A WARNING for top rugby clubs to think carefully before introducing two leagues of ten teams next season has come from two-time champions Currie.
The club is highlighting difficulties sustaining the interest of players and supporters during a campaign which has seen the Premiership break from November 5 – January 13.
Also, comparisons are made between funding to top clubs in Wales – £70,000 per club per annum – and Scotland where “we rely on volunteers”.
The club website editorial states: “There has been very limited competitive rugby. The Regional Cup provided some entertainment and the Border clubs also have their league.
“Ayr, Currie and Melrose have had B&I Cup matches to keep their membership happy and generate income when they play at home, but the majority of senior clubs in the remainder of Scotland have had few meaningful matches during the past six weeks, and some players and members have been asking, ‘what am I getting for my subscription?’
“For years spectator numbers have been diminishing and supporters of Scottish club rugby have complained about the disjointed and chaotic nature of matches after Christmas (asking) ‘is it a league or cup match?’ t
“ In some cases the question is, ‘are there any matches this weekend?’ Unfortunately this situation could get worse when the Premiership is reduced to two leagues of ten and there could be even bigger gaps between unless friendly games can be arranged. Apart from pre-season warm-up matches or games against touring teams, who wants to watch this type of knock-about stuff in mid-season? Will this help to increase the numbers playing rugby or improve playing standards?
“The purpose of the proposed changes is to allow ‘the elite’ players to be siphoned out of the clubs and prepared for more intense competition through age level representative matches. The cynics would argue that academy players attached to clubs already receive extra coaching and fitness training; what they don’t get is extra quality game time.
“If we have long gaps between fixtures and the competitive season is over by Christmas, more spectators and players may start voting with their feet and be lost to the game.”
Meanwhile, Currie entertain Lasswade in the Regional Cup on Saturday.