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[an error occurred while processing this directive] Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Scots drop 'Reivers' and 'Caledonians'
Graham Burns (left) with Andy Nicol
Edinburgh captain Graham Burns (left) with Glasgow's Andy Nicol
Scottish rugby chiefs have renamed the nation's two professional clubs and claimed it as "a major revamp to the sport's professional structure".

Glasgow Caledonians and Edinburgh Reivers were officially relaunched in their fresh guises as Glasgow Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby and will compete under their new banners in the Heineken European Cup and Celtic League competitions.

The professional super-districts have long been a source of contention between the Scottish Rugby Union and many of Scotland's clubs.

Many clubs believe the new system is killing the game at grassroots level in Scotland, with the club system weakened considerably.

We simply can't rely on the national team playing six matches a season to get the message across
Phil Anderton, SRU

SRU marketing supremo Phil Anderton said: "Previously, we had the pro teams operating in an amateur environment.

"We wanted to find out why 150,000 people wanted to watch last season's autumn internationals, yet only 1,500 fans were turning up to see the Reds and Reivers.

"It became clear that the supporters couldn't relate to the teams and found the whole set-up contrived and confusing.

"They didn't know who was playing where and in what competition, so we had to change the situation.

"In planning this initiative, we had three main goals. Firstly, to drive up attendances to give the players the audience they deserve.

"Secondly, to work as closely as possible with the amateur club game. And thirdly, to assist our professional sides to become a force in the highly competitive leagues and cups in which they play."

Anderton added: "We want Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Rugby to be the showcase - especially for young people.

Grassroots grade

"We simply can't rely on the national team playing six matches a season to get the message across.

"We also see it as the ideal way to boost the game at club level. The more young people we can get through the turnstiles, the more will want to take up the sport at the grass-roots grade."

Anderton also pledged an improvement in pre-match entertainment.

He revealed that he had been on a marketing fact-finding trip to New York to visit the Yankees baseball outfit and admitted that the two new teams would be copying some of their initiatives.

Glasgow and Edinburgh will play most of their home matches on Friday nights, at Hughenden and Myreside respectively, with admission fixed at 10 for adults and 5 for the old and young.

See also:

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