A Dundee bid is one of 12 applications to go forward to the final selection process for Scottish Rugby’s new “Super 6” semi-professional club competition due to start in season 2019-20.
The city bid is the only one of 12 not to have been tabled by an existing rugby club – although Dundee High Rugby have fronted the application, the proposal is for a new branded club to represent the city.
The Mayfield club has enlisted the High School of Dundee, the two universities and Dundee City Council to be involved and hopes to gain the support of all rugby clubs in the city as well as seeking further financial backing to match the money that will come in from Murrayfield.
The Dundee bid is one of only three from outwith the current BT Premiership. Edinburgh Academicals and Gala, also presently in BT National League One, have also tabled applications, with the remainder coming from existing clubs within the top echelon, including Stirling County.
The stated aim of the Super 6 is to have four clubs in each of the four main regions of Scottish Rugby – Edinburgh, Glasgow and the West, the Borders and Caledonia, the region covering all territory north of the Forth. Two “floating” franchises will also be selected.
With only Stirling and Dundee tabling applications from Caledonia – Aberdeen Grammar opted to not to apply – one or other is certain to form one of the new Super 6 franchises.
Similarly in the west either Ayr or Glasgow Hawks will be the representative, with five bids attempting to gain the Edinburgh franchise and three in the Borders.
A month-long assessment process now begins by a panel headed by the former Scotland international wing and respected businessman Sir Bill Gammell.
The seven-strong panel will also feature Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, Head of Women’s Rugby Gemma Fay, sportscotland chief executive Stewart Harris and Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson.
Dodson, who has driven the establishment of the Super 6 and Scottish rugby’s “Agenda 3” strategy which intends to have all rugby below the new semi-professional tier to revert to strictly amateur, thanked the clubs that had engaged as part of the application proicess.
“The level of interest and positivity around this crucial development for the top tier of Scotland’s club game has been remarkable and is reflected in the significant number of high quality applications we have received,” he said.
“It demonstrates what is possible when Scottish Rugby and its member clubs work together towards the common goal of improving the quality and infrastructure of the game in Scotland.
“Over the coming weeks we will be assessing each of the applications and continuing our dialogue with those interested parties to ensure we have the strongest possible foundations in place to begin Super 6 and the on-going delivery of our Agenda 3 strategy.”
Scottish Rugby President, Rob Flockhart said: “I am delighted that the hard work carried out by interested member clubs and Scottish Rugby staff has generated such a significant interest in the franchises for Super 6.
“I know from speaking to club members across the country that our Agenda 3 plans, of which Super 6 forms an important part, to support clubs in becoming more sustainable and central to their local communities are welcome and recognised as vital to ensure the health of our sport at all levels here in Scotland.
“This is an ambitious long-term strategy. Today’s deadline closes one chapter and begins another in shaping our club game, for the better, for the years to come.”
Details of how Scottish Rugby will unveil the successful applications on 1st May will be announced in due course.