Rugby clubs back youth structure

Pic Lisa Ferguson 16/07/2015' Mark Dodson, chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union

Pic Lisa Ferguson 16/07/2015' Mark Dodson, chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union

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SRU chief executive Mark Dodson welcomed the backing of clubs for the union’s new youth and schools policy after a motion to delay was not carried at Saturday’s AGM.

The topic was the only contentious aspect of a smooth gathering, which saw an increased attendance of 189 voting delegates at BT Murrayfield following two years at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus.

Glasgow Hawks proposed a motion, seconded by Cartha Queens Park, to delay the implementation of the new structure, which sees the implementation of 11 youth and schools conferences and a Borders inter-town competition, until a full consultation process is undertaken. The bone of contention for some clubs is that for part of the season players must choose to register with club or school, but not both.

Former Scotland head coach Frank Hadden, who has been working behind the scenes to get the new structure in place, urged the hall to support the SRU policy and, while the motion to delay received some support, it was well beaten by a show of hands.

The new conferences will now go ahead, with the first round of fixtures set for the end of the month, and after the meeting Dodson said: “We think it’s a big step forward for rugby in this country at that level. We’ve been working on it for a long time.

“We can now push on with one of the most important initiatives we’ve had in Scottish rugby over the last generation.”

Dodson insisted that the policy was not set in stone and the union was willing to be flexible and open to adapting as the new system rolls out.

Other business saw the terms of president and vice-president increased from one to two years from 2016, with Ed Crozier ratified as the new president, succeeding Ian Rankin. Rob Flockhart (Boroughmuir) was elected vice-president.

A motion to prevent any competitive adult fixtures being played on the same day as a home Six Nations fixture, unless both clubs agree, was carried.