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SRU announces revised scheme with London Scottish

Published 16/06/2016

The Scottish Rugby Union has struck a revised partnership deal with London Scottish
The Scottish Rugby Union has struck a revised partnership deal with London Scottish

The Scottish Rugby Union has reached a compromise deal to save its tie-up arrangement with London Scottish.

It was announced last week that Murrayfield chiefs had pulled the plug on a partnership with the Richmond outfit after just four months amid rumours of concerns about Scottish's financial model.

The original scheme allowed promising players from the SRU youth ranks to move south in search of first-team action.

But the English Championship side reacted with fury when it was scrapped, insisting there was nothing wrong with their balance sheet.

C lub president Rod Lynch also accused the SRU of throwing their pre-season plans into disarray when a number of loan players appeared set to be recalled north of the border.

However, the SRU has now confirmed a revised scheme has been agreed that will allow talented youngsters struggling to break into the Glasgow and Edinburgh line-ups a chance to develop their game in London.

In a statement, the governing body said: " Scottish Rugby and London Scottish can confirm that a revised player development pathway will operate for the forthcoming season 2016/17.

"Up to eight players will be seconded from Scotland to continue their development under the guidance of the head of Scotland age-grade programme, Sean Lineen, who will continue in his part-time role with London Scottish.

"The arrangements in place since January this year will now operate on a more modest and achievable scale better suited to the support available from London Scottish and will build on the success of the trial last season."

Sir David Reid, chairman of Scottish, added: "We fully recognise that the concerns expressed by Scottish Rugby's board over the financial commitment and infrastructure needed from London Scottish under the previous arrangements were entirely legitimate.

"London Scottish will now take full financial responsibility for its areas identified in the partnership, which are designed to enhance the performance environment in which London Scottish players can train and prepare."

Meanwhile, Lynch admitted it was a mistake to allow the row to be played out in public.

He said: " We regret that our recent statements and media coverage of them may have cast a cloud over such an exciting opportunity and are grateful that Scottish Rugby was still willing to continue a dialogue with us.

"We are now looking to move this mutually beneficial opportunity forward and will provide young players with exposure to Championship rugby and its associated benefits.

"Championship rugby is a challenging environment commercially and we acknowledge that the concerns Scottish Rugby's Board voiced were valid. I am delighted we have now been able to address these."

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