Scotland Rugby League herald new era

Following several changes within the organisation, Scotland Rugby League’s future looks bright according to the revamped SRL board. It has recruited former Scotland Students player Barry McGuffog, who will take a lead on the men’s competition, and he joins co-chairs Alistair McVicar and Debbie Knight, together with existing directors Scott Burns and James Carr. They remain in post following the resignations of longstanding directors Victoria Hogg, Ollie Cruickshank, Bob Baxendale and John Harris earlier this month.

“Scotland Rugby League owes a debt of gratitude to Victoria, Ollie, Bob and John for their hard work, dedication and often personal investment into Scotland Rugby League,” said McVicar. “Their commitment to the organisation has been unparalleled and whilst they will be missed as directors, we know that all will remain close friends of the organisation.”

This weekend sees the return of Scotland’s domestic men’s competition and, in a significant development, the first round of a new Wheelchair Premiership.

Edinburgh Eagles, Forth Valley Vikings and Glasgow Rugby League will contest the men’s competition, which kicks off on Saturday with Glasgow RL taking on Forth Valley Vikings at Cambuslang Rugby Club, with the Grand Final scheduled for 22 July.

The wheelchair competition will be contested by Dundee Dragons, Edinburgh Giants and Glasgow Rugby League, with all three sides playing two full 80-minute games at Pleasance Sports Centre, Edinburgh starting at 1pm on Sunday.

“I’m very proud to be joining the board of Scotland Rugby League,” noted McGuffog. “Having had experience within the domestic structure I’m determined to use that positively and contribute to the growth of the sport in Scotland. The two domestic leagues launching this weekend is a huge step forward and I’m looking forward to working with the clubs to making the competitions a success.”

Kris Illingworth of defending champions Forth Valley Vikings, who were only formed in 2020, noted: “We have prepared well and are looking forward to the new season. Hopefully the hard work put in by both players and volunteers will be noticed and pay off.”

Glasgow RL’s, Ian Arthur, added: “We have a new home, new players as well as the depth of experience in our existing squad. We are feeling confident and hope to be a force to be reckoned with in 2023 and beyond.”

Edinburgh Eagles wait until round two to kick off, but Andrew McPhail is confident of the future. “We were delighted to have been the first Scottish team to be selected by the BBC for Challenge Cup streaming earlier this year, and we believe we showed the game here in Scotland is alive and well,” he said. “Whilst we will always be grateful to the North East RL for offering us an opportunity to play in their competition, we are looking forward to be back playing for the chance to be Scottish champions.”

The Wheelchair competition has been enabled by the establishment of Edinburgh Giants. Their chair, Martyn Gill, commented: “The club has been working hard over the last few months since forming and we can’t wait to host the launch of the Wheelchair Premiership. We have six of the squad playing Wheelchair Rugby League for the very first time, it will be a great day for them and everyone else involved.”

Longstanding Dundee Dragons welcome the development. Their coach, Kevin Rattray, claimed: “We are delighted to be part of the launch of the Wheelchair Premiership here. The future for this branch of the sport in Scotland is really positive, and we hope this can attract more players and volunteers into Wheelchair Rugby League.”

Glasgow WRL coach, Graeme Stewart, added: “All at the club are excited about taking part in this historic season and are eager to get on the pitch to showcase the sport we all love.”

In addition to steps being taken domestically, Scotland also has a full programme of international activity planned for the summer at U16s, U18s and student level, in addition to hosting the annual Wheelchair Celtic Cup on Sunday 18th June. The board is also looking to continue its recruitment to build further capacity.

McVicar continued: “As we move into an exciting new era, we are looking to recruit various roles on the board of directors and would be delighted to hear from anyone wishing to support the development of the organisation.” Interested parties should contact and for further information.

2023 Scotland Men’s League Fixtures

Round 1 – Saturday 27th May – Glasgow RL v Forth Valley Vikings

Round 2 – Saturday 10th June – Edinburgh Eagles v Forth Valley Vikings

Round 3 – Saturday 17th June – Glasgow RL v Edinburgh Eagles

Round 4 – Saturday 24th June – Edinburgh Eagles v Glasgow RL

Round 5 – Saturday 1st July – Forth Valley Vikings v Edinburgh Eagles

Round 6 – Saturday 8th July – Forth Valley Vikings v Glasgow RL

Semi-Final – Saturday 15th July – 2nd v 3rd

Grand Final – Saturday 22nd July – 1st v winner of semi final

2023 Scotland Wheelchair League Fixtures

Round 1 – Sun 28th May (Edinburgh)

Edinburgh Giants v Glasgow RL

Dundee Dragons v Glasgow RL

Edinburgh Giants v Dundee Dragons

Round 2 – Sat 24th June (Dundee)

Dundee Dragons v Edinburgh Giants

Glasgow RL v Edinburgh Giants

Dundee Dragons v Glasgow RL

Round 3 – Sun 9th July (Edinburgh)

Edinburgh Giants v Dundee Dragons

Glasgow RL v Dundee Dragons

Edinburgh Giants v Glasgow RL

Round 4 – Sat 5th August (Glasgow)

Glasgow RL v Dundee Dragons

Dundee Dragons v Edinburgh Giants

Glasgow RL v Edinburgh Giants