful franchised teams with the best players in Scotland playing in each of the 6 teams, which creates a stepping stone to playing for GW or Edinburgh.

    • pragmatic optomist on

      Yes, I am saying that they deserved a spot. The idea surely is to encourage rugby in every part of Scotland, n0t just bloody Edinburgh. If the other bids were insufficient or lacking in some way, then surely a way could have been found to improve them over time. The who;e project seems to be run like some a commercial contract, as if financial ability is the only thing at stake here. What does giving 3 x spots to Edinburgh do to help Scottish rugby. Absolutely nothing. Really stupid aand Edinburgh centric.

      Reply
      • PaulJ on

        Err, think you’re missing a crucial point here – Super 6 is an SRU Board initiative – those poeple employed to run the business side of the Union. This isn’t about growing the grassroots game, it’s a commercial venture to draw funds into the pro game and it’s development.

      • pragmatic optomist on

        A commercial venture which doesn’t include Glasgow is unlikely to succeed don’t you think? Or am I missing the point?

      • PaulJ on

        Not having a franchise in Glasgow appears a strange choice.

        Hawks bid obviously short in some respect, whilst the weekend reports they may fold if they don’t get a franchise suggests sustainability issues.

        However, Mark Dodson did say that if needs be, the Union would put a team together if they didn’t get what they want – guessing therefore they’re not too fussed there’s no team based in Glasgow.

  6. PaulJ on

    Is this the wake-up call the Clubs need?

    Agenda 3 is going to radically reshape Scottish rugby, and not in a way which the Members of the Union have had a significant say in.

    It has essentially been devised by the Board of the Union and its’ employees, who have decided what’s in the best interest of the Clubs.

    When it was first announced, “fewer, but stronger” Clubs is something we were told that would result – could Glasgow Hawks be the first casualty of this Executives strategy?

    Reply
  7. Robert Morris on

    Pretty devastating for Glasgow rugby and the talented youth of 3 long established FP clubs. Where to now for Hawks? Do we now go back to KA GA and HS? Surely a retrograde step? We need more high level rugby in Scotland’s largest city, not less. The talent is there, the SRU net needs to be spread as wide as possible, not just concentrated on the privileged few

    Reply
  8. Frazer on

    Rumours abound of 6 becoming 8 sooner rather than later, as was Dodson’s plan from the start. Surely then you would expect Dundee and Glasgow would be the next cabs off the rank.

    Reply
  9. Andy Render on

    3 Edinburgh clubs plus Melrose only around 70mins away doesn’t exactly spread the gospel despite how good each bid was – interesting to see that Heriots make reference to StewMel while none of the others seem to have any other companion clubs other than local universities. I wish it well but I’ve had concerns about the funding set up from the start (too thinly spread).

    Reply
  10. Borderman on

    Looks like the bids who pledged the most money have won.

    Gala and Hawick both have better facilities than Melrose ( and perhaps more importantly – field border lads in their squads). Yet they can’t compete with the cash Melrose get in from the sevens.

    Accies or Currie would of been better suited than Watsonians and Heriot’s could of gone without in favour of Dundee or a Glasgow team.

    Only good thing that might come out of all this is that we go back to the days when clubs who produce the best players win the league’s instead of clubs with the most money !

    Reply
    • Stu on

      Gala and Hawick do not have better facilities (with the exception of the undersoil heating paid for by the SRU) and there are plenty of Border lads in the Melrose squad.

      You’re talking about facilities and then think Currie should have got one of the slots.

      Have you ever been out of Hawick?

      Reply
      • Borderman on

        Melrose has no floodlights , no 3g pitch, no car park. They are the only club in the borders that would rather not be part of the borders! They have a few local lads in the squad but it’s no secret that they have a large number of players who commute from Edinburgh etc.

        No coincidence that they suddenly became a good club when the game went Pro !

      • Stu on

        Floodlights are coming as is the pitch – but no club in the Borders has both. No club in Scotland has both.

        Both Hawick and Gala were happy importing players in the 70s and 80s.

        Melrose won the league in 1990, 92, 93 & 94.

        I suspect you’re talking nonsense.

  11. Bulldog on

    It would be useful to see the criteria and weighting.It feels like Hawks financial stability has been in doubt as there is no question the lack of
    representation in Glasgow is not in the interests of the scottish game.

    Reply
  12. Buddy McGirt on

    Maybe Glasgow should have put more than one bid in….if it’s such a big rugby city…..funny how the sourest grapes have also come from Hawks. It’s not a divine right to be awarded a franchise.

