It’s not an acronym or, more correctly, an initialisation that trips off the tongue, but everyone involved in Scottish rugby should remember SROI.

The study about Social Return On Investment (SROI) at rugby’s grassroots level which was published last week by the Scottish Rugby Union was conclusive in its findings. There is absolutely no doubt that rugby in Scotland contributes greatly in terms of health, social and economic benefits at the grassroots levels.

The overall figure for SROI was put at just under £160m annually, and this excluded the professional level entirely. In my interpretation that means £160m would be necessary to spend if the people who accrue these benefits – such as club volunteers – did not give their time and effort free of charge.  

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Personally I consider the benefits of rugby to be incalculable, but I realise that some sort of monetary figure had to be worked out and given the methodology used by the firm Substance who compiled the report, I could not disagree with their findings.  

Forgive me for being slightly skeptical about some matters in the report - I have had much longer to read it that those rugby writers who had to respond instantly, and so I can express some doubts though I emphasise that I both welcome the report and agree with most of its findings.

For instance the figure of registered players was put at 50,000, but how can that be the case when clubs are reporting difficulties in getting teams out each week of the season? 

The exact number of ‘volunteers’ was put at 8,159 and personally I thought it would be more, especially when you consider the growth of women’s rugby in recent years. The contributions made by volunteer administrators and coaches was estimated to be worth £30.95m, but again that level of support really can’t be calculated for the good that people do in volunteering.

Substance had to report that of the 169 member clubs in the SRU, just 101 or 60%, actually responded to the club survey. That’s frankly a disgraceful return. We all know that there are member clubs out there who are virtually moribund, but this survey should have been responded to by all clubs with a committee – and that’s most of them.

My only major disagreement with the findings was the calculation that rugby injuries COST the healthcare system – presumably NHS Scotland – just £519,270. I’m sorry but that is unbelievably low, especially when you consider that more players than ever before are being given scans for head injuries.

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That’s a quibble, however, and the overall thrust of the report is remarkably positive and very good news for people like me who have argued for years that more investment must be put into grassroots rugby. A return of almost £8 for every £1 invested is in line with other sports and better then some, so every time a Government official or local authority questions why they should be investing in rugby, they should just be handed the Substance report. 

Above all I echo the words of Gav Scott, Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development, as quoted by big David Barnes on launch day: “It’s about people who put into the game for nothing and the value that has for society in Scotland. As people involved in rugby, it’s things we probably already know – we know there are benefits to both health and wellbeing from a playing perspective but also from a volunteering perspective –  [but now] we’ve put some numbers to it in an effort to show people there are strong benefits to our sport.”

Credit to you, Gav, and all those at the grassroots level who do so much for our sport. 

And while we’re at that level, congratulations to Community Club of the Season, Dalkeith RFC, and all those who won awards at the Scottish Rugby Community Awards the other night, and please don’t mind if I single out Bernie Mitchell, winner of the Spirit of Rugby award which recognised his 45 years of service to Hillhead Sports Club. Thanks to Bernie and all the winners.

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At the elite level, the season is approaching its end for our two professional clubs. Glasgow Warriors are in with an outside chance of finishing top of the United Rugby Championship table but at least they are already in the quarter-finals.

To continue into the semis, a bonus-point victory over Zebre at Scotstoun on Friday evening is a must, however, while Edinburgh Rugby must also gain the same result against the URC’s other Italian club, Benetton, at 1pm on Saturday, or else their season really will be all but over with participation in the quarter-finals then dependent on results elsewhere. 

I cannot finish without thanking Toulouse and Leinster for that magnificent Champions Cup final at the weekend, and of course there was our own Blair Kinghorn proving that his move to France was the right thing to do. As for the brilliance of Antoine Dupont? Did I hear Austin Healy say he is the best person he has ever seen play? Might be the first time I’ve ever agreed with the fellow.