‘Scottish rugby system needs tackled first’

Jamie Mayer (library pic)
Jamie Mayer (library pic)
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Lay off Scott Johnson and focus on fixing the “upside down” Scottish Rugby structure.

That’s the message from Scotland’s former World Cup centre Jamie Mayer as the team and its interim coach prepare for a potential wooden-spoon decider with Italy in Rome on Saturday week.

“Expensive foreign coaches will only achieve short-term results as the system is the problem,” says ex-Watsonians and Edinburgh star Mayer who played in the 1999 World Cup.

One of a dozen Watsonian players withdrawn from the club scene for district rugby near the start of the pro era, Mayer has used social media to declare: “For me the pyramid is upside down. It really has been since the game turned professional. The only way to fix our problems on the pitch is to take a long-term view and build from the bottom.

“It is a shame nearly 20 years have passed and we have not learned the importance of grassroots coaching and a sensible feeder system.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Rugby’s forthcoming visit to Glasgow for a re-arranged PRO 12 fixture has the potential to be a decider to see which Scottish region enters a new look European competition next season.

Reports suggest that a deal that would end a possible English breakaway is set to be concluded following the intervention of the International Board.

However, part of the agreement is a reduced format of 20 teams with only the top seven Pro 12 teams included, albeit each country’s highest finisher is to be ring-fenced. Edinburgh are in eighth position with 22 points and have much ground to make up on a Glasgow team lying fifth with 37 points.

It is understood that many of the proposals put forward by the English and French, as well as the 20-team tournament, have been agreed.

Likely new organisers, the Six Nations Committee, hope that teams who fail to qualify for the top-tier European competition would be included in a stronger second-tier European tournament.

n Treviso, who finished three places above Edinburgh in last season’s Pro 12, have said they may pull out of the league next season, which would cause with considerable financial consequences for Scotland.

The Italians are unhappy at being charged £2.5million a year which goes towards a general funding pot and may strengthen their own domestic league.