For the first time since league rugby was introduced to Scotland in 1973, Edinburgh University will not be playing in the competitive structure next season.
But, in an imaginative initiative, as well as prioritising student matches the club have come up with a scheme to develop players long-term for higher echelons.
Already the plan has been endorsed by English Premiership heavyweights Leicester, London Irish, Exeter, Sale and Newcastle who are sending academy players to complete studies and develop their rugby in an environment where, in a normal week, players will have two rugby, two gym, one recovery and one individual skills session each week.
David Adamson, Edinburgh Uni’s head coach and development officer, says that with 66 per cent of players Scots-qualified there will be significant benefits north of the Border.
“We realised pulling out of the leagues shouldn’t be taken lightly but a (student) league that encompasses as far south as Birmingham, playing both Wednesday and Saturday is unsustainable. Last season the first team had 40 games.”
While the top players receive quality back-up Adamson revealed: “An emphasis on intra mural rugby will mean over 300 players turning out regularly.
“Also we are setting up a link with Edinburgh Accies which doesn’t mean our best players will play for them on a Saturday; rather they can do pre-season and be involved as part of injury rehabilitation. They will also be encouraged to continue at Accies once graduated.”