    Reply
  13. Moody Blue on

    I have been looking at the players who have been capped by Scotland at Under 18 level who were nurtured within Scotland over the last 10 years.
    77 have come from Edinburgh schools/clubs, 36 from the Borders, 36 from Glasgow, and 62 from Caledonia.
    My record keeping may not be an exact science but that adds up to 211 players – approximately the number needed to fill 6 x 35 super 6 squads.
    On that reckoning there have been 2 teams worth of players emerge from Edinburgh, 1 each from Glasgow and the Borders, and 2 from Caledonia.

    In terms of players who have become ‘professionals’ the totals are 26 out of 77 in Edinburgh, 9 out of 36 in the Borders, 17 out of 36 in Glasgow, and 16 out of 62 in Caledonia.

    In terms of those who have so far been capped by Scotland there are 7 from Edinburgh, 2 from the Borders, 6 from Glasgow, and 6 from Caledonia

    Of course a few top players are late developers – notably Matt Scott wasn’t in a Scotland squad until Under 19, Finn Russell until Under 20 – but of those who have gained professional contracts over this period I reckon at most 10 players nurtured within Scotland were not capped by Scotland by Under 18.

    There are far more factors to consider but on this fact alone, it looks as though the only arguments with the final six chosen that can be sustained, would be the choice of a team in Dundee in place of one of the Edinburgh franchises. And of course, which two of the Edinburgh teams should have got their franchises.

    That

    Reply
    • Stu on

      Moody, the vast majority of Caledonia players are at fee paying schools – do they really have roots in the region?

      Reply
      • Stuart on

        Stu, you might want to check your facts. Grant Gilchrist, Adam Ashe, Finn Russell, Glen Bryce, Kevin Bryce, Sean Kennedy, Adam Nicol, Lewis Wynne etc have all come through local schools to name but a few.

  14. Borderman on

    Stu, the only one talking nonsense is yourself. Hawick have Volunteer park which is 3g and fully floodlit.

    How could Gala and Hawick import players when they couldn’t pay them ? Ridiculous to compare Merlose poaching players from all over Scotland and even outside of Scotland to the rare occasion when someone would travel to play for Gala or Hawick.

    The one reason Melrose has been successfull over Gala is money. Money which by in large comes from the SRU protected , Melrose 7s.

    Reply
    • Stu on

      Volunteer Park is now where Hawick are going to play? Aye right.

      You tell me – but you might want to google boot money.

      I notice you’ve ignored your drivel about Melrose only being successful post professionalism when it was pointed out Melrose won 4 championships before professionalism.

      I am not even going to ask you to explain your comment about the SRU protected Melrose 7s – as it will no doubt be more drivel.

      Reply
  15. Leftie on

    For me the most disappointing aspect is that Aberdeen teams couldnt put their rivalries behind to support a bid for Scotlands third city. Maybe they knew it wasn’t worth the effort.
    Geographically there isn’t a spread so it clearly isn’t about supporter engagement or building the game or talent from outwith the central belt. It’s simply, it it feels to be, about centralising and controlling the game from Edinburgh.
    I’m bitter.

    Reply
    • PaulJ on

      “centralising and controlling” you’re only saying that cause SRU will now have direct say over how and when 210 players train, rest, play etc, oh, and that they can tell 6 teams what to do and when, without having to worry about consultation or putting a motion to a General Meeting.

      Reply
      • Stu on

        Except of course they wont, but dont let that stop youre hysterical conspiracy theories – they are amusing.

      • PaulJ on

        My hysterical conspiracy theories are based around some of the following extracts from the SRU franchise document:
        – “The High Performance department of Scottish Rugby will appoint one member” of the five member Franchise Board
        – The head coach will be appointed “in consultation with and subject to agreement by the Technical Director of Scottish Rugby”
        – “The head coach will then be co-opted as a full member ex officio of the franchise board”
        – The head coach will have “a direct responsibility to the Technical Director of Scottish Rugby”
        – Board Members will “be expected to follow the guidance of the Scottish Rugby rep on the franchise Board”.
        – If their is disagreement amongst the Franchise Board they can then “seek a ruling from the Director of Performance Rugby of Scottish Rugby”
        – “Technical Director of Scottish Rugby must confirm the squad composition at the start of the season”
        – The Technical Director of Scottish Rugby “will guide head coaches” in making support staff appointments

        So looks to me that SRU will have direct say.

      • Stu on

        Paulj, none of that equates to

        “SRU will now have direct say over how and when 210 players train, rest, play etc, oh, and that they can tell 6 teams what to do and when, without having to worry about consultation or putting a motion to a General Meeting.”

        They are putting money into these franchises and are perfectly entitled to have a say in who the head coach is.

