It was recently announced that Heriots Rugby Club would be one of the six teams to make up the new Super Six competition. Rugby Club Magazine recently caught up with Club Representative Colin McCallum to find out more.
He told us, “I played for the club from leaving school in 1971 until 1996. During that period I was a member of the Junior Committee (in those days we put out six or seven teams) and latterly Secretary. I attended George Heriot’s School so it was a natural step. However, in the mid 80’s I worked in London for a few years and played for Harpenden.”
“A rugby club such as ours nowadays is a small business with a significant turnover and if you are not careful a larger amount of expense. The major challenge is developing and building revenue streams with volunteer personnel. Most of these are holding down demanding jobs and some have young families hence you are reliant on their energy and motivation which invariably they have but time is at a premium.
The rewarding aspect is witnessing the success of all three of our teams (the third team is run in conjunction with Stewart’s Melville), the atmosphere in the club; the emergence of our new ladies team and the continuing development of our Junior Section.”
“The 1st XV are third in the Premiership and rising despite having an extensive injury list. Our coaches under Phil Smith and our physios Sandi and Mandy have done a great job in getting the best out of our pool of players and keeping them fit.
That success is reflected throughout withour second XV having a string of positive results all season. Our joint venture with Stewart Melville hasbeen an outstanding success and we appear to be attracting players whootherwise might not have played rugby. The girls have had some obstacles not oftheir making since transferring from Murrayfield Wanderers to Heriots but theyare over these now and look forward to the new league in the New Year.
“Youth rugby is vitally important and we have a lot to do here. We have come together with Stewart Melville in age groups S1 to S6 and we hope that this development will both give players a game each weekend and attract players from other clubs to our club.
Helping players transition into the senior game is an interesting topic. Looking back (a long way!), I was quite nervous about the transition from school 1st XV to senior rugby and really was buoyed up by all my mates joining so we could do it together. My suspicion is that kids nowadays feel much the same and of course there are many more alternative outlets nowadays.
What we did last season was take an under 18 team to a Sevens tournament in Belgrade with the seniors and those eligible actually played a few ties with the older lads. This broke down barriers, getting over the reservations that many had about coming into the club and of course that sentiment spreads.”
“I would like to grow our community involvement. That is part of the marketing challenge. We have been an open Club since 1974 and we have attracted players from all over the country but we have not really extended our reach into the local community. This is an area in which we look to our Junior Section to take the lead.”
“Our biggest challenge is revenue generation. I would like us to get to the position where we were making a net margin of 4 to 5% per annum and building our balance sheet. We have a strong balance sheet as it is but it is important that we have financial strength to withstand the challenges of a developing game in Scotland. I consider that the game is moving in the right direction in Scotland.
I really want to fulfil our sales and marketing potential which is so important looking forward to the advent of Super 6. So that is what I shall be concentrating on for the rest of the season. We have been fortunate in always being at the top of Scottish Club rugby and we want to maintain that position.”