Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Tim Visser Heads For The Exit

Tim Visser - pic © Al Ross
Tim Visser points the way - pic © Al Ross

With the Pro12 finishing the regular season this weekend and Edinburgh out of the playoff challenge, Tim Visser will call time on his Edinburgh Rugby career having long since established himself as part of the club’s record books.

When the little-known Dutchman was brought north of the Border to ply his trade on the Edinburgh wing by then head coach Andy Robinson, eyebrows were raised and questions asked.

This was of course, long before project signings were talked about, but Visser was a player who had struggled to break through into the Newcastle Falcons side that was hardly glorious.

Visser made an instant impact in the Scottish capital, with Edinburgh’s willingness to throw the ball about lending opportunities aplenty for the rangy winger.

He thrived in the Celtic League, and notched an impressive 50 points in his first season, and was named in the Team of the Year after a hugely impressive breakthrough season in the black and red.

Already there were rumblings that the 6ft 4’ winger might one day play for Scotland, despite needing another two years to qualify on World Rugby’s residency grounds, but he had displayed imperious try-scoring exploits in his maiden season at Murrayfield that made him worth the talk.

He was also named the league’s Young Player of the Season, with a free-flowing Edinburgh attack, marshalled by Mike Blair, Nick De Luca and Ben Cairns, allowing the big winger countless opportunities to catch the eye.

Visser would go on to better his 2009/10 achievements the following season, when he set a new Celtic League try-scoring record, as he went over 14 times, to not only clinch the Top Try Scorer award, but also a second consecutive place in the Team of the Year.

Into his third year – the biggest yet for the soon-to-be-qualified Scotsman, and the club were fighting on two fronts, with away wins over London Irish and Racing Metro, alongside a 48-47 comeback win over the French side at Murrayfield, in which Visser scored twice, to book a historic place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals for only the second time.

In the last eight match at Murrayfield, the big Dutchman’s defensive frailties were exposed as he let Timoci Matanavou scamper past him for Toulouse’s solitary try. Still, Visser can add an appearance in the Heineken Cup semi-finals to his rugby CV.

By the summer of 2012 it was clear he was destined to don the dark blue of Scotland, as once more he was named in the Pro12 Team of the Year, and named the Player of the Season in 2011/12.

With few out and out try-scorers in a low-scoring side, his first cap came in Fiji at the earliest opportunity. Visser marked the occasion with a pair of tries, catching the eye on the hard track in Lautoka.

More recently, he missed almost all of the 2013/14 season after suffering a horrific leg injury in October, making just eight appearances for Edinburgh under Alan Solomons, and under the guidance of the South African, Edinburgh play a more conservative style. Visser has found tries harder to come by, although his tally for the current season stands at five from 17 appearances.

He will hope to add to that this weekend with one last ‘Toot and Salute’, his famous celebration, for the Black and Red Army to enjoy, before he makes the trip to Harlequins next season and the next stage of his career.

He arrived as a little-known Dutchman six years ago, but Tim Visser will make his 129th Edinburgh appearance on Saturday, firmly established among the club’s greats, and with 12 caps for his adopted nation to boot. Despite the rise of Tommy Seymour and the appearance of Sean Maitland on the Scottish wings, that figure may well increase during the World Cup this year.

After all, tries are always welcome.

41 Responses

  1. Should a player who qualifies for Scotland through residency lose that qualification when he leaves the country?

    1. Good question.

      IMO , yes, you should still be able to play for that country. As you have declared it as you chosen nation already, your loyalty is to that nation you can still play for them and , importantly , no other. You have (legally) restricted your self to that nation, which is relevant for the counter argument.

      The rule is once you have declared you are tied to that country. I see no reason to lose your qualification after having declared loyalty, regardless of where you continue your career.

      Under employment laws, losing your qualification by playing in another country, could well be discrimination as players who qualify through birth rights can play in any other country.

      If that rule was to be dropped you could, off course, play for your new country by residency or a country through birth rights.

