Coaching teams and fixture details confirmed for Inter-district Championship 2023
The coaching teams and fixture details for the newly reinstated Scottish Inter-district Championship have today been confirmed.
The move to bring back the historic competition was made following an amended motion presented by GHA at the Scottish Rugby AGM in July 2021, where 72 clubs to 46 voted in favour to revive the tournament.
The competition, which was first established in 1953, used to be competed for annually in the amateur era by Edinburgh, Glasgow, the South, the North and Midlands and, laterally, the Scottish Exiles.
In the revived format, four men’s teams from across the country – Caledonia Reds, Edinburgh, Glasgow & West and the South – will compete in two fixtures later this year.
Tuesday 9 May (7pm): The South v Edinburgh, Netherdale (Galashiels)
Saturday 13 May (3pm): Caledonia Reds v Glasgow & The West, Canal Park, Inverness
The winners of each fixture will play in the Championship Final, with the remaining two teams battling it out in a third/fourth place play off on Sunday 21 May (venue TBC).
All three fixtures will be ticketed, with details on purchasing tickets to be confirmed shortly.
Each team – which will be referred to as a District – established a working committee earlier this year to oversee the appointment of coaching and management personnel.
The Caledonia Reds will be led by Colin Sangster (Dundee) who takes the reins as Head Coach. Sangster will be supported by assistant coaches; Kevin Wyness (Highland/GHA) Junior Bulumakau (Highland) Sam Mountain (Gordonians).
On his appointment, Colin said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to coach the Caley Reds on their return to the Inter-district Championship. In years gone, this competition has been a highlight in the rugby calendar for players throughout the region, and the return of the event is a great opportunity for amateur club players to showcase what they can do. It’s a step up from league rugby and something for all players to aspire to.”
Bob McKillop, who has previously coached at Scotland age-grade level, comes in to the Edinburgh side as Head Coach, with support from Alex Hagart (Stewart’s Melville), Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains) and Iain Bethinussen (Edinburgh Academical).
Discussing the return of the competition, Bob said: “Having grown up in an era when the Inter-district Championship was something special for players and coaches to be involved in, it is fantastic to see it being revived.
“It’s a huge privilege to be asked to work with the best coaches and players in the Edinburgh District. We want to create an environment the players fall in love with and go back and tell their club mates how great the experience was.
“I’m especially looking forward to our game at Netherdale because I know the Borders fans will buy into this and make it a great occasion. I really hope this is the start of the re-emergence of the competition, and that it goes from strength to strength over the next few seasons.”
Across in the West, Kenny Diffenthal (Marr) will take charge as Head Coach for the Glasgow & West outfit, aided by Thomas Davidson (Glasgow Hawks) and Stephen Adair (Marr) who join as assistant coaches.
On the confirmation of his post as Head Coach, Kenny said: “It is indeed a great honour and privilege to be selected as Head Coach of Glasgow and the West.
“Looking ahead, it’s going to be a tough competition, entering the unknown mixing clubs and coaches, but it is an exciting challenge and a great opportunity to bring together talented players from across the District.
“I have a great team with Thomas and Stephen assisting me and we are looking forward to working closely together to build a strong squad.”
Fresh from leading his side, Hawick, to a historic win in the 2022/23 Tennent’s Men’s Premiership Final, 27-year-old Matty Douglas will head up the coaching team for the South, with support from Andrew Clark (Musselburgh), Iain Chisholm (Peebles) and Robert Grigg (Melrose Rugby).
Looking ahead to the championship, Matty said: “It’s great to be given the opportunity to lead the South as Head Coach. The competition is steeped in tradition, and I know how much the South means to a lot of people. To have the Inter-district back gives the top players in the Premiership and National leagues an opportunity to showcase their ability and push for Scotland Club XV selection in the future.
“We have a great coaching team selected along with a fantastic management team in the background. I know we will all work hard to make sure we give the South the time and effort it deserves.”
Training squads for each District will be announced before in early April.
Subject to eligibility criteria, players will be selected from across the National Leagues, which includes the Premiership.
Welcoming the appointment of coaches and fixture confirmation, Scottish Rugby Vice President, Keith Wallace said: “We are delighted by the enthusiasm and support shown so far for the Inter-district Championship. The coaching and management appointments show a real breadth of club talent, and we look forward to the squad announcements with eager anticipation.”
With the locations confirmed for the first two fixtures, Scottish Rugby is now accepting submissions from clubs across Scotland who are interested in hosting the Final and third/fourth place play-off on Sunday 21 May. More information can be found below.
The hosting club will be required to provide the following facilities, support and logistics:
- Minimum capacity for 1,500 spectators
- Hospitality space
- Recommendations for catering services for hospitality
- Ensure availability for the point of contact person responsible (and person implementing if delegated) to work with Scottish Rugby staff on coordination of the event
- Parking provisions for teams and spectators
- Changing facilities for four teams and Match Officials
- Match Day Emergency Action Plans (please attach a copy with each submission)
Submissions should be submitted to Vicky Cox, Competitions & Compliance Manager at [email protected] no later than Friday 31 March 2023.