        Coaches are being groomed for bigger and grander things too – both our pro teams have foreign coaches for example.

    • FF on

      I’m disappointed too but it
      is depressing how quickly discussion reverts to conspiracy theories.

      The franchises have presumably been chosen according to their financial viability and the robustness of their bids. The SRU will get an absolute kicking if any of these franchises turn into a money-pit so it looks very much to me like caution has won out.

      Can’t we for once lay the past ghosts to rest and assume that the SRU are acting with honest intentions rather than malice? This is the regime that has finally begun turning around 15 years of abject failure and few would dispute the fact that Scotland’s rugby ‘pyramid’ has not worked effectively.

      Even if we don’t like the Super 6, or don’t like the clubs that have been awarded a franchise, it doesn’t mean it’s all been a devious plot by some kind of pound-shop Machiavelli!

      Reply
      • Flexion, Touchez, Pause, Entrez... on

        FF – Well said! Most outward-looking and sensible comment on this thread

      • Warks Scot on

        Based south of the border, I can’t comment at all on Scottish club facilities, fan-bases etc but totally agree that financial sustainability just has to be one, if not the, priority in deciding the franchise winners. The SRU simply can’t afford to dish out its limited resources to a club that just isn’t viable. What’s the point of awarding a Super 6 franchise to a club that is likely to fold and then drag down the whole project with it. The burden on the clubs themselves will be significant so they have to be in a good position in the first place. I just hope that the concept works and pulls in some additional interest, support and hence money, which in turn could aid the ultimate expansion to 8 franchises. Good luck to the winners and hope the disappointed clubs go on to have a second chance before too long.

  16. Sotonsaltire on

    A day on and I still can’t fathom the rationale of this applying my own criteria. So trying to take a step back, I have thought about what the key criteria must have been. It surely must be that Edinburgh has more higher quality rugby facilities and therefore they are better for players to train. I see no other logic to the decision to have three teams in a city that poorly supports its professional team and surely can’t financially or supporter-wise sustain 3 semi-pro teams.

    Yet again the tension between club and professionalism rears its head. This should have been about the future and not the past.

    Glasgow has no club baggage really, at least not in the same way as the borders and Edinburgh. It was a great opportunity to expand rugby in Glasgow and it has been blown.

    Unless of course Hawks are going to be Glasgow 2 in the pro14 reserve league…..

    Reply
    • Stu on

      Sotonsaltire – Hawks were winning back to back championships 20yrs ago – look at them now. Its a complete fallacy that Warriors success filters down to clubs – quite a few folk that follow Warriors never watched rugby until then.

      Reply
      • Sotonsaltire on

        As I said above, this was the opportunity to broaden the supporter base in Glasgow. I didn’t refer to Warriors success filtering down to clubs in the current format.

        I think in a microcosm, this is the issue. Certain factions within Scottish Rugby still view the game as a club up structure. My point, which I maybe haven’t been clear on, is that Hawks in a semi-pro league was an opportunity to push on with expanding the rugby playing and supporting base in Glasgow in the future. There are thousands of people who go to Scotstoun (and thousands more who cant get tickets) who, with the correct marketing of the semi-pro side, could be a fan base for something new. As in – you cant get tickets for the Warriors, go to xxxx and see the next generation of Warriors.

        I think the super 6 is the correct idea. I just think that the selection process must have had criteria flaws.

  17. Merlot on

    Something as important as this will have been analysed and marked extremely closely. They not only will have had to have been squeaky clean, but be able to prove they were squeaky clean. So either the scoring mechanisms were skewed towards those characteristics which favoured the Edinburgh bids, or Glasgow and Dundee failed to put together compelling bids.
    Of course, it’s likely to be a bit of both as Dodson admitted viability, sustainability and financial support were top of the list. Location (apart from the 4 regions being represented), fan-base and local populations were probably nearer the bottom of the list of wants. I have a feeling that, with hindsight, the review panel would have changed the weightings to ensure greater variety in locations.
    Either that means the panel don’t care (about having half the Super 6 in Edinburgh) or the bids from Glasgow & Dundee were that much worse that Heriots, Watsonians & Boroughmuir picked up the last spots. Either way, the teams from Glasgow and Dundee should be ashamed.

    Reply
  18. PaulJ on

    The world of rugby is littered with Pro teams running deficits & building debts or relying on benefactors to fund them.

    The English and Welsh are obvious examples as some of the teams publish accounts. In Scotland we have no idea how much the SRU experiment with Pro rugby is costing.

    What we do know is that the Board went out to find external investors to pump cash in Glasgow & Edinburgh, and so far, they appear to have failed, so we now have the same SGM motion being used to set-up Super6.

