Rugby restructure set to be put back a year

A PROPOSED restructure of the National Leagues is set to be put back by at least a year.

Raiders chairman David Hinchliffe
Raiders chairman David Hinchliffe

The plan was for Level 4 leagues – National 2 South and National 2 North – to become three 15-team divisions for the 2016-17 season, with 13 teams promoted from lower divisions to make up the shortfall.

When it comes in, only the champions of each of the three divisions would get promoted into National 1 and there would be no play-off match.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

A number of National League clubs opposed the restructure and the Adult Competition Review Committee will now re-survey clubs, although the changes could still come into force for the 2017-18 season.

Worthing Raiders chairman David Hinchliffe said: “A lot of the NCA clubs didn’t want the changes and a number of lower down clubs weren’t overly keen.

“The RFU have agreed to re-visit the idea. It was planned to come in for the start of the 2016-17 season but now looks as though it will be for the 2017-18 season as there has to be a whole year before a restructure can take place.

“If it does come in, that will mean just one team will be promoted from each division and there will be no play-off game.

“In the next two seasons, there will still be the play-off, which means there are two places to aim for.

“If the changes had come in for the 2016-17 season, that would have meant the pressure would have been on next season to win the league and get up into National 1.

“There’s at least the second chance of a play-off game next season if we don’t win the league.”

One of the reasons behind the restructure is to cut travel costs but Hinchliffe said: “Dropping one away game a season isn’t a major thing, especially as clubs are then drawing less revenue from having one less home game.”

Raiders’ fixtures for the new season will be released tomorrow.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!