Men’s rugby union set for structure shake-up in Scotland

'A' teams will be reintroduced but the Super 6 won't continue.

Men’s rugby union set for structure shake-up in Scotland SNS Group

Scotland and its two professional clubs will reinstate ‘A’ teams as part of a new performance strategy for men’s rugby union which will also see the disbandment of the Super 6.

Both Glasgow and Edinburgh will also develop their academy structures and provide more access to professional training environments and playing opportunities to under-23s.

An increased focus will go to Scottish-qualified players in the Warriors and Edinburgh squads as part of the new Male Performance Pathway, which is designed to retain the country’s position in the world’s top five nations.

Although Scotland have broken into the top five with wins over the likes of England, Wales, France and Australia in recent years, their under-20 side has struggled, losing 15 consecutive matches before beating Wales in last year’s Six Nations tournament.

The Scottish Rugby Limited and Scottish Rugby Union boards have both approved the new approach, which will put more focus on developing home-grown players and better alignment between the domestic and professional game.

Super 6 licence agreements will not be renewed beyond November this year and a consultation will now take place with clubs to determine a new structure. Ayrshire Bulls, Boroughmuir Bears, Heriot’s, Southern Knights, Stirling Wolves and Watsonians are the six semi-professional teams in the series.

The principles of the new structure will be around fairness to all clubs and minimal disruption to existing leagues.

There will be minimum quotas for Scottish-qualified players in the Edinburgh and Glasgow squads but the details of the pathway programme will not be finalised until after a new Scottish Rugby performance director is recruited to replace the outgoing Jim Mallinder.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “It’s clear that we must do better at creating more opportunities for our best young players to gain experiences and develop through playing rugby at higher levels.

“The game is often the best teacher and we need to provide more games at pro-level and above for those in our under-20 and academy environments.

“Increasing the number of pro team A games and reinstating Scotland A fixtures are two important pathways for achieving this.”

The SRU’s technical and operations director, Stephen Gemmell said: “The professional and international game continues to develop at a pace, and for us to be competitive at the top end of the game we need to ensure that our current and future international players are developed and able to play more often in the professional environments that we have.”

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