Inter-district Championship is a while away

Two weeks ago I wrote on how successful the South game against the Barbarians was in all kinds of different ways.

A five-figure sum was raised for the Bill McLaren Foundation, a victory achieved by a squad of 22 amateur players from the region against a team of professionals, including many internationals, and an indication that in the Borders we have clubs who can get things done, leaving the other areas of Scotland trailing in our wake.

A deserved pat on the pack was certainly merited.

The problem now, of course, is where things go from here.

Team manager Richie Gray this week admitted a lot will depend on how the other areas of Scotland react to the return of a district championship.

If it was not used as a stepping stone to professional rugby, it would at least provide players with an opportunity to reach a level in the amateur game which would be the pinnacle for many.

Richie commented: “The problem we have is that the future of the South is out of our hands.

“We’re really waiting for the other districts to come up with something similar to what we have done.

“We need the Premier One, Two and Three clubs to bring the idea to the table of resurrecting the Inter-district Championship.

“The only real way you can pick a Scottish club international team is to have a structured way of doing it. There are lots of quality players below Premier One and this is a way of getting them involved.

“We don’t want to force other regions, but we need to initiate discussions. For me this should be driven nationally. The SRU should be looking at ways for people to come up through the system and the Inter-district Championship is perfect.”

But while that is being discussed, the likelihood is for another match to be played this season, either at the end of this year or the end of this season. Northumberland may well be potential opponents, but while there is an appetite for more South games, Gray said supporters shouldn’t get carried away.

“I feel sorry for the spectators and players because they would love another game immediately, but it’s a case of watch this space for the moment while discussions continue”, he said.