      However as it takes three years to gain residency it is unlikely to be practical so there is unlikely to be a large call to change the rules.

      There should be no penallty or restriction in playing for a club in another country.

  2. I get the feeling that Visser’s best days are behind him. I’m not sure that he would lose his qualification to play for scotland- I expect probably not but do we really want/need him. It would be better for us to concentrate on bringing on young home bred talent rather than foreign has beens. As for Edinburgh, I think they did a great piece of business by selling him when they still could. He’s probably got 3 or 4 seasosn in him at the highest level but, lets face it, he is a shadow of the player he was 3 seasons ago and this year has been a massive dissapointment. I watched him play for Scotland in the 6 nations and he was rubbish.

    1. Steady on – you are not completely off the mark however I do not think Northampton bought him as he is a ‘has been’. Far from it.

      I do think it is make or break for Visser.

      I feel he is yet to get into top gear and if he has it , he will need to find it quickly. So I think Visser is doing the right thing for himself and Scotland. He has huge physical size and speed so if he gets the ball , its time to show us what he can really do.

      1. I think you’ll find he’s gone to Harlequins. Oh and Neil, this is rugby, not football. Rugby players aren’t bought or sold. They move clubs at the end of their contracts, just like any other job!

      2. Allan et all Apoloigies for that inaccuracy , I am not really a Visser fan so It is actually of little relevance to me where he is going and while the club was inaccurate the point remains, he is no ‘has been’ and IMO has a point to prove wherever he is going.

  3. Has everyone writing for this blog gone on a sabbatical?
    Where are the Glasgow articles boys?

    1. Exactkly the top qualifier in the PRO 12 is a scottish side and we are deafened by the silence.

      Not even a call for a third pro side based on the success of Glasgow (Neil must still be asleep)

      Lets just pour some salt n sauce over that, no need to celbrate success it is easier to moan we are scots you know, do the decent thing and get glum.

      PO – You have had yer tea.

      1. I have Bulldog.
        Maybe the world has ended and no one has told us.
        Either tbat, or their wives have threatened divorce unless they stop playing so much on the laptop!

      2. Don’t you boys know that we are word champions at moaning. Its not in our nature to applaud but what I will say on a positive note is this: Glasgow have been fantastic this season and our seven team are ACE.

  4. What a cracking second half performance from Glasgow!

    Despite the disaster of Scotland’s 6N this season has been good for Scottish rugby. Glasgow have become the first Scottish side to top the Pro-12 after the end of the regular season, the under-20s enjoyed their best ever 6N results, the 7s enjoyed their best ever World Series placing (even converting Neil to their cause, who was calling for them to be abolished in the autumn!), Edinburgh got to the Challenge Cup Final. Even if Edinburgh had a limp end to the season, coming up short in the league, they look in so much better shape from the side Solomons took over they should be realistic top 6 contenders next season.

    So, plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Let’s just hope Glasgow can put the icing on the cake by winning the pro-12 title in Belfast.

    1. Agreed- Glasgow and our 7s team have been fantastic. The Scotland squad should view videos of both teams in action to find out what it is like for players to play with skill, passion and commitment- the 3 factors that were missing from our pathetic 6 nations team. Even as an overweight unfit guy in his 40s I would not have look out of place playing in that team full of jokers.

  5. Saturday at Scotstoun saw one of the worst 50 odd minutes of rugby I have seen from the Warriors. Which made the comeback all the sweeter! Lot of lessons for Friday coming, but we should go into that game full of confidence. Interestingly Naiyaravoro confirmed as signing for Glasgow, I would swear I read Edinburgh had signed him. Footage of him looks awesome!

    1. The big question is does his long term contract still have a break clause in it? If so, he might never even set foot in Scotland.

      If he does arrive, I think this is a superb signing for Glasgow. They’ll certainly be better at getting the ball into his hands than Edinburgh would have been.

  6. Townsend: “We look forward to Taqele joining us & we know he’ll be with us regardless of any international commitments”

    Quite a coup for Scottish rugby.

