The Scottish teams have been rather busy on the transfer market this week, however, once again we can see that Glasgow have gone for quality, not quantity whilst Edinburgh seem happy to sign anyone with a Scottish sounding name.
The biggest news so far has been that Glasgow have managed to sign Carlin Isles, the fastest man in world rugby on a short term contract subject to visa/medical. From what we are hearing, it sounds like they have done extremely well to capture the USA 7s star, seeing off competition from Toulon and NFL side Detroit Lions.
Isles is a former US track sprinter and was unlucky to miss out on a place in the 2012 Olympics, even though he clocked a PB of 10.13 the same year. Since he joined the 7s World Series last season, he has scored 23 tries in 13 competitions for the US Eagles. Over time, there has been a remarkable improvement in his rugby skills, especially tackling and passing.
Although Isles himself has not said anything yet about the move, his agent Tom Beattie said “It’s about rugby. Carlin is very excited about the move and eager to get to Glasgow in the coming weeks”.
“The big target for him has always been the World Cup in England and so he has been looking for an opportunity to take his development on to a higher level and give himself the best chance of making the USA squad for 2015”.
Isles comes in as injury cover for DTH Van der Merwe and Sean Maitland and its fair to say that the world of rugby will be keeping a close eye on him to see how he performs in the more crowded XVs game.
Elsewhere with Glasgow, the news has come through that they will be losing two players in Chris Cusiter and Moray Low who join Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs respectively.
Scrum half Cusiter, who joined from Perpignan in 2009, only really started to get going with Glasgow last season after a number of injuries made him take a long break from the game. Cusiter has maybe not got as much game time as he would have liked (or should have – Ed.) at Glasgow having to compete with Niko Matawalu and Henry Pyrgos.
Speaking about the move, Cusiter said “It was a big deal for me coming back to Scotland and I’ve had a fantastic time at Glasgow,” Not many players get the opportunity to play in the Top 14, RaboDirect PRO12 and Aviva Premiership, so I’m excited about that.”
Moray Low will leave after 8 seasons with the club to join the ambitious Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership. So far, the 29 year old prop has clocked up 144 appearances and 8 tries for the Warriors and he will try to help take Glasgow to the Pro12 Playoffs.
Reflecting on Low’s time at the club, Head Coach Gregor Townsend said “We’d like to thank Moray for everything he’s done for the club over the past eight seasons and we wish him well for his next challenge at Exeter. He has always been committed to helping the team and is a popular figure within the squad.”
It has also been announced that Glasgow props Ryan Grant and Gordon Reid have both signed new 3 year deals with the club keeping them there until May 2017.
So last but not least, we end up with Edinburgh, with Alan Solomons announcing the signings of 3 more Scottish qualified players from the Southern Hemisphere who no one has ever heard of. Perhaps the most exciting of the three players is South African prop Alan Dell who will hopefully be able to fill the void that Scotland has had with finding quality front rowers. Dell, still 21, said “I’m really excited to get to Scotland and start the next chapter of my career”.
“The whole opportunity is fantastic. Alan Solomons is an excellent coach so it’s great to get the chance to work under him, compete for the chance to play for the club and, longer-term, for the chance to represent Scotland.”
Dell will be joining Edinburgh in the coming weeks, however we will have to wait until the summer to see the two New Zealanders we have been blessed with in the form of Simon Berghan and Nick McLennan. Berghan, another prop, joins from Canterbury, whilst outside back McLennan currently plays for ITM cup side Hawke’s Bay.
When Dell arrives in a few weeks time, the size of the Edinburgh squad will have reached 61. Compare that to Glasgow who have a squad of 53. What is quite clear is that Glasgow are making the most of the money they have. They get the quality players and do not waste it on players who are only good enough to spend most of their time on the bench. All that it means is that with all of the foreign imports, the young Scottish players on development contracts are unlikely to get much of a chance to build experience on the professional stage meaning that they just spend most of their season playing for the Premier 1 club they were at before.
Finally, if you haven’t already seen Carlin Isles in 7s, watch this Youtube clip.