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New-look Caledonia North Two for 2023/24 Scottish Rugby season could suit Ross Sutherland bring success to Invergordon

By Andrew Henderson

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Club chairman John Scott believes the Scottish Rugby restructure for 2023/24 could help bring success to Ross Sutherland.

There has been a significant shake-up ahead of the new season, with last season's Caledonia North Two split in half.

The top few teams have gone into Caledonia One, while a number of teams have moved up from Caley North Three into Ross Sutherland's division, which will be split into two conferences – a Grampian Conference and a Highlands and Islands Conference.

It will be a new-look league for Ross Sutherland in the 2023/24 Caledonia North Two. Picture: Peter Carson
It will be a new-look league for Ross Sutherland in the 2023/24 Caledonia North Two. Picture: Peter Carson

Ross Sutherland will naturally feature in the latter, and Scott feels there is every chance the Stags will be at the top end of the standings by the end of the season.

He is also looking forward to reacquainting the club with some old rivals they have not faced in years.

"It will be an interesting league for us this year," Scott said.

"I think we have a real good go at finishing high up. Last year we were a wee bit frustrated we didn't finish higher than we did, but I know that the coaching team and the players are relishing the challenge we've been given for the upcoming season.

"It gives us the chance to go back to some interesting places we haven't been to for a while – for example I have some nice memories from playing Skye and Lochalsh years ago, so it will be nice to play them.

"Speaking to the coaching team, the challenge is to get smiles on faces and have people enjoying playing a nice brand of rugby.

"That will hopefully bring a crowd in to watch so that we can make the most of the clubhouse before, during and after matches too."

One of the knock-on effects of the added regionalisation in the division is that Ross Sutherland will not have to travel so far for away games on a regular basis.

That, according to Scott, is a key positive ahead of the new season.

"It's a manageable league in terms of travel, and the challenges that brings," he explained.

"One of the big things for us as a club – and for every club in the north post-covid – is that it's harder to get people to travel to matches.

"We've got to recognise that and recognise that the game is evolving, so if we can develop a stronger local game in the north that bodes well for all clubs.

"We want to create opportunities for players, supporters and people who just want to come and be a part of this club and part of the wider network of clubs in the north.

"They can enjoy going 90 minutes max to go and watch their team – that's doable, you can fill a car and go and watch with your mates. If you start looking at three hours each way, that's a massive chunk out of your day.

"I want other supporters to come with their teams and visit here, and if we have corporate hospitality days like we are planning they will hopefully want to come and be a part of that. It can be affordable and manageable for all."

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