Clubs in the Caledonian area have given a cool response to Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson’s suggestion that clubs and schools should consider a move to summer rugby.
Dodson says clubs ought to consider this on a one-off basis or even permanently as the game looks to bounce back from its long Covid lay-off.
Ellon head coach Craig Parslow says there are other priorities for the sport to face when it gets up-and-running again.
He said: “In the long term, summer rugby may well be inevitable, but in the shorter term we need to address the implications of having had a year out.
“Firstly we need to ascertain that players want to come back, something we just can’t take for granted.
“If they do decide to return, we need to ensure their mindset is right, while preparing their bodies for a demanding contact sport which will hopefully get under way in August.”
Highland head coach Dave Carson was also sceptical of an early return.
He said: “It’s way to early to be talking about action in the summer.
“In my opinion we will be pushed to get the season up and running in August or September.
“In respect of summer rugby, I have always been a strong advocate of adjusting the season to include the early months of the summer.
“Training in sub-zero temperatures is not the way to bring on the skills of players, but this is not the time to make major adjustments.”
In Elgin, Cameron Hughes, the Moray development officer, was convinced it would be easy to get under-age players involved in summer activities, but said: “It’s way too early to be promoting such changes in the senior set-up.”
Aberdeen Wanderers’ director of rugby Russell Arthur, a long-time supporter of playing in the summer, hoped clubs would take a long look at making changes.
He said: “After years of debate, I believe summer rugby will soon be with us, only not this year.
“We need to have a collective strategy which clubs can buy into.”
Former Aberdeenshire president Alasdair Farquharson also urged caution.
He said: “We have been through a difficult year, but perhaps it’s time to embrace changes, not least in adjusting the playing year, although not this year.
“I suggest we start the season in September and take a break through November-March and reconvene in April to June, leaving July and August free for family holidays. After all it is their game.
“The case for flexibility must always be there.”
The players’ case was made by Aberdeen Grammar’s club captain Doug Russell, who did not write off the possibility of action this summer, suggesting it might be possible to have seven-a-side tournaments.
He said: “Players want to play in the best possible conditions.
“It’s outrageous that we are still playing in February and March, having had breaks in the generally good month of October. Summer rugby is a no-brainer.
“If we are to attract players and spectators, we must embrace it.”