In exciting news for his fanclub that lurks in the darker recesses of the Scottish Rugby Blog, Edinburgh Rugby have agreed to loan prop Geoff Cross to Glasgow Warriors until the end of the season following injuries to tighthead props Mike Cusack and Ed Kalman.
The injuries leave the Warriors – who are currently one place outside a top-four playoff finish – shorthanded in a crucial position.
Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons explained that the decision coincides with, but is unrelated to, the confirmation that Cross will leave the club at the end of the season, with London Irish rumoured to be a potential destination.
He said: “There comes a time in a player’s career, especially when you’ve been at a club for a long period, that you realise you could benefit from something fresh and new, and Geoff [Cross] has secured such an opportunity at a new club.
“He has been a great servant of Edinburgh Rugby for a number of years and we wish him all the very best.”
Glasgow only have Moray Low and Jon Welsh available at tighthead, with Welsh a fairly recent conversion from loosehead. Cusack returned to action last month after more than a year out with a shoulder injury, but now has an mysterious and unrelated medical issue that will keep him sidelined for an unknown length of time.
Ed Kalman will also be out of action for a period of time due to a back injury.
“They approached us for senior cover in what is an extremely important position, and requested Geoff Cross on loan” said Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons.
“We agreed to assist them and, in view of the fact that the cut off registration date was midnight last night (Tuesday), we agreed to assist them with emergency, senior cover with immediate effect.”
With Cross out on loan, promising young Scot, Ewan McQuillin, has been promoted from the club’s development programme into the squad for this Friday’s clash with Ulster at Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).
The club have also negotiated the early arrival of recently signed prop Simon Berghan from the New Zealand Rugby Union, meaning the player will check in next month instead of next season as originally planned.
Cross played in all five of Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations games, starting against France and Wales and coming off the bench in the games against Ireland, England and Italy.
However the tighthead prop has featured eight times for Edinburgh Rugby this season, seemingly stuck behind WP Nel which has undoubtedly had his agent reaching for the phone book.
Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Mike (Cusack) worked really hard to get back fit again and we’re all disappointed that his comeback has been put on hold.”
“We’re delighted to welcome Geoff (Cross) into our squad. We’re getting an experienced tighthead to strengthen our front row options as we push for a play-off spot.”
Hogg out for 3 Weeks
In other news, angry (but not cross) young man Stuart Hogg has been handed a three week ban by a Six Nations disciplinary panel after his red card in Saturday’s farce against Wales.
The charge was amended to an act of foul play contrary to Law 10.4 (f) – Playing an opponent without the ball – which is a mid range (five weeks) offence. This was reduced by two weeks for mitigating factors, including the player’s remorse for the incident both on the day of the match and subsequently through the media.
Hogg said afterwards, “I am disappointed to be missing three games but fully respect the committee’s decision.”
The ban, which ends at midnight on 6 April, means that Hogg misses three Glasgow Warriors home games – against Scarlets, Ospreys and Treviso – and becomes available for selection for the match against Munster on 12 April.