The SRU have launched this seasons Youth & Schools competitions with an event at Murrayfield.
The background blurb to the Conferences is available here, whilst you can find the fixtures for the Tier 1- 3 Conferences on the SRU website here.
There's been a bit of tweaking to the format, but in general it's pretty similar to last season. The most noticable change is in the names of the Conferences which, following the sponsorship deal with Mitsubishi Motors UK, have been aligned with Mitsubishi model names.
In the tier 3 contest, West Clubs last season were split between the 6 team Brown conference & 7 team Green Conferences. These two conference have merged for this season and renamed the Galant Conference.
Changes within the Conference have seen Hamilton and Biggar promoted to the Shogun Conference, whilst Falkirk have withdrawn from the conference competition. Cartha and Hawks have joined the conference to give us a 12 Club competition. These are: Allan Glen's, Cartha Queen's Park, Cumnock, Dalziel, Dumfries Saints, Dunfermline, East Kilbride, GHA, Glasgow Hawks, Greenock Wanderers, Livingston & Whitecraigs.
Last years Tier 1 competition, the Presidents Conference, is renamed the Shogun Conference and increases from 6 to 8 teams with the promotion of Hamilton and Biggar from the Green Conference. Teams includes: Ayr, Biggar, Boroughmuir, Currie Chieftains, Hamilton, Highland, Stirling County, West of Scotland.
In the Schools contests, last years White Conference, now known as the L200 Conference remains the same, with High School of Glasgow, George Heriot's School, The Glasgow Academy, Hutcheson's Grammar School, St Aloysius' College, Kelvinside Academy taking part.
The Black conference (now Barbarian) has had Balfron added to make it a 10 team Conference, which includes: Wellington, Balfron, Carrick Academy, Jordanhill College School, Lenzie Academy, Lomond, Marr College, Morrison's Academy, Queen Victoria School, St Columbas (Kilmacolm) School
Last season, the Union highlighted the improvement in fulfillment rates over previous Club competitions (perhaps a bit unfairly as the competition runs only August to December so missing the worst of the winter weather), however our own analysis suggests there are wide variations in fulfillment rates across Conferences. For instance in the Black Schools conference last season, fulfillment rates at Under 16 level appeared to be only 56%. Whilst a couple of Schools across the combined age groups were at 53%.
Within the West Club conferences, the issue of lower fulfillment rates appeared at the younger age groups - Green saw only 40% of U13 games fulfilled, with Brown at 43% for Under 14.