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2018 State of the Nation message from President Rory Bannerman

Dear Member

Hawick RFC are concerned about the future of Scottish Club rugby for a number of reasons, these are some of them, and we feel that our governing body need to take account of a growing dissatisfaction within club rugby land, that seems to go largely ignored or overlooked at HQ.

Firstly the S6 set up is, of course, set up and ready to go whilst the rest of club rugby sits in limbo unaware of the future.

For example S6 know their budget, their league, their coaches and their squad sizes. The rest of us have no idea where we stand for season 2019/20.

We sit with no idea of which leagues various clubs will be in, whether we are to face S6 club sides (which we strongly feel we should not), whether we will be funded and at what level, how we will provide medical back up and whether our players are about to be 'formally' plundered from us.

Secondly we know that the shape of S6 has been formed with the significant assistance of HQ, whereas the rest of clubland has been led to understand that there would be no S6 clubs in our top division, but then only to be told half the way through a season that now relegation, league sizes and uncertainty are what we face instead. S6 now want dual registration so that snapped up (but then discarded) players can be generously loaned back to their native vassal towns, when it suits our higher masters.

We are concerned that nothing has been done to protect clubland from players being tapped up ahead of the 1/1/19 S6 floodgates opening up. Complaint to HQ will find no sanction imposed on the S6 clubs guilty of such unacceptable conduct. Transfer fees, requested for months, so as to protect the clubs that nurture and develop players who head on to S6, has been talked about and largely ignored until it becomes too late to implement for the clubs of the dozens of players about to be hoovered up, (oh but a paper will be published in the future but the dyke will have burst by then and the wee boy will have more than a wet finger).

The S6 have known for months when their future seasons will be played, the rest of us do not even know which leagues we will be in. The sevens circuit is potentially to be marched over by S6 competition, (oh sorry except one tournament, as we hear).

Player welfare was trumpeted at the likes of ourselves, Watsons and Heriots, as we sought parity in the split of Glasgow/Edinburgh pro draft, the same player welfare that can take a player the 56 minutes to drive from Scotstoun to Currie, but takes a less welfared drive of 58 minutes to Goldenacre, wait a minute (or two) it is only 54 minutes to Myreside! With a dreadfully one sided release statistic revealed that has witnessed an average Glasgow release of 10 players a game compared to 2.5 per match by Edinburgh, no problem solving has taken place. Yet no amount of written requests or meetings could get HQ to deal with the ludicrous disparity that the ill considered pro draft set up yet again produces.

We now have to wait at least 3 weeks after G McColl's report reaches HQ before it is formally considered by some of our representatives. Who knows when we will get the ideas passed on, or whether we will see the report or it's information as gathered. Months of hard work sit gathering dust on a table in HQ whilst the rest of us worry and guess at the outcome of what it may mean for anyone outside the S6. No urgency exists behind providing us with any certainty, that is for sure.

There have been 3 Club surveys yet none of the statistics behind any of the returns are being produced. Amateurism, does it exist, will it return, how many want it? Questions that we are not privvy to the answers of, from just one of three questionnaires that we gladly filled in without being told by HQ that it's contents would be kept secret. Ladies and Gentlemen, we the clubs deserve answers, truly we have deserved answers for much longer than just recently, we are the meat and drink of the game but we are treated like mushrooms........

Rory Bannerman


Hawick Rugby Football Club