Format and Head Coaches confirmed as Inter District Championship returns for 2023/24

Format and Head Coaches confirmed as Inter District Championship returns for 2023/24

After its successful reinstatement last season, the Inter-District Championship will return for the 2023/24 season, with fixtures and coaching teams for the four districts named today.

All four Head Coaches from last year’s championship will continue in the role, with several new assistant coaches joining the four teams.

This season, the four districts – Edinburgh, Glasgow & West, Caledonia Reds and the South – will play in a round robin format. The dates for the fixtures are as below:

Round 1 (22/23/24 March 2024):

Edinburgh v The South

Glasgow & The West v Caledonia Reds

Round 2 (29/30/31 March 2024):

Edinburgh v Caledonia Reds

The South v Glasgow & The West

Round 3 (05/06/07 April 2024):

Glasgow & The West v Edinburgh

Caledonia Reds v The South

Colin Sangster of Dundee Rugby will reprise his role as Head Coach for last season’s champions, the Caledonia Reds.

Sangster will once again be supported by Assistant Coaches; Kevin Wyness (Highland/GHA), Junior Bulumakau (Highland) and Sam Mountain (Unattached). Stewart Lathangie from Howe of Fife also joins the coaching staff, with Darrell Russell (Strathmore) appointed for Strength and Conditioning.

On his appoint, Sangster said: “Following on from the success of last season, I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue as the Head Coach of the Caley Reds. The games generated a huge amount of interest in the Caledonia district last season, and hopefully we can build on that, whilst providing an opportunity for aspiring amateur players to play at a higher level.”

Hawick’s Matty Douglas will continue in his role as Head Coach for the South district.

The 28-year-old will be joined by three new coaches from the Borders including Iain Chisholm (Melrose), who will coach the Backs/Attack. Selkirk’s Gordon Henderson and Kelso’s Bruce McNeil will share responsibilities in coaching the Forwards.

Matty said: “It’s great to be involved with the South for another season and heading into another Inter District Championship as head coach. The players and management team really bought into the shortened competition last season along with the whole of the region and getting over 1500 supporters at Netherdale on a Tuesday night was a great experience to be involved in.

“We were disappointed to lose out in the final and are eager to get cracking again in March. Having added Bruce McNeil and Gordon Henderson and with Iain Chisholm continuing his role we have a great coaching team with a wealth of experience so we will be looking to be as competitive as we can. I’m sure the buy in will be second to none and we can’t wait to get started.”

Glasgow & the West will once again be led by Head Coach Kenny Diffenthal of Marr Rugby.

Thomas Davidson from Glasgow Hawks and Stephen Adair also from Marr Rugby will support Diffenthal as Assistant Coaches.

Kenny said: “I’m extremely grateful and humbled to be asked again to head up Glasgow and the West. It was a really good team effort in the last outing so I hope for more of the same from all players and staff. I really enjoyed working with Stephen Adair and Thomas Davidson so hopefully we can build on what we did previously. It’s really good that it is back up and running and will be beneficial for all involved.”

Head Coach Bob McKillop continues to lead the Edinburgh side, and will once again be supported by Backs Coach Iain Berthinussen (Edinburgh Academical) and Forwards Coach Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains).

Bob said: “The reintroduction of the IDC last season really whetted everyone’s appetite, and our game against the South at Netherdale is the type of experience we all want to be part of. I’m expecting excitement levels to be up a few more notches this season.”

Team selections will be made and announced in the New Year.

Subject to eligibility criteria, players will be selected from across the National Leagues.

Each team – which is referred to as a district – has established a working committee to oversee the appointment of coaching and management personnel.

The tournament, which is overseen by Scottish Rugby and delivered by the four committees aims to:

  • recognise players who have consistently performed with distinction for their club and provide them with an opportunity to represent their district;
  • provide an avenue for clubs to work in collaboration, strengthen relationships, and celebrate rugby in the region;
  • offer selected players and coaches a development opportunity through a higher standard of competition and;
  • provide a future selection vehicle for the Scotland Club XV International representative.

Scottish Rugby’s Head of Competitions and Compliance, Vicky Cox, continues her role as Tournament Director, as appointed by the four districts.

On the announcement of the competition’s return, she said: “Following the successful reinstatement of the competition, we look forward to delivering an expanded Inter-District Championship in 2024. The change in format allows both for increased game time and allows our clubs and communities more opportunities to enjoy the games.”

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