Scottish Rugby’s new semi-professional Super6 competition will feature no clubs from north of the Forth or from Glasgow after the review panel revealed the six successful bids yesterday.
Dundee’s bid – fronted by the Dundee High Rugby club but backed by the city council, both city universities and Dundee High School – was one of six unsuccessful bids. Caledonia region’s statutory representative – the process required that one club from all four regions was selected – will be Stirling County.
The panel also approved the bids of Ayr from the Glasgow region, Melrose from the Borders, and three Edinburgh clubs – Boroughmuir, Heriot’s and Watsonians. Currie Chieftains, Edinburgh Academicals, Gala, Glasgow Hawks and Hawick were all unsuccessful with the Dundee bid.
The Super 6 will replace the BT Premiership as the only non-amateur tier below the two professional teams from season 2019-20. Murrayfield will partly fund the six franchises and all other club rugby will revert to being strictly amateur.
The Review Panel which selected the successful bids was independently chaired by former Scotland international Sir Bill Gammell and also included Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of Sportscotland.
Bids were assessed on rugby, vision, governance, ground and facilities, partnerships and links, and financial sustainability, with consideration also given to the people behind the bid and “deliverability”.
A Scottish Rugby statement said those selected “were considered to be most robust and which best met the criteria.”
A statement from Dundee High Rugby indicated some concern that the country north of the Forth will have no representation in the first years of the smei-professional tier.
“Dundee High are very disappointed not to have been awarded one of the Super 6 franchises, we were strongly motivated by a desire to offer a rugby pathway for players north of the Forth and we were confident that we had presented an attractive and viable bid.
“We are very grateful to those who contributed to the formulation of the bid, including the High School of Dundee, Abertay University, the University of Dundee and Dundee City Council and we trust that they will remain partners as we now concentrate on reaching the top of the amateur game which will come into place below the Super 6 competition from season 2019/20.
“We thank Scottish Rugby for the opportunity and wish the successful bidders all the best in the new competition.”
Glasgow Hawks, who indicated that they might be broken up as a club if they failed to be selected, described it as “profoundly disappointing that Scotland’s biggest city will not be represented in this new structure.”
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, who made the Super 6 the centrepiece of his Agenda 3 programme to restructure club rugby, said: “I’d like to thank everyone associated with the 12 applicants who worked so hard to put forward a fantastic selection of bids. It was a great response and evident that a great deal of time and effort had been put into them.
“Given we had double the number of bids for the places available in Super 6, inevitably some of the applicants would lose out. The Review Panel gave each bidder a full, fair and equal opportunity to make their case.
“The six successful applications will, I believe, enable Super 6 to achieve our ambition to raise the standard of rugby at the top of the club game in Scotland and also create strong, sustainable franchises in their own right.
“The bids from the successful six clubs clearly demonstrated a shared vision for what Super 6 can become and highlighted the ambitions of these clubs to grow. This is the start of our Super 6 journey together and I feel we are well-placed to make it a success.”