Scottish Premiership (rugby)

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BT Premiership
Sport Rugby union
Founded 1973
No. of teams 10
Country  Scotland
Most recent
champion(s)
Ayr RFC (2nd title)
Most titles Hawick RFC (12 titles)
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to National League Division One
Domestic cup(s) Scottish Cup
Official website http://www.scottishrugby.org/

The Scottish Premiership (referred to as the BT Premiership for sponsorship reasons) is an amateur league competition for Scottish rugby union clubs. First held in 1973, it is the top division of the Scottish League Championship. The current champions are Ayr, while the most successful club is Hawick, who have won the competition twelve times.

Ten clubs contest the league, with the bottom club relegated to the Scottish National League Division One and second-bottom club involved in a play-off. The top level of club rugby in Scotland are the two professional teams that play in the Pro12 competition.

Location of teams in 2017–18 Scottish Premiership

History[edit]

Up to season 1972–73, Scotland's rugby union clubs participated in what was known as an 'unofficial championship'. It provided very unbalanced competition: some clubs played more fixtures than others and some fixture lists provided stiffer opposition than others. The resulting league table at the end of each season gave a very unbalanced and difficult-to-comprehend set of results.

Starting in season 1973–74, the Scottish Rugby Union organised the full member clubs into six leagues. This suited some of the 'open' clubs but many of the older former pupils clubs found it difficult to compete successfully and were forced into going 'open' themselves to try to recruit some of the better players. Those that didn’t declined. Open clubs kept their old FP or Academical name, and still played on grounds owned by the schools. In the first 14 seasons of league rugby the Division I championship was won by Hawick on ten occasions.

One consequence was soon apparent: fewer players were selected from English clubs to represent Scotland. For the first time since before the First World War, the domestic game was producing an adequate number of players of genuine international class.[citation needed] Though the SRU's administrators were often seen as backward looking,[citation needed] Scotland had a national league before England, Wales or Ireland.

Heriot’s FP became the first city club to win the championship, they had already attracted "outsiders"; their leading try-scorer was Bill Gammell, a Fettesian already capped for the Scotland national rugby union team while playing for Edinburgh Wanderers. League rugby drew the crowds, and the 20 years that followed its introduction were the best in the history of Scottish club rugby.[citation needed] In that period the title of champions rarely went out of the Borders: with Hawick, Gala and Melrose enjoying long periods of ascendancy. Recently, however, the Borders domination has faded and Glasgow Hawks won the title three times in successive years between 2003–04 and 2005–06.

Since the advent of the leagues, the Scottish Rugby Union and its member clubs have re-organised the competition several times, usually to change the number of teams.

The top Scottish clubs qualified to the British and Irish Cup from 2009 to 2014.

Competition Format[1][edit]

Each of the 10 clubs play each other at home and away between August and January, resulting in 18 games played by each club. Four points are awarded for a win, two for a draw and zero for a loss. Bonus points are also on offer in each game - one for scoring four or more tries and the other for the losing club finishing within seven points of the winning club.

Play-off[edit]

For season 2014–15 an end of season play-off was introduced for the top four clubs in the table. These clubs take part in a knock-out competition, with first playing third and second playing fourth in a semi-final match at the home venue of the highest finishing clubs. The winners then face each other in the final to determine the Premiership champion.

Promotion and Relegation[edit]

The 10th-placed club is relegated to Scottish National League Division One and replaced by the winners of National League Division One. The 9th-placed club takes part in a play-off match at a neutral venue with the 2nd-placed club in National League Division One.

2017–18 Clubs[edit]

Promoted from 2016–17 Scottish National League Division One

Team Stadium Capacity City/Area
Ayr Millbrae Ayr, South Ayrshire
Boroughmuir Meggetland 3,000 Edinburgh
Currie Malleny Park Balerno, Edinburgh
Glasgow Hawks Old Anniesland 3,500 Glasgow
Hawick Mansfield Park 5,000 Hawick, Scottish Borders
Heriot's Goldenacre 3,500 Edinburgh
Marr Fullarton Park Troon, South Ayrshire
Melrose The Greenyards 3500 Melrose, Scottish Borders
Stirling County Bridgehaugh Park 4,000 Stirling, Scotland
Watsonians Myreside 6,000 Edinburgh

Details: [1]

Past winners[edit]

  1. Hawick
  2. Hawick
  3. Hawick
  4. Hawick
  5. Hawick
  6. Heriot's
  7. Gala
  8. Gala
  9. Hawick
  10. Gala
  11. Hawick
  12. Hawick
  13. Hawick
  14. Hawick
  15. Kelso
  16. Kelso
  17. Melrose
  18. Boroughmuir
  19. Melrose
  20. Melrose
  21. Melrose
  22. Stirling County
  23. Melrose
  24. Melrose
  25. Watsonians
  26. Heriot's
  27. Heriot's
  28. Hawick
  29. Hawick
  30. Boroughmuir
  31. Glasgow Hawks
  32. Glasgow Hawks
  33. Glasgow Hawks
  34. Currie
  35. Boroughmuir
  36. Ayr
  37. Currie
  38. Melrose
  39. Melrose
  40. Ayr
  41. Melrose
  42. Heriot's
  43. Heriot's
  44. Ayr

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NATIONAL COMPETITION RULES 2015 - 2016 (the "Rules")" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2015.