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Highland Rugby Club's three teams and Inverness Craig Dunain discover regionalised schedules for the 2020/21 season

By Andrew Henderson

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Scottish Rugby have announced the fixture list for a new-look 2020/21 season.

The usual league structure has been abandoned for one year as the governing body looks to minimise the distances teams have to travel to get some competitive rugby under their belts in the coming months.

Clubs are currently working towards a start date of Saturday, October 31 for the campaign, although breaks have been included in the schedule in case there are further delays through government guidance that need to be accounted for.

It is anticipated that clubs will be allowed to play pre-season friendlies from Monday, October 19 to prepare for the season, with SRU giving out guidance this week to clubs on how to safely deliver matches.

For Highland's first team, a 22-team two-stage competition awaits.

Highland Rugby Club and Inverness Craig Dunain could be back in competitive action next month. Picture: Gary Anthony
Highland Rugby Club and Inverness Craig Dunain could be back in competitive action next month. Picture: Gary Anthony

Initially, they will be a part of Conference A, where they will face Aberdeen Grammar, Dundee HSFP and Stirling County home and away, with the conference winners advancing to the eight-team end-of-season play-offs.

However, Highland will have a second chance to make the play-offs, as the second stage sees sides divided into two competitions, and then again sub-divided into pools.

Highland are in Competition 2B, with Ayr, Biggar, Cartha Queens Park, and again Dundee and Stirling County for company.

If a side who won their conference also win their pool, the next placed team in the pool progresses to the play-offs.

All going to plan, Highland will play their first competitive match of the year at their Canal Park home, with Stirling County the scheduled visitors on Halloween.

For Highland's second team, it is a simpler story.

The Raptors have been placed into an eight-team league with Aberdeen Wanderers, Aberdeenshire, Ellon, Garioch, Mackie Academy, North Police and Orkney, with each side playing each other home and away in a straightforward league.

They are also set to be at home on the opening weekend, hosting Ellon.

Inverness Craig Dunain will have a derby match to look forward in their league, as they will be facing off against a new side in the SRU club pyramid – Highland's third team.

Theirs is a 14-team division, where teams will only play each other once – home or away.

There will be some new opposition for the two Inverness-based outfits, with Aberdeen Taexali, Aberdeen University and Aberdeen University Medics all in the league.

A rare trip further north will be on the cards for Craig Dunain as they go to Caithness 2nds, while Deeside, Dyce and Ellon 2nds will provide further competition.

There will more trips to Aberdeenshire with Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Turriff in the league, with Gordonians 2nds and Shetland rounding off the list of outfits.

Both Inverness teams are on the road for their first matches, as ICD go to Dyce while Highland's third team travel to Ellon 2nds.

See the full 2020/21 fixture lists for all divisions here.

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