Selected Super 6 rugby matches to be televised live

From left, Nick Sutherland (Heriots), Steven Longwell (Ayr), Craig Jackson (Melrose), SRU chief executive Mark Dodson, Ross Bundy (Stirling County), Ross Graham (Watsonians); missing is Chris Laidlaw (Boroughmuir) Picture by SNS Group/SRU Alan Harvey
From left, Nick Sutherland (Heriots), Steven Longwell (Ayr), Craig Jackson (Melrose), SRU chief executive Mark Dodson, Ross Bundy (Stirling County), Ross Graham (Watsonians); missing is Chris Laidlaw (Boroughmuir) Picture by SNS Group/SRU Alan Harvey

Scottish Rugby’s new top tier of the domestic game, Super6, will have its opening season broadcast live simultaneously on both the BBC Sport Scotland website and Scottish Rugby TV.

Super6 will have one televised live game from each round of fixtures, which have been published today (Monday), broadcast by Scottish Rugby TV and available live on the BBC Sport Scotland website, with the feature live matches played at 2pm on the Sunday of each round weekend.

The final of Super6 will be televised live on BBC Scotland over the weekend of March 27-29 next year.

Scottish Rugby has commissioned specialist sport production company, QTV, to produce its broadcast of Super6, which will have pitchside presentation and expert analysis at the weekend’s live game.

The BBC Sport Scotland website averages 2.5million views a week with regular peaks of over three million.

Scottish Rugby TV itself has attracted 1.8million users from 240 countries around the world.

Every Super6 team will have at least three live broadcast matches, with highlights from all the other fixtures of each tournament round available online at scottishrugby.org.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said: “Super6 is a bold new competition that is designed to bridge the gap between the domestic and the professional game in Scotland. It will feature the best semi-professional players and so I’m delighted our long-term partners BBC Sport have agreed to provide live coverage of Super6 throughout its opening season.

“This, coupled with the Scottish Rugby TV coverage, will showcase the high quality matches we are anticipating and enable clubs to really leverage their commercial and sponsorship opportunities knowing the games will be available to a local and international audience.”

Grigor Stirling, commissioning executive, Sport, BBC Scotland, said: “It’s great news for our audiences that we’ll be bringing regular live coverage of Super6 during its inaugural season. It’s an exciting addition to the game in this country and we’re delighted we’ll be showing matches on the BBC Scotland sport site, with the added bonus of broadcasting the final live on the BBC Scotland channel.”

The new tournament will be contested by six teams with half the sides revealing new names to mark their participation in the competition and to differentiate from their other teams competing in different respective Scottish Leagues.

Double winners from the 2018-19 season Ayr will compete in Super6 as the Ayrshire Bulls, Melrose’s team will play as the Southern Knights and the Boroughmuir Bears will represent the Meggetland club.

Heriot’s, Stirling County and Watsonians will continue to play under their existing club names.

On the opening weekend of Super6 the Ayrshire Bulls will play a repeat of the 2019 Scottish Cup Final, which was decided with the final kick of the match, as they take on Heriot’s at Millbrae in the first live broadcast match on Sunday 10 November.

The Southern Knights (Melrose) will take on Watsonians in the opening round at the Greenyards on November 9. However, the first Southern Knights match due to be televised live is against Boroughmuir Bears at Meggetland, at 2pm on Sunday, December 1.

The opening Super6 season will run from November 2019 to March 2020, with the final league rounds all being played on Sunday, March 1, to confirm the play-off matches, scheduled for March 20-22.

The finals of Super6 will be played at neutral venue on the weekend of March 27-29, 2020.

Provision for weather-affected matches has also been built into the calendar, with two standby weekends available either side of the New Year and games will not be played over the Christmas and Six Nation periods.

Super6 teams will contest a cross-border competition with respective teams from the Indigo Group Premiership in Wales following the Scottish competition’s conclusion.

Teams will play home and away fixtures against their Welsh opponents starting in mid-April 2020.

Scottish Rugby’s technical director Stephen Gemmell said: “Announcing the fixture calendar today is a big day for Super6 and will enable clubs to put the finishing touches to their planning for the inaugural season ahead.

“It is clear from the fixtures that every weekend will be exciting for all involved and, as a result, we expect the standard to rise over the duration of the tournament.

“Bringing in live broadcast coverage adds another professional element to Super6 and will give the teams and the players a great shop window to promote themselves and the tournament.”

The head coaches of the respective clubs were asked for their views and Rob Chrystie, of Southern Knights, said: “We are extremely excited about getting started. There has been a lot of planning and organising around the competition but, ultimately, it is the rugby that is most important.

“Our players and management are determined to prepare well throughout the pre-season to enable us to play an exciting and entertaining brand of rugby.

“There is a little bit of unknown, as all Super6 Teams are keeping their cards close to their chests but that adds to the intrigue. I don’t believe it would be wise to highlight any fixtures above any other. However, I am sure all our squad will be working extremely hard to earn their place in the first ever Southern Knights game at the Greenyards against Watsonians.

“Live broadcast games will clearly open up opportunities for the club off the park. However, for me, this is about the players and creating opportunities for them to showcase their skills and ability to play rugby.

“There is always a raised intensity when players know games are being watched by a larger crowd and players in this area have experience of this when participating in the Melrose 7s.”