The Following Years
After Currie RFC had been in Division 1 for three seasons, the SRU once again decided to restructure the leagues. At the end of 1994-95. Division I, was reduced from a format of 14 teams to a format of 8 teams. Regrettably, Currie was one of the 6 teams to go down.
However, this was to be only for one season. Under the guidance of Bruce McNaughton, and with Ally Donaldson, by then 1st XV Captain, Currie came storming back to win promotion to Division 1. And, on 11 May 1996 at Murrayfield, the 1st XV ended a remarkable season by completing a ‘double’ beating Stirling County in the final of the Tennent’s Shield. To add to this, the 2nd XV also won promotion to Division 1 of the Inter-Cities 2nd XV League.
Then in August 1995, the IRFB decided that the game should be go ‘open’ and become professional. So, in season 1996-97, Currie RFC was faced with the challenge of competing in this new part-time and full-time professional era. Characteristically the club responded to the new circumstances, and at the end of the season finished with its highest-ever position, third placed in Division 1 of the Premiership, behind Melrose and Watsonians.
Moreover, the years that followed saw Currie RFC consolidate its position as a leading Scottish club. In 2005-06 the 1st XV reached the finals of The BT Cup, losing to Watsonians. Then in 2005-06, for the first time, the club became BT Premiership Champions – over 36 years from its founding it had risen from the bottom to the very top of the Scottish club rugby scene! What’s more, to underline the fact that it wasn’t a fluke, the club did it again, securing a second Championship win in 2009-10.
Over the period, coaches have changed with Ally Donaldson and more recently Ben Cairns – both successful home-grown players in their time – taking the helm. But they have safeguarded the spirit and heritage of the Currie brand of rugby, determined and forceful when required but also open and free-flowing, with a certain panache.
Following the Championship wins there were one or two lean years, when the club finished in the bottom half of the Premiership table. However, by the time the competition had restructured in 2014-15 to introduce a ‘top four’ play-off stage, Currie had rebuilt. In 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, Ben Cairns coach sides that made the play-offs in each consecutive year – and in the Currie tradition, they were resilient and competitive to the very last.
Now, rapidly approaching the 50-year anniversary of its foundation, the Club has rebranded. In the 2017-18 season all its teams, from its high-performing BT Premiership side down to its youngest Mini-sides, will be rebranded as ‘Currie Chieftains’, embracing a new image for the modern era but one carrying forward the strength and traditions of the past.
The Chieftains logos, motifs and tartan have skilfully been designed to honour the ‘original 6’ as the Club’s way of saying thank you to them and their colleagues who have done so much to develop Currie Rugby Football Club over the years. Likewise, the rebranding has stayed true to the widely recognized ‘black and amber’ themes.
The new branding was launched at a Grand Chieftains Summer Ball at Murrayfield Stadium on Friday, 25 August 2017, but it is already reenergising the Club and raising its profile throughout the region and beyond. It has captured the enthusiasm of Club members, team fans and existing and new sponsors. It has provided a renewed drive and focus for the Club’s development, but it has also preserved the legacy of the past.
Over the next three years Scottish club rugby is predicted to undergo a major transformation with a proposed league restructuring, which was announced at the Scottish Rugby AGM on 5 August 2017. The proposals will present challenging choices for clubs throughout Scotland. However, whatever the future holds, Currie Chieftains are looking forward not only to the Club’s 50 year- anniversary in 2020 but to the 50 years beyond. Famously, it is and will always remain the community rugby club founded on the idea of six men in a pub!