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No regional Scottish rugby divisions this season but local competitions for Moray, RAF Lossiemouth, Banff and Huntly

By Craig Christie

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MORAY, Banff, Huntly and RAF Lossiemouth rugby club will be involved in mainly local-based matches when their sport resumes from the coronavirus shutdown.

Rugby will return at local level.
Rugby will return at local level.

A structure for the next Scottish rugby season has now been confirmed, following a series of consultations undertaken by the Scottish Rugby Council, with clubs and schools across the country.

Following recommendations made by the SRC, and recognising the exceptional circumstances and challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has created for the game, the board has suspended the national and regional competitions for one season, and has authorised a separate series of competitions designed to support teams returning to the field to play against neighbours, local rivals or smaller clusters of teams.

Competitions will vary slightly from one another and take account of the feedback received from the clubs, teams and players involved, as well as the SRC’s recommendations.

Men’s and women’s Regional Division teams, including those based in Moray and Aberdeenshire, will participate in a series of regional or local competitions.

Scottish Rugby’s Official Beer Partner, Tennent’s, will continue their support of club rugby through their involvement in these competitions.

The Tennent’s Premiership with National League Division 1, and National League Division 2 with National League Division 3 teams, will be split across 2 competitions culminating in three finals at BT Murrayfield.

For season 2020/21, boys’ and girls’ schools and youth rugby will also be different as the governing body for their sport seeks to support young players’ return to the game, and this will continue to be supported by Mitsubishi Motors.

Following confirmation of the competition formats, work is now underway to finalise the fixture schedule and underlying competition rules.

Any club wishing to discuss the season structure further should make initial contact with their respective Council representative.

Fixtures will be released following the next Scottish Government update on September 10, and will be released by September 16.

Scottish Rugby anticipates returning to competitive rugby on Saturday October 31 - however this is still only an indicative date and is subject to change as public health information continues to be issued from the Scottish Government.

Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr, said: “On behalf of the council I’d like to thank everyone from across the game who shared their views and insight to enable us to have a clear competition structure at every level, reaching the whole country, for rugby to resume when safe to do so.

"I know there has been a lot of hard work undertaken to reach this positive outcome against the backdrop of Covid-19 and while we can’t please everybody, as a council we have listened and applied the principles of fairness and consistency throughout to develop a blended model of competition which we believe provides the right solution to the challenges we face.

“It is our best chance to kick-start Scottish rugby clubs back into action this season and I wish everyone well in the months ahead as we look forward to rugby being played again.”

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development, Sheila Begbie, said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone that has participated in this process as it has been fundamental in shaping the competitions for both the men’s and women’s game as well as the boys' and girls' schools and youth game.

“Through this unprecedented period of uncertainty we have had excellent support and collaboration across the game in Scotland and can now share with all clubs how we can return to competitive rugby, in a sensible, safe and appropriate way in the months ahead.”

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