    1. What’s the break clause? I’m not imagining him going to Edinburgh am I? He is exactly what we need, especially given the backs we are losing. Quite a coup indeed.

      1. All the early speculation was that he would join Edinburgh but he had a break clause allowing him to remain with the Tahs if he won an Australia cap before the RWC. They have been playing out a very public drama in Australia trying to keep him and putting pressure on Cheika to pick him – he had responded saying that if he kept his form up he would be in the squad. Looks like he is coming though.

        Even as an Edinburgh fan, I think he will be a better fit for Glasgow. A marquee signing for Scottish rugby needs to be playing at the top level for a team that knows how to get its wingers the ball in space. As you have said Glasgow needed to replace serious firepower in DTH, Nico and Maitland. We are losing Visser but already have signed Helu and have Hoyland and Farndale who we will want to make a mark next year. Not sure another winger on a huge wedge would be as beneficial to Scottish rugby.

        Edinburgh’s marquee signing has been Nasi Manu. Maybe he less obviously meets a need in the Edinburgh squad but he could also be a star.

      2. FF – Edinburgh have a pretty good back row so Manu, although being a good player, won’t make a massive improvement to the team the way a quality centre would.

        Was quite impressed with Allen for Ulster at the weekend so fingers crossed he’s better than Fife and Brown etc…..but Edinburgh still need a 10, at least one centre and possibly another winger to make a big push next season.

      3. Andy – I totally agree. Solomons said after the Leinster game that his priority was a quality centre signing so at least it is top of his list. He’s also said Deans will see a lot of game time so good to know he has plans for the Scots coming through too.

        Winger I’m not too fussed about. Helu looks pretty useful, Hoyland really deserves a chance to kick on, Brown isn’t bad at all and Fife does a job at pro12 level. Allen and Farndale will provide competition and I think everyone wants to see Farndale finally get passed his injury issues and realise his potential. That stable doesn’t leave too much room for another recruit even if we don’t yet have wingers that terrify opponents like Visser did in his pomp.

        10 is the glaring issue. Burliegh and Tonks look like what they are: talented players filling in at FH. No idea what they have in store!

      4. Just the other day he said he would exercise the break clause to get out of the Edinburgh contract if he got picked for the Quallabies. All very strange

      5. It looks like the saga isn’t yet over – according to the Sydney Morning Herald Cheika has sought to keep alive the prospect of Taqele staying in Australia and playing for the Wallabies.

        SMH – ‘No sooner had Scottish club the Glasgow Warriors announced a three-year deal with the Fijian-raised winger than Wallabies and Waratahs coach Michael Cheika appeared to cast doubt on the move, saying: “…We’ll see where he ends up playing footy next year”.

        “I’ve been speaking with Taqele regularly about what’s going on, obviously a lot of teams are keen on players like Taqele, because they’re high impact,” Cheika said.

        Fairfax Media understands that a Test call-up for the Wallabies – a possibility at this stage – would threaten the deal, which has been overseen by the Scotland Rugby Union, and Naiyaravoro said after the Sharks game on Saturday that he would look to stay if he was selected for Australia this year.

        The Warriors then contacted Fairfax Media on Twitter on Tuesday to say their newest signing would be joining them “regardless” of what happened at Test level.

        “Taqele will be coming to Glasgow next season regardless of any international commitments,” the club Tweeted.

        It is understood the Waratahs want to re-sign the player they plucked from the reserve grades of the NRL early last year, but will have no hope of matching the rumoured $1.5 million package on the table at the Warriors.

        A flexible contract built around a stint in Japan, plus Test match incentives, could be the Super Rugby champions’ only hope of retaining his services.

        But with a Test call-up no certainty – Naiyaravoro faces stiff competition from more experienced incumbents Rob Horne, Henry Speight, Nick Cummins, Joe Tomane and Adam Ashley-Cooper – the high-impact winger could be destined for a move north.

