RUGBY: Second chance
CHIPPENHAM have urged the Rugby Football Union to take another look at the league rules they fear could harm the long-term development of the club.
The Allington Field outfit, the highest-ranked team in Wiltshire, feel they are being stifled by a league constitution that prevents their second team from playing competitively above county level.
Chippenham’s second string are 26 points clear at the top of Dorset & Wilts One North and are on the verge of retaining the title they won last season by 22 points.
But they are unable to move up to Southern Counties (level seven) rugby, with the regulations insisting clubs’ second teams can rise no higher than level eight.
Senior playing chairman Kevin Snape said: “It’s a nonsense that we don’t allow the best to feed towards the top.
“It’s beginning to cause issues with getting players to go on and play national level rugby (for the first team).
“These things will even themselves out.
“All we’re asking for is that if we’re successful, we’re allowed to get promoted.
“It’s causing frustration with youngsters at the club and is inhibiting players from joining us.
“At the moment, when they are playing for our seconds, they might be stepping down from a level they were used to with their previous club.
“We also have problems with teams not fulfilling their fixtures against us.’’
Second team coach Dave Jones said: “We wouldn’t underestimate the challenge (of going to a higher division).
“In the last three years, the team that has gone up has come straight back down but what our players need is a new and perhaps stiffer challenge.
“It’s hard to justify to players putting all the work in that it is just to try and retain a league they won last year.
“I understand why the rules are there – to stop clubs with money from pinching all the local talent from their rivals and building up their squads.
“But our club doesn’t pay players. We’re trying to bring local talent through, but they want to be challenged.’’
Chippenham’s third team are also second in their division, Dorset & Wilts Two North, but would be denied promotion because of the presence of the second team in the division above.
The club have made their case to Dorset & Wilts RFU representatives.