Competitive rugby is to return in September with a national structure in place, Scottish Rugby has announced.
Last season was cancelled in November 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic while the governing body sought preferences from clubs this spring ahead of the presumed post-Covid resumption of competition.
It presented the clubs with two options. Option A, a national league structure with promotion and relegation, and Option B, a regional league structure with no promotion or relegation.
A majority of respondent clubs chose Option A as their preference.
— Aberdeen Grammar Rugby (@ABDNRugby) June 7, 2021
As a result, the Scottish Rugby council made the recommendation to the Scottish Rugby Board for the men’s and women’s Tennent’s leagues along with the youth and school conferences, to commence in September.
Leagues will remain unchanged meaning north sides will stay in the leagues they were playing in during the last campaign.
For instance, Aberdeen Grammar stay in the men’s Premiership and Gordonians in National 2 while, in the women’s leagues, Garioch continue in National 1.
It was also agreed by the Scottish Rugby board, council and championship committee that provisions should be made if Covid-19 causes fixtures to be rescheduled.
A Scottish Rugby statement read: “Providing at least 65% of all league fixtures have been fulfilled, promotion and relegation within the leagues will be applied.
“In the event that the total number of all completed league fixtures is less than 65% the season will be concluded and there will be no promotion or relegation.”
As a result of these provisions, Scottish Rugby has decided cup competitions will be scheduled at a later date when it becomes clear the 65% target will be reached.
Scottish Rugby’s director of rugby development, Sheila Begbie said: “We are extremely grateful to the clubs who responded to our survey as it has been fundamental in informing the decision-making process.
“Further to the announcement made today, we anticipate that a number of clubs will wish to review their position and may request to step down into a lower league following changes to their squads or player numbers.
“As a result, we anticipate publishing fixtures week beginning June 21 having received and considered any and all requests.
“It has been really encouraging to see clubs and schools return to rugby activity over the last few months, and especially recent weeks as all ages can now resume contact training.
“I am really pleased we can provide our clubs and schools with clarity on how we can return to competitive rugby in the months ahead. I wish everyone well in their preparations for the new season.”