Following a long, complicated and often fraught gestation period, Super6 will finally come to life next Friday night when Boroughmuir Bears host Stirling County at Meggetland in the first of three matches over the course of the weekend which competition organisers hope will give the first demonstration of why this initiative was worth all the turmoil it has caused. 

Southern Knights (the Super6 arm of Melrose) will host Watsonians on their brand new 4G pitch at the Greenyards the following afternoon, while Ayrshire Bulls (Ayr) take on Heriot’s at Millbrae in a match which will be shown live on the BBC Scotland website on Sunday.

The six teams will all play each other home and away lover the next few months leading into two rounds of play-off matches at the end of March. There will then by a short break before they play six matches against Welsh opposition in April and May.

There has not been much buzz about the imminent arrival of this brand-new competition so far, with the World Cup grabbing the rugby headlines for the last two months. And it hasn’t helped that the process to get to where we are has created so much antipathy amongst the wider rugby public, with the main gripes being the lack of transparency in the selection process for competing teams, the crazy geographic spread which means there is three teams in Edinburgh and none in the city of Glasgow or north of Stirling, and the fact that despite Dodson initially claiming that £3.6m of ‘new money’ would be pumped into the club game to support this new scheme there has in fact been a cut in funding to the rest of grassroots rugby as a consequence.

Super6 being a closed league with no promotion or relegation has further fed resentment, especially amongst clubs like Currie Chieftains and Glasgow Hawks who feel they have proven over the years that they have an important role to play in supporting the performance game. It is very hard to get behind something that you have been very deliberately excluded from.

However, by hook or by crook, Dodson made sure that his pet project would go ahead – and given that 210 of the country’s best young players and six of the nation’s strongest clubs are heavily invested in the competition we must wish it well.

It is time to focus on what this is really all about: raising standards at the level below the full-time professional tier. 

Each franchise has announced a 35-man squad, generally consisting of ambitious players who are willing to accept very modest financial rewards for a crack at the big time – with a few seasoned ex-pros in there to add some much needed grit to the competition, such as Scotland World Cup prop Gordon Reid who has signed for Ayrshire Bulls and former Scotland 7s squad captain Scott Riddell who has joined Heriot’s.

You could pick a pretty handy team of Premiership players from last season who chose not to get involved, but against that a number of exiled Scots have been enticed home, such as former George Watson’s schoolboy and Scotland Under-20s cap Lewis Berg [from Northumbria University to Watsonians] and former Loretto schoolboy and Scotland Under-20s cap Robbie McCallum [ from Complutence Cisneros in Spain to Boroughmuir Bears].

Loose-head prop Sam Grahamslaw is the kind of physical specimen which doesn’t come along too often in Scottish rugby. He missed a big chunk of last season with a back injury and was struggling to establish himself in the Leicester Tigers academy but will hope his career will kick on now that he has signed with Watsonians.

Apparently, across the league, 30 new or returning Scottish qualified players have been recruited by the six teams.

Add to that the 30 full-time ‘Stage Three’ FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy players who have been distributed equally across the league and will play 50 percent of the games they are available for.

Whispers from inside the camps claim that there has already been a significant and very visible hike in standards. Heriot’s have played the A team of English Championship side Newcastle Falcons home and away during their pre-season, losing 26-0 down there and 7-31 at Goldenacre, which is pretty sobering on the face of it, but club insiders insist the score-lines would have been in excess of 50 if the team which finished runners-up in the Premiership last season had taken on the fixture.

Those two games can be taken as a demonstration of the progress already made but also a reminder of the size of the challenge faced.