The decision by the SRU not to include a Glasgow franchise in their new Super 6 club competition has been criticised as being “irrational”.
The six winning bids were announced yesterday, with the failure of Glasgow Hawks to be included the major surprise. Instead three Edinburgh clubs will join Ayr, Melrose and Stirling County when the new part-time professional competition gets under way in the 2019-20 season with Heriot’s, Boroughmuir and Watsonians all successful.
Glasgow Hawks were one of the six unsuccessful bids, along with Currie, Edinburgh Accies, Gala, Hawick and Dundee.
As revealed in our sister paper Scotland on Sunday at the weekend, there are now serious doubts about the future of the club.
Hawks president Kenny Hamilton said last night: “It does not seem rational or logical to have three clubs [the Edinburgh trio] within a three-mile radius and none in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city.
“We have always seen ourselves as a performance pathway club and without that it’s difficult to see the point of continuing. But that will be a discussion that will be had with players, members and supporters in the next few weeks.”
It has been mooted that the Super 6 could, in time be expanded to include additional franchises, but a downbeat Hamilton added: “So we limp on for a couple of years on a maybe, possibly? I’m not sure about that.”
There was delight for the three successful Capital clubs, who will now enter discussions with a working party consisting of members of Scottish Rugby and representatives from each franchise.
The SRU said: “The aim of this group is to ensure that all aspects of the Super 6 are covered, from rugby operations to commercial matters, in preparation for the start of the Super 6 2019/20 season.”
Boroughmuir said: “We at Boroughmuir are delighted to have been awarded a Super 6 franchise. We firmly believe that the community-based vision at the core of our bid will serve rugby well, and we look forward to starting the tournament in 2019/20, the club’s centenary season.”
A statement from Heriot’s read: “Heriot’s Rugby Club is delighted to have been selected to participate in the Super 6 tournament. We believe that Super 6 can help evolve the Scottish club game and we are grateful to all those who have helped build Heriot’s to the point that we have reached, where we have been capable of being successful in this process. We are all very proud of this achievement.
“We look forward to working with Scottish Rugby and the other Super 6 teams to further the development of semi-professional rugby players in the Scottish club game. By working with George Heriot’s School, Stewart’s Melville Rugby Club, Edinburgh College and throughout the community we will also provide a platform for all rugby players to reach their potential within the game.”
The Myreside club added: “Watsonian FC is delighted to have been awarded a franchise in the new Super 6 competition, which we believe will play a huge part in enhancing the development of elite rugby in Scotland.
“We are looking forward to working with Scottish Rugby and the other five franchisees to ensure that this exciting new venture will be a success. We also welcome the opportunity of working with other clubs in Edinburgh, and further afield, to provide the pathway to elite rugby for their talented players.”
In contrast there was disappointment for Currie and Edinburgh Accies.
The Malleny Park outfit said: “We are bitterly disappointed by this outcome. However, in the Chieftains tradition, we will regroup and continue to pursue our objective of being the best rugby club in Scotland.”
The Raeburn Place club added: “We are obviously disappointed not to have been granted a Super 6 franchise, especially having just won promotion back to the top flight. However, we feel we made the strongest case we could for inclusion and that as a club we still have a lot to offer Scottish rugby, especially once the new facilities are available at Raeburn Place.
“We will focus on becoming the best amateur club in Scotland and look to bid again when the franchises are up for review.”