“I Want The Bigger Half…!”

Before we focus completely on ‘The Italian Job’ (yeah, you’re gonna be reading that headline. A lot!) perhaps I should look at the recent developments at Glasgow and Edinburgh. Development is in fact the key word here because, as we acknowledge that this season has been very poor for Scottish rugby, I am forced to ask “will at least one of Scotland’s pro sides be turned into a development team?”

In recent days it has come to light that Max Evans is to be joined in the Scottish exodus by Richie Vernon. Both men, it could be argued, are looking for a higher level of rugby than the Warriors can currently provide (I will give both men enough credit to say that I don’t think money was the real and only reason they have opted to go). Glasgow, then, are left to negotiate with the players they do have as well as out of contract outsiders.

Like Edinburgh, though, they must do this with one arm behind their back as squad size is cut next season to 32, despite it being a World Cup year, and the budget for both teams either being the same or a bit of it chipped away.

In this respect Glasgow would seem to have more money to play with next year as Edinburgh have opted to re-sign an expensive commodity in British Lion Ross Ford while Glasgow let an expensive/exciting player in Max Evans go.

However this could also tell us a bit about the mentality of either side. Edinburgh have looked for a marquee name while Glasgow, particularly in the last couple of seasons, have brought in youngsters. Will the SRU then give each of these teams a remit for next season much to this effect?

If we take sentimentality out of this then Edinburgh, despite being smaller and considered less ‘metropolitan’, would be internationally regarded as Scotland’s first city. An international brand. It is also where the SRU are (perhaps why the SRU insist today to keep Edinburgh in the vacuous ‘home of Scottish rugby’, Murrayfield?). So if money is such an issue for our governing body and both pro teams are too expensive to run as they are now perhaps it could transpire that Glasgow are turned into a developing side like Connacht or the Newport-Gwent Dragons.

With both of these sides the young uninvolved players with potential that will never be used by the big teams are sent to these regions to get game time. To evolve.

This has worked to a degree and both teams have marginally improved over the last 4 seasons. They have cultivated their own underdog spirits and have created some good players by giving them game time. Just look at the Irish international hooker Cronin, his prop Hagan and winger Fionn Carr. One is off to Leinster, the other is touted to replace Buckley at Munster and the other has played on the wing for Ireland. The Dragons, meanwhile, have gotten caps for journeyman winger Aled Brew and have developed exciting prospects Faletau and Dan Lydiate.

This, of course, would be met with disdain by Glasgow fans. Only a year ago Glasgow were in the playoffs duelling the Ospreys. In reality, though, it could be economically unviable to sustain two ‘competitive’ pro teams. If one team brought on youngsters, nurturing and blooding them before sending them off to France, England or the larger teams in the Magners League, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing for Scottish Rugby. Marquee names and stars fighting for honours at one team, wonderkids and old-timers playing and evolving at the other.

As I write this, however, I see that 21-year-old full-back Tom Brown has signed for Edinburgh where he challenges old heads Chris Patterson and Jim Thompson (although both could be at the WC). Would it not make sense to send him to full-back short Glasgow who have two other young guys he could wrest a spot from?

In this sense, then, the question may not be “will they” but “should they make one side a development team?”

As it goes right now, both teams can’t be competitive. Maybe next season we’ll see one of the teams advertising for players on Inside Running, a website appealing for international players, like a developing Italian Magners League side, as the other signs more famous names? Who kens. Most likely thing will stay exactly the same. No one likes changes. Particularly the boys at EH12.

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Dundonian Alan has played rugby all over the world for various teams including Dundee High School, Heriot's and the Scottish Club International. Now writing from London he covers all issues international and unreported.

5 comments on ““I Want The Bigger Half…!”

  1. Glass celing on

    There is alot of old rope around these pro teams at the moment.there are 4 decent hookers at Glasgow Ferg thom,pat mc,dougie hall,Finley g plus there are a few at edin ford,Kelly,walker out of these 6 options without ford included he would be better of putting some new life in to his game with a move they could have hall at edin and Ferg at Glasgow as starters and the young lads could back up
    It’s the same with the 2nd row situation there are some hangeroners that never make a start and have been there for years and I mean years there all very used to being full-time trainers just gathering dust I reckon
    Backrow I think are looking pretty good alot if young solid lads in there and done good ones in prem one right now
    Scrum halfs all needed
    Tens are all we have really
    Centres a few there that never start and when they do don’t do that well,have to look at this and decide if they don’t show up good after 2-3 years then will they ever
    Wings between both squads they have to get this one right more than any other what we need is lads who can score visser is class,dth nos how to score. but playing argies on the wing and full back bothers ne that’s 2 places where a Scottish winger/fullback could of developed over 3 years some good new lads out there this year Tom brown,James flemming,dougie fyfe, I want these lads to be giving a shot 4 games and see what they can do Lee jones plays for edin cause he was giving a chance

  2. Kev on

    Heard that the players on £200k + have beem asked to take a pay cut (or leave)! Anyway Edinburgh should have let Ford go (for his sake as well as budget) and they should let Godman go. Get Scott from Currie in the 10 jersey.

  3. Glass celing on

    Yes agree matt Scott is one to watch and is aggressive & dosent mind the contact.
    Iv heard he’s now trying with edin now do watch that space

  4. Rory on

    Glass C interesting to hear your thoughts on the hookers. Always rated Thomson and would like to see him get some more game time (somewhere) having never thought much of Hall or Lawson… Big fan of Ford – except at the lineout!

  5. Glass celing on

    Yeh I agree Thompson should be a starter.
    At hooker it comes down to who is throwing the best and ford isn’t really doing it right now but still keeps his place. A hooker throwing good darts is better than one that isn’t
    Mabye it’s got to be like the Ewan murry thing give other guys a go and see how they go in prep for the wc
    Ritchy grey got his chance he’s took it bigtime,I also think that rib harley should be playing at 6 instead of Hines

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