After the weekends abysmal results for Glasgow and Edinburgh and after the crushing realisation that we all got a little carried away talking about Scotland we must now appreciate that our pro sides are in dire need of a shot in the arm.
We have already lost Max Evans and the squads are set to lose more.
Who can the clubs possibly sign to fill the gaps vacated by departing stars and culled players? This has to be done right because some of last year’s signings may have actually weakened the teams and quality is needed to bump the teams back up the table, next term. If the teams look outwith what they already have they must avoid panic buying. No more Lozada’s, but also no more stop-gap loan-signings either, please! It’s WC year and teams will be without internationals for a loooooong time.
So a balance is needed between star-quality, availability and experience. Some big names would help the marketing departments who, once you see past the cobwebs, dust and agoraphobia, must have the hardest job in sports.
What do we need, then?
Edinburgh need a 10 and a centre and maybe a second row (as well as a quality hooker if Ford does leave after all), while Glasgow need a cutting edge and some bulk, either up front or crashing into the backline as well as a true finisher.
It is unfair to speculate about the club rugby players or the Academy spots and there is no way of knowing which super 15 lads are going to cross the pond but here are some options the SRU must be looking at:
Who the SRU can realistically get a dialogue with:
Ayoola Erinle (Centre) and Cameron McIntyre (10) (French releases) have played in the Top 14 but have been cut to make way for global superstars. Reynecke (Hooker) and Derick Hougaard (10) (Both Saracens), George Stowers (8) and Elvis Seveali’i (Centre/wing), (both London Irish) join Marco Wentzel (2nd Row), Henry Fa’afili (Centre), Gareth Hardy (Prop) and Ceiron Thomas (10) (all Leeds) in looking like their Aviva Premiership days are nearing an end and none of them will play in the WC.
Ben Cohen (wing), Chris Jones (Richie Vernon but 10 years older) and Sisa Koyamaibole (8) (all Sale) also join names like Jonny Fa’amatuainu (flanker), Jack Cuthbert (15) and Tom Cheeseman (Centre) from Bath and Tom “look at the Blood” Williams (who is available from ‘Quins alongside a few Argentinians and at least 2 second rows) in looking like the gloss is coming off their careers enough for them to look to Scotland. This being said, Cuthbert may still look down on the ML.
Mat Rogers retired from rugby League but has registered to play in case of injury crisis. We could take a punt at offering him one last crack at union?! Darren Lockyer, Corey Payne, Luke Bailey, Kurt Gidley and Matt Cooper are all ageing NRL players whose contracts are up soon and maybe desperation could lead to signing some of these fellas for one season in Union. If the high heid yins all get drunk and sign 4 year contracts before realising we have no ‘master plan’ this could be a go’er!
Pie in the sky:
These people will never come to Scotland but Tom Shanklin, Regan King, Kyle Eastmond, Byron Kelleher, Stoddart (hugely doubtful!) , and Paul Warwick will all be looking for new clubs (Eastmond, however, would only leave Super League for mega bucks and McKie A) won’t know who he is or B) have a winning lottery ticket so it aint happening!). Martyn Williams won’t ever leave Wales, even if he thinks he has one more year in him…
So what do you reckon? What do the pro teams need and who do you wanna see come to these shores? The national team can only use what they have plus Visser so we need quality from other countries. Todd Blackadder was the last big name to give more than a season of worth over here, whilst Dave Hewett and Lome Fa’atau came with reputations but one was too injured (despite his quality) and the other just wasn’t interested.
Can either Glasgow or Edinburgh get a foreign star that can turn things around for the team, like a Regan King or a Rocky Elsom? We will have to wait and see…