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Scottish Rugby to see national competitive league resumption

By David Porter

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Scottish Rugby has confirmed the resumption of a national competitive league structure for the upcoming 2021/22 season following a consultation with clubs and schools across the country.

The Rugby Development department, supported by the Scottish Rugby Board, Council and Championship Committee, contacted clubs in the spring to gather feedback on two season structure proposals to restart competitive rugby once Government lockdown restrictions had eased; Option A, a national league structure with promotion and relegation and Option B, a regional league structure with no promotion or relegation.

252 responses were returned, with 63 per cent of clubs and schools opting for Option A as their preference of structure to resume competitive rugby.

Following a presentation of survey results from the Rugby Development department, the Council made the recommendation to the Scottish Rugby Board for the Tennent’s Leagues (Men’s and Women’s) along with the Youth and School Conferences to recommence in September 2021.

Further details agreed by the Board and Council following consultation with the Championship Committee included fixture rescheduling as a consequence of any future restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore providing at least 65 per cent of all league fixtures have been fulfilled, promotion and relegation within the leagues will be applied.

In the event that the total number of all completed league fixtures is less than 65 per cent the season will be concluded and there will be no promotion or relegation.

Delivery of the Tennent’s Leagues, which are unchanged for the new season under Option A, will become the priority for Scottish Rugby in the upcoming season.

As such, Cup Competition details and fixtures will not be confirmed until later into the season when Scottish Rugby can be confident that the 65 per cent target can be reached.

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development, Sheila Begbie said: “We are extremely grateful to the clubs who responded to our survey as it has been fundamental in informing the decision-making process.

“Further to the announcement made we anticipate that a number of clubs will wish to review their position and may request to step down into a lower league following changes to their squads or player numbers.

"As a result, we anticipate publishing fixtures week beginning June 21 having received and considered any and all requests.

“It has been really encouraging to see clubs and schools return to rugby activity over the last few months, and especially recent weeks as all ages can now resume contact training.

"I am really pleased we can provide our clubs and schools with clarity on how we can return to competitive rugby in the months ahead.

"I wish everyone well in their preparations for the new season.”

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, across the whole country, for rugby to resume fully when safe to do so.”

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