Plan to replace Super6 with revived inter-district championship defeated at Scottish Rugby agm

A move to scrap the Super6 tournament and replace it with a revived inter-district championship has been defeated at Scottish Rugby’s annual general meeting.

Chief executive Mark Dodson addresses Scottish Rugby's annual general meeting at BT Murrayfield. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Chief executive Mark Dodson addresses Scottish Rugby's annual general meeting at BT Murrayfield. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

However, the inter-district championship looks set to return for players from the domestic club game.

GHA, the Glasgow-based club, had proposed ditching the Super6 semi-pro competition which is designed to bridge the gap between the club and professional game.

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In its place, GHA called for the reinstatement of the inter-district championship which used to be competed for annually in the amateur era by Edinburgh, Glasgow, the South, the North and Midlands and the Exiles.

Southern Knights players celebrate during their FOSROC Super6 match against Heriot's Rugby at the Greenyards. Picture: Mark Scates/SNS

The GHA motion called for the revived tournament to be funded by cash freed up from discontinuing Super6 at the end of the current licence period in 2024. It was seconded by Hawick.

However, clubs voted by a majority of 72 to 46 in favour of an SRU amendment to the motion which retains Super6 and agrees to a consultation with clubs on the prospect of bringing in an inter-district championship below Super6 level, but not as its direct replacement.

The result came as a major relief to Mark Dodson, Scottish Rugby’s chief executive, who has personally championed Super6, calling it “the most successful rugby innovation in Scotland for a generation”.

He said it would be “madness” to replace it, describing the proposal as “sports business suicide” but he still envisages a place for the inter-district competition.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

“The way I see it is it’s win-win,” said Dodson. “The Board and Council are entirely happy for the inter-district championship to take place but not at the expense of Super 6.”

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Super6, which features Ayrshire Bulls, Boroughmuir, Heriot’s, Southern Knights, Stirling County and Watsonians, is midway through its second season and is widely considered to have produced rugby of good quality and high intensity. GHA object to the way the tournament was foisted upon the clubs. They believe that investing in the existing Premiership structure could have brought the same results and that a revived inter-district championship could reinvigorate the grassroots game.

There is also a feeling the clubs have been denuded to a certain extent by having their best talent “hoovered up” by the Super6 teams.

A second motion at the agm regarding the £20 million Scottish Government Covid bail-out was debated robustly. The motion, proposed by Glasgow Hawks and seconded by Falkirk, called for the distribution of the cash – a £15m grant and a £5m loan – to be reported to clubs on a quarterly basis.

It also sought assurances that the public money would not be used to fund the recruitment of non-Scottish qualified players.

In response, the SRU lodged an amendment citing the Equality Act but the amendment was defeated by 77 votes to 37, meaning that the Hawks motion was carried.

A third motion, proposed by Haddington and seconded by Currie, called for a review of the “efficacy, efficiency and propriety of the in-house legal and secretarial function of the Scottish Rugby Union.”

After debate, the motion was withdrawn on the basis that the matter would come under the auspices of a review by the Scottish Rugby Council’s Standing Committee on Governance. However, Haddington and Currie reserved the right to revive the matter at a special general meeting in December.

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