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Glasgow Gain for Border Pain

27th March 2007 By Munster Rugby

Glasgow Gain for Border Pain

In what former international Andy Irvine described as “an important step in the evolution of professional rugby in Scotland”, the Scottish Rugby Board has decided to provide additional funding to its Glasgow Warriors pro team by closing down the Border Reivers.

According to the official Scotland Rugby Union website, “Scottish Rugby has completed its wide ranging review of pro team rugby and confirmed its commitment to maintain professional rugby in Scotland.

“The Scottish Rugby Board has decided to provide additional funding to its Glasgow Warriors pro team to enable it to strengthen and increase the squad size and invest in improved facilities.

This will be made possible by the Board’s decision to close the Border Reivers at the end of this season, which will result in a number of Reivers players transferring to the Warriors”

The website report went on to say that “In carrying out its review, the Board examined levels of investment, pro team numbers and locations, training and playing facilities, squad sizes, relationships with and participation in the Heineken Cup and Magners League, third party investors and academies.

“It assessed the current condition of pro team rugby in Scotland in the context of its vision for the future.

Among the factors they believe necessary to make for successful professional rugby, the Board listed the need for a  “modern, seated and covered stadium of 6,000-10,000 capacity in or close to a large population, with public access, parking and hospitality facilities”.

This facility would in turn, according to their findings provide, “a good match day atmosphere, attractive to a TV broadcaster.” Mind you, folk must be wondering why Edinburgh have been playing in the 67,500 capacity Murrayfield for the past few seasons.

For their part Glasgow Warriors, the side that is meant to profit from this ‘important step in the evolution of professional rugby’  do fill the criteria of being ‘close to a large population’ and last season their average home gate was 1,596. Over the same period Borders drew 33 less people  (1,563).

 Mind you the Warriors work off a population of around 1.8 million (Metropolitan Glasgow) whereas the population of the Borders region is something just over 109,000 spread over 4,732 square kilometres.

So the deal is the Border region, long regarded as the heartland of Scottish rugby, whose clubs like Gala (founded 1875), Jed Forest (1884), Kelso (1876) Hawick (1873) and Melrose (1877), who gave us players like, Jim Telfer, Keith Robertson, Jim Renwick, John Rutherford, Colin Deans, Craig Chalmers, Doddie Weir, and Gregor Townsend to mention just a few of a long list, will be cut. 

Instead Glasgow Warriors will operate in the shadow of Rangers and Celtic, never mind Airdrie and Patrick’s Thistle as they attempt to hit the magic 6-10,000 envisaged by the Scottish Rugby Board.

Hard to imagine their number being swelled by too many travelling up from Galashiels and surrounds.


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