London Scottish could join an expanded Super8 competition in Scotland

London Scottish could quit the Championship if the Rugby Football Union review into the competition results in significant changes to its structure. 

The club have an invitation from the Scottish Rugby Union to join an expanded Super8 competition for the 2022/23 season, in a move which could be ratified by December.

In a letter to members and supporters, the club outlined that they would expect to return to the National League if the RFU shake-up of the Championship goes ahead.

The review is led by Conor O’shea and is considering the relevance of the Championship to the English game.

The club expects that if changes do happen then they would only be able to support a first XV playing at level four or five based on their current revenue. 

That has driven the club to seek out an agreement with the Scottish Rugby Union.

The current Super6 competition, the equivalent to the Championship in England, could see two new teams: London Scottish and a team from Glasgow.

LONDON SCOTTISH: in a ruck over club future Image Credit:John Walton on Flickr

Discussions between the RFU and SRU have indicated that the RFU would not stop London Scottish from playing in the new Super8 competition as long as the club remained rooted in the London community.

However, the decision to play rugby in a Scottish competition could influence who plays for the club.

Under current rules, London Scottish are required to ensure 75% of their players qualify for England.

By joining the Super8 competition, the club could provide a player pathway for Scottish qualified players born or living in England to play rugby for Scotland.

If the move to the Super8 goes ahead then 75% of the playing squad would need to qualify for Scotland.

The last player to play for Scotland from London Scottish was Derrick Lee in 1999 and there was a large representation of anglo-scots in the famous Scotland Grand Slam teams of 1984 and 1990.

The move would therefore reconnect the club with its proud Scottish heritage.

Although London Scottish could soon play in a different competition, the club intend to continue playing their home fixtures at the RAG in Richmond.

Traditional fixtures against Oxford, Cambridge and the Armed forces would likely still happen and would take place around their potential Super8 commitments.

If an agreement can be reached, then the London Scottish Lions and club youth teams would have to remain within the English rugby structure as a stipulation of the RFU.

LONDON SCOTTISH: side-step potential Championship rugby changes Image Credit: John Walton on Flickr

London Scottish are currently winless and bottom of the table in this season’s Championship competition.

The club decided to sit out last season in order to ensure financial stability and this is the first season that they have played as a part-time squad.

Their playing budget of £250,000 is significantly lower than their Championship rivals and that has hindered the club’s performance this season.

Despite their current position, London Scottish have an illustrious history and have played top level rugby since 1878.

In total, London Scottish players have represented their country 224 times and four British Lions captains have played for the club. 

Any decision the club takes is dependent on the findings of the RFU’s review into the Championship.

The club declined to comment on these potential changes at this moment in time.

Featured Image Credit: Fanny Schertzer

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