The Board of Heriot’s Rugby Club have held various discussions with representatives of Stewart’s Melville Rugby Club over the last few months and, as many of you will already know, Heriot’s bid for a Super 6 Franchise was supported by our long standing adversaries.
Stewart’s Melville Rugby Football Club’s representatives have confided with us that over the past several years they have found holding their status as a top twenty Club in Scotland extremely challenging. They have felt that the quasi professionalism / amateurism structure within the Scottish Club rugby scene has not been a good model for them.
Stewart’s Melville have found that running three teams on a regular basis has become more and more difficult for a variety of reasons namely, injuries, as the game becomes more and more physical at 1st xv level, and other interests compete at the lower levels. Heriot’s have encountered similar issues this past season.
Both clubs want our players to enjoy their rugby and the fellowship it brings.
Throughout the last twelve months or so Stewart’s Melville have also fully endorsed, and will continue to endorse, the SRU plans to take their chosen Six Clubs into a recognised Franchise structure allowing all those below to return to amateur status. They believe , as do we at Heriot’s, that this can only be good for the game in Scotland, allowing all resources to be focused on player welfare, coaching, insurance, physios etc.
Heriots Rugby recognise that Super Six status means there will be more work to be done within the opportunities that will arise and are looking to Stewart’s Melville to act in tandem with them going forward.
The current urgent undisputable facts are though ;
– Both Clubs are running on empty at 3rd XV level.
– Both Clubs have limited numbers of S1to S6 ( Youth or Academy players )
With this as the backdrop it seems sensible, in the first instance, to bring these two areas together to form a finite mass.
Following recent discussions and having received support at Stewart’s Melville’s very positive AGM we now propose that these two sections should merge, with immediate effect, playing under a separate title and kit incorporating the words ‘Ferry Road’ in order that no-one is seen to be giving up status. (e.g ‘Ferry Road Colts’ for the youth section / ‘Ferry Road Stags’ for the combined 3rd XV)
Both sections would see Goldenacre and Inverleith as their home grounds playing alternatively between them both.
These are our initial thoughts which will be acted upon immediately for season 2018-19, then hopefully, moving towards something more, in time, as we approach season 2019-2020 whereupon dual registration of some players would allow players to move up or down as required.
We realise that further debate is to be held at Murrayfield and therefore neither Club want to rush into any more formal arrangements at this stage.
Stewart’s Melville and Heriots also see both mini-sections continuing to run separately as both are massively successful.
The route map suggested allows the more ambitious players to progress upwards through the ranks of both our Clubs towards, ultimately, professional status while also allowing a platform for all levels of ambition to continue to enjoy the game.
Stewart’s Melville’s Committee as well as Heriot’s Board feel that strengthening our long term relationship with our old adversaries is in the best interests of both Clubs.