Opinion: Premiership play-offs not fair on rugby’s top dogs ... but best of luck to Hawick all the same

Hawick take a trip to Troon in South Ayrshire this Saturday to face Marr in a Tennent’s Premiership play-off semi-final.
Hawick's Deaglan Lightfoot on the ball against Currie Chieftains on the opening day of the season in September (Photo: Bill McBurnie)Hawick's Deaglan Lightfoot on the ball against Currie Chieftains on the opening day of the season in September (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Hawick's Deaglan Lightfoot on the ball against Currie Chieftains on the opening day of the season in September (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

In the other semi-final, red-hot favourites Currie Chieftains will take on Edinburgh Accies at Malleny Park, a fortress not conquered this season.

I am not a fan of play-offs for leagues, particularly the premiership.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A league should be a league. We have cups for knockout rugby.

Currie have been the best team over 18 games and should have the trophy locked away safely in their cabinet by now. They deserve the league trophy on merit.

When a team that ended up 23 points behind Currie still have a chance to win the league by performing well in two one-off games, it is a nonsense.

Having said that, of course, this system means that Hawick could still be the team that come out on top and win the league, which would be nice, of course, but they finished 21 points behind the capital side in the table and that just doesn’t sit well with me.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The system is the system, though, and we all have to play by the rules.

Those rules mean that the four teams in the play-offs can still win the league, so, whether it’s fair or not, I’ll be hoping that Hawick win at Marr and then win the final to secure the title, and if they do, I will be the first to congratulate them.

However, we must see a rule change in the future to give the trophy and the title to the team that end up top of the league at the end of the season.

In football’s Scottish Premiership, can you imagine the uproar if the four top teams at the end of the league season suddenly went into play-off semi-finals?

It just wouldn’t happen, so why do we need it in rugby?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Football has play-offs below the top tier but those leagues are much bigger and you do need to keep interest going for as many clubs as possible so they have something to aim for in the second part of the season.

With 12-team leagues, such as we have right now in rugby’s three national league divisions, I understand the same need for keeping interest for all clubs in the final part of the season, but there are no play-offs in any of them.

I think more promotion and relegation spots would sharpen everyone’s minds.

I would like to see 10-team leagues and 40 national clubs to help get the season completed quicker, with two promoted to the premiership and two relegated.

Lower down, three up and three down would be an exciting prospect too and keep interest going to the end.