        “There’s no point in us coming out and saying this is going to happen and that is going to happen, they can say what they like and we’ll just see where he’s playing footy next year,” Cheika said.’

  7. It therefore begs the question- is this player really going to be committed to Glasgow? If he cant make up his mind and be commited to the cause, then maybe they need to get someone who will. I’m sick of our pro teams being desparate to ar.e lick second rate foreign players, offering them the World to play in Scotland when our young home grown talent couold easily fill the tem and would be much more commited. Often what happens its that they arrive in our country and do not live up to our expectations.Glasgow have to give him an ultimatum- decide what you want to do within the next 3 weeks or just forget it. My own feeling is that we should kick the pre Madonas into touch and only hire players who actually want to play for the club.

    1. Neil, I understand where you’re coming from but rugby is a professional sport which means that the main motivation for players to move clubs is to maximise their earnings (unless you believe rugby players the world over just have a burning ambition to tick ‘learn French’ off their bucket list). This reeks of agents being too smart for their own good – let’s hope that Glasgow’s contract is watertight and Cheika is trying to keep his options open.

      Taqele probably does bring something that we can’t substitute for in Scotland (unless you know any 6’5″ 19st wingers playing Scottish club rugby) which is why he is going to command a huge salary. If that helps Glasgow progress in Europe and keep building the club it will be money well spent.

    2. Well as far as I can see they do live up to expectations. Glasgow would (probably) not be top of the PRO 12 if it were not for Matawalu, DTH, Nakawara, Strauss and Jerry the prop among others who can play all season without being robbed by the Scotland side. So they have lived up to the expectations for me. They might be second rate somewhere , but for me , they are first rate at Glasgow.

      What does ‘committed to the cause’ mean ? When you sign for Glasgow or Edinburgh you are committing to the team and your wages come from their fans.If you dont perform they wont be long in voicing their concern.

      1. Donr get me wrong- i’m not totally opposed to hiring foreign players but they have to be top of their game and fully commited. All to often that is not the case. Sure, cheika may be a good enough player byut two things bother me:

        1. He is a Samoan but why does he want to play for OZ. I am Scottish and wouold never want to play for any other national team. Is he just some glory hunter?
        2. He has been made a very good offer to join Glasgow but he is still dragging his heals. He needs to understand that he cant have hios cake and eat it. I dont have a problem with people moving for money but they need to be commited.

        These things raise red alarm bells in my book. I think he may be a reasonable player but is likely to mess Glasgow arround. Is he the sort of player that would constantly hastle management for a better salary, want loads of time off from the game, ask for cars, houses etc- where does it stop? And the minute the club refuse to meet his demands will he bother to try on the rugby field? He is behaving like a fottball star, messing clubs arround until he gets exactly what he wants but that could never be enough so he has to mess more people/clubs arround. And during this process he will not be commited to playing good rugby so it is the club and fans that suffer once again.
        Is this the sort of player that Glasgow really want on their books. I agree with FF that the contract should be water tight but I dont think that the club should waste time sucking up to him. They need to state to him in no uncertain terms that this is not an open ended deal that he can take or leave as he pleases. Glasgow are not an optionl extra or an option B club. I would give him a maximum of 3 weeks to make up his mind and, if he does not, then the offer becomes null and void.

      2. Neil – Cheika is the coach of Australia and the NSW Waratahs.

        Taqele Naiyaravoro is the player we are discussing and he is from FIJI.

  8. FF – Hope I’m wrong, but it does look like the player (or his agent) are using the SRU as a way of putting pressure on Cheika to select him for Australia. The way it stacks up appears to give the decision to Cheika. I’m not sure when he selects his next squad, but I’ll be interested to hear what happens.
    I can’t see the SRU or anyone else enforcing a contract if the player clearly doesn’t want to come.

  9. Neil , come off it..

    Firstly , I have no problem with hiring foreign players and we seem to get the right balance in my opinion. If they are the best of the best , we cannot afford them. Look at the gate numbers at the PRO12 sides. We still have a thriving club scene and members support them as well as the pro sides. So , dry your eyes , The Senior All Blacks are not coming to Scotland.

