Pro teams: Prospects good for young, stable sides

PROGRESS in professional rugby has been slow in Scotland – some would say painfully slow – but SRU chief executive Gordon McKie was able to deliver a better report card than usual this term.

"The pro teams had a good year all round; crowds were up," said McKie. "Well done to Glasgow on third place (in the Magners League]; best ever.

"Edinburgh were disappointing last month, but overall ingredients are healthy with good, young and stable squads.

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"Glasgow have generated more income with bigger crowds and new shirt deals, and our investment increased in the sense that players received bonuses (for reaching the play-offs] and the overall budget has increased on and off the field, with Scotstoun costing more than facilities used before but providing a better base.

"It is equitable what we give Glasgow and Edinburgh, and I can assure you categorically that that (suggestion that Edinburgh receive greater investment] is not the case.

"The squads have been increased by four players for next season as we look forward to the arrival of Italian clubs next season.

"We have seen draft squads (from Italy] and there are some well-kent Italian internationalists who are going to play for the teams next year, so that looks good."