    With many examples of the lack of a sustainable business model for pro rugby, I am astonished at how many people are criticising Clubs in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee or where-ever for not putting stronger bids together. But perhaps Clubs looked at the offer, and said, you know what, we just can’t afford it.

    Reality check please, pro rugby, in its current guise, is not financially sustainable.

    The #ProRugbyArmsRace – can’t afford to win it, can’t afford to lose it.

    Reply
    • FF on

      I think you’re right – but it does kind of illustrate one of the purposes of the Super 6; to decisively separate the professional game from the amateur game so clubs in the premiership weren’t compelled to pay players to keep up. Whether you think Super 6 is the right solution is another question.

      Reply
    • SB on

      “Reality check please, pro rugby, in its current guise, is not financially sustainable.”

      Really? The SRU have the money from Murrayfield ticket sales, international TV and Pro14 tickets and TV plus sponsorship. The SRU turn over for 2016-17 was £50m.

      A return to amateur status would reduce the footprint of rugby in Scotland to something akin to hockey.

      Reply
  19. Grant on

    Best thing that can happen to Borders rugby is Melrose getting a slot. They have thought for a long time that they are something more than Borders club rugby. Don’t forget your roots eh? Ever since they snubbed the South team I think a lot of teams and other supporters lost some respect for them. I know I did. Let them up to the top table, I doubt they’ll be missed. The rest of us can get on without them just fine. Let proper amateur rugby thrive again.

    Reply
    • Highland Bear on

      Just watch out for the cuckoo in the nest in the form of Melrose seeking to retain a team in the Premiership (and the Border League) which will also act as a feeder to the Pro 6 team. With the prospect of a step up to professional rugby watch your local talented players gravitate to the Greenyards.

      Reply
  20. Alanyst on

    First impression…amazed by lack of Glasgow, disappointed no Dundee…seems biased.

    Second impression…not good for growth of the game beyond existing hotspots.

    Third impression…a merit-based tender selection makes sense in the short term, and without the short term there is no long term…establishment bias probably exists, but lets not assume its outright and deliberately pro-Edinburgh.

    Fourth impression – starting to make more sense…the teams that missed out can go home, buck up their game, prepare their tenders and bide their time for the inevitable failure of a team (or an expansion)…fine, strengthens the top of the pyramid by selection, and better than having a ‘geography 6’ policy of mediocre but PC selections that do nothing but suck the teat.

    Fifth impression – long term work must be done to overcome the privilege of the well-off few, building genuine viability outside of the ‘old boys network’…I would hope the SRU has a different plan to fatten the whole development pyramid.

    Super 6 is about focusing talent, not fostering growth…

    Didn’t get picked? Suck it up, move on, and pick up your game.

    Or take your ball and go home to your ma.

    Reply
  21. Jontymo on

    A Super Six-like development was needed as no-one could sensibly argue that the status quo had served Scottish rugby well.

    Since 1950, Scotland have had a losing record against every other nation in the top 9 of the world rankings. If we don’t beat at least two of Eng, Fra, Ire and Wal next year then this decade will have been the worst ever against those countries. The least said about the record of Scottish clubs in the B&I Cup, the better.

    Those wanting an expansion to a “Super 8” competition are missing the point – there simply isn’t enough talent in Scottish rugby to justify that just now. This is about the concentration of young, aspiring talent into a limited number of sides for both domestic and cross border competition.

    As for the composition of the six teams

    1) Like many, I’m very surprised Hawks aren’t in – I can only assume their bid just didn’t match up.
    2) That said, if any young ambitious player in the West isn’t prepared to travel to Ayr or Stirling, well….
    2) Similarly, very surprised Currie didn’t make the cut – like Stirling, I’d have thought their track record in youth development and being a progressive, go ahead club that had come from nowhere 50 years ago would have stood them in good stead.
    3) There was no justification for a Dundee or Aberdeen franchise, and certainly not in place of Stirling. Let’s assume Dundee put together an imaginative, far sighted proposal…what was stopping them from doing this years ago, to ensure a Dundee team continuously at the top table of Scottish rugby? As for Aberdeen, with no submission at all…well, the less said, the better. I say this as someone who grew up far north of the central belt!

    I wish all the best to all clubs selected. I sincerely hope this provides the springboard for an ever larger crop of young talented players into pro rugby for years to come.

    Reply
  22. Merlot on

    That’s pretty much how I reacted too, Alanyst. And in that order!!
    I’m slightly worried(?) that the 3 Edinburgh based teams will be handicapped by a diluted talent pool, whereas the other 3 will inevitably have the pick from their whole regions.

