Later this year I hope to be cheering on Oban Lorne RFC as they try to win the World Cup. Ha, I hear you exclaim, just knew this Hannan guy was off his trolley. Oban Lorne in the World Cup? He’s got a screw loose, definitely.

Bear with me, for sponsors willing, I am very hopeful that Oban Lorne will represent Scotland in the World Cup in September in France – no, not that big fancy effort run by World Rugby, but the very first AMATEUR Rugby World Cup, or the Festival Mondial du Rugby Amateur as they say in France.

In a sense this Mondial is long overdue. Ever since rugby went open and professionalism took over the top level of our sport, there has been an increasing divergence between the professional elite and the amateur grassroots, and it’s getting to the stage where they are different games, albeit playing to much the same laws. So why not recognise that difference and have a World Cup for amateur players only? I think it’s great idea, and let’s make sure Scotland are there.

Readers of this column will know that I am very concerned about the state of grassroots rugby in Scotland, which simply does not get the attention it deserves. That is why I am delighted to be reporting today on the quite excellent initiative by Oban Lorne to take part in the new amateur World Cup, which is being organised in France by Rugby Club Dinois based in the beautiful spa town of Dignes-les-Bains, usually just known as Digne, in the south-east of the country.

RC Dinois explains the simple concept on its website: “The world festival of amateur rugby will bring together 20 amateur clubs from all over the world. Like the professional World Cup, the teams will play group matches spread over two days. The top two of each group will qualify for the finals while the unqualified teams will be able to participate in a great new ranking tournament! Let’s meet from September 22nd to September 30th for a week of sport and celebration around rugby.”

The Mondial will mirror the professional World Cup in one way – Scotland’s representatives have been drawn in a pool alongside amateur club teams from South Africa, Ireland, Tonga and Romania.

This first Amateur World Cup is by invitation only and Oban Lorne got their invitation by dint of a French television producer who filmed a documentary on grassroots rugby a few years ago and chose Oban Lorne as the Scottish representative. He passed on his recommendation to the organisers and Lorne Club Secretary and head honcho for this initiative, local PE teacher Murray Hamilton, consulted the club committee and players first. When they agreed, it went back to the club committee and now a frantic fund-raising effort is under way to make sure that Oban Lorne can go to the Mondial.

Murray told me: “It’s a tremendous opportunity for the club and everyone here is excited about the prospect of us being in the inaugural Amateur World Cup.

“The organisers have got the backing of just about everyone in France because they love the idea of a tournament that’s not about money but which will celebrate the original ethos of rugby. That’s very important to us all.

“It’s a big commitment for the players who will have to take time off or use their holidays, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put Oban Lorne on the sporting map.”

Money is desperately needed, and it will take thousands to send the squad over, so I have no hesitation in calling on everyone involved in Scottish rugby to make a contribution to this grassroots project. Check out their appeal on their page on Gofundme.Com where it states: “To compete at this historical event, there are several costs to be considered and covered. The cost per player for the competition is a minimum of £1,000 pp and this does not include the cost of flights.

“The team are planning on organising several fundraising events over the next 8 months to raise funds which we hope many people will support. There will be sponsorship opportunities available also.

“This page is about providing a simple way for supporters of Oban Lorne RFC or Rugby in general or perhaps just one of the players who will be involved to contribute to the fundraising.

“There is a full program of social projects included in the Competition including working with a Street Rugby Program, School Rugby and Solidarity Rugby for refugee communities. This is not a ‘Rugby Tour’. The team are preparing to represent Scotland, Oban and their families in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Please support them in any way that you can. All help is much appreciated.”

Surely someone out there can help Oban Lorne with this exciting project.