    Reply
    • Stu2 on

      It’s not the the 1930s – players are mobile and are able to travel trivial distances to play for other clubs.

      Reply
  23. Sotonsaltire on

    In support/mourning of the potential death of Glasgow Hawks due to the super6 debacle. I suggest that Warriors fans bring a Hawks Flag/hat/top to the pro14 semi-final.

    #eaststandmassive

    Reply
      • Sotonsaltire on

        the club stated its reason for being was as a pathway to the pro game which is now block therefore it does not have a purpose and the clubs that formed Hawks are likely to revert to their original format further down the league structure.

        Therefore Hawks May cease to exist. So my comment is not sensationalised.

  24. pragmatic optomist on

    Interesting that Glasgow Hawks have now asked for an independent review into the selection process. Absolutely right in my view, as the panel seem to have completely ignored their own guidelines of ” franchises in each of Scotland’s four regions, with no more than two teams in any single region”.
    At the least, hopefully we will see some kind of reasoning and rationale behind the bizarre decision to exclude any Glasgow team. As the rules also appears to suggest that it will be five years before any other kind of changes can be made, I don’t think Hawks had any other option. The Scottish Rugby Board believing that they selected “the most robust applicants’ could mean absolutely anything or nothing and some more detailed explanation is needed. I’m all for the super 6, but not one without a Glasgow or Northern club.

    Reply
  25. Ben F on

    Controversial I know but Ayr is hardly a community club, unless that community is the upper class village of Alloway. I could argue that Hawks is only serving the west end of Glasgow , are any of these clubs the heart of a community or is that the challenge we still need to address in Scottish Rugby.!

    Reply
  26. pragmatic optomist on

    Controversial Ben, and I’d also say wrong. Many rugby clubs are located further out of town in leafy suburbs or country locations. No one could afford city centre sites. It doesn’t make them any less of community club. What are you driving at here?

    Reply
    • Ben F on

      Take a drive down and see what you think for yourself? There is no community whatsoever, miles away from the populous and not the most inspiring. With new road and rail links ,you would be faster going to Edinburgh to see a game and be made welcome as well. Actually , here is even more controversial , are the warriors in the right location to service the West of Scotland, with limitations in ground capacity and active residents who would block any extension. Firhill was better by far for transport and ease of access. Lets see if anyone in the know steps out !

      PS I am no Hawks fan either , no business person would put money into an unstable financial model and that is the guts of that decision , I have no doubt. The SRU made the only realistic decision. Hawks will need to rebuild from its roots and if successful that will be true community.

      Reply
      • Sotonsaltire on

        Ayr are moving to a ground in the town centre supposedly. 5 mins walk from train station.

        I agree- it is quicker to get to a Edinburgh than Ayr from Glasgow though!

      • Ben F on

        I cannot see that happening you know . Dam Park is a few minutes from the railway and would be a benefit. However it is landlocked and a pitch only so the club will need to be elsewhere , that does not feel like a commuunity to me. With three sides in Edinburgh – You are spoilt for choice and there will be a home game somewhere in town every week.

  27. cripes on

    The rationale for the Super 6 is to close the yawning gap between the level of intensity and fitness needed for Pro rugby and the lower standard in the Premiership. If we can close that gap, then some of the better club players have a chance of moving up to the Pro teams, which at the moment is pretty rare.

    Many of the criticisms of the selection process miss the point. The SRU will be investing £800K+ per year in the Super 6, a lot of money. If it is to work, the participants all need to be commercially viable and sustainable, there is no space for passengers. They all need affordable and realistic business plans to bring their pitches and facilities up to a standard during the franchise.

    These would inevitably be the main criteris for selecting the franchises. 4 were judged the most viable in their districts, the 2 floaters were the two runners-up with the best proposals. The exercise is being criticised for not picking clubs to fit geography/local development, but that was never the criterion and anyway, what would be the point of picking a weaker, less sustainable bid over a stronger one and risking one of the franchises failing?

    Ref the SRU having ‘control’ of the S6 clubs, what they are effectively doing is following in part the New Zealand model, which works very well. The Union (or the provincial unions in NZ’s case) select two of the coaches, including the HC – the club can appoint others if they pay for them – and the players, the clubs are responsible for running the show and all the off-field commercial elements. It is up to the clubs to make it work if they want their franchise renewed after 5 years. It seems to me a good split of responsibilities.

    The responsibility for Hawks not making it I would suspect lies solely with Hawks. If the Dundee bid had the involvement of the other clubs in the city, rather than just High School FP, might it have stood a better chance? I would think the best bids have been chosen, for the right practical reasons.

    Reply

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