    We are all passionate scots in here, we are also pragmatists and recognise our limitations.

    I have not been following the case of the samoan , however in the South Sea Islands it is quite traditional for the best to be snapped up by Aus or NZ. There will be fringe benefits – it is their culture he has grown up to expect it.

    We have no idea what other things are buzzing around in his environment, rugby or otherwise, so its a bit quick to say he is messing us around. Its a big thing to move to the other side of the world. These are men not robots.

    In terms of messing Glasgow around, behave yourself , remember these words ? ‘this is Glasgow, you come here and we will set about you’ the words of our wee baggage handler at Glasgow Airport who gave the terrorists a seeing too. ha ha he wont mess us around Neil. (hope you are in the mood for a joke)

    In all seriousness , I do not belive anyone messes Townsend around. He has a reputation for being effective.

    Now we have a big match to look forward to …

    1. Bulldog- I dont have a problem with South Sea Islanders going to Oz or NZ to play for a club team but why cant they be loyal to their own nationality. As you know, I left the UK to work for a company in the Middle East but I still consisder myself to be Scottish and would never dream of representing any other country than the UK or Scotland in sport or anything else. I just wonder why these guys think differently. If Samoa could draw on all of their great players they would be world beaters. Is it only me that can see that? Townsend is no pushover and neither is Glasgow but that won’t stop players milking the system or messing the team arround, at least in the short term over a 2-3 year period. Just look at how certain foreign players have messed about Rangers in years gone by. Like you, I have not really followed the case of the Samoan but the warning signs are there and I smell a rat. I hope that I am wrong.

      1. Neil – did you grow up in a developing country and follow a career where you face a 10-15 year window to earn as much as possible with the everpresent threat of career-ending injury?

        If not, I don’t know why you feel you have the right to lecture professional players on loyalty.

      2. Isnt Scotland a developing country? Sorry but I couldnt resist that one. My point is that you need to separate what is going on at club and international level. I have no problem with a player moving to OZ or Scotland for economic reasons but players should always have loyalty to their national team and not to try and turn out for the national squad of a different country. He is now in a position where he is hardly poor so your argument does not really wash with me.

      3. Neil – do you not miss going to the rugby club, mixing with the lads you played with and then off to the pro game on a Friday night ? Maybe a curry , wee refreshment to clear the head?

      4. Bulldog- so what do you think? Of course I am going to answer yes to all of these questions but the best I can do at the moment is to watch the odd rugby game, catch up on all the sport news on BBC website and blogs such as this one + have a few Diet cokes etc. Its not a compelte dissaster as I get to watch the most of the international games but I am deprived of club rugby, which is a big dissapointemnt as our two pro teams have improved massively over the last 12 months, particularly Glasgow- a club I now rate in the top 5 in Europe.

      5. And that Neil is why you always talk in abstracts and hypotheticals, never letting reality get in the way of a ramble

      6. Neil – Ok well I find that helps bring me perspective. I have no problems with foreign imports and they can play for whatever nation will have them. The more they earn , the more they get taxed and the more the UK government gain from them trading their talents on our shores. If they entertain us into the bargain – what is not to like about it?

  10. A very interesting point was raised earlier and my apologies for not giving credit to the writer but I can’t face reading all the comments again lol

    When putting together a squad for campaign you must allow for the loss of your Scottish Internationals during the 6 Nations. With the competition getting tighter each year, how you do on those weekends is critical to the season.

    Having foreign players in your squad is a guarantee they will be available for those games. Having the right imports can also be key to the development of your Scottish players. A case in point is Adam Thomson at the Reds. This season Liam Gill’s game has come on leaps and bounds and he is now a serious contender for the Australian 7 spot. I personally believe this is due in a very large part to Thomson’s influence on him.

  11. Oh no Glasgow – you’ve just had the Neil kiss of death! I seem to recall Scotland being similarly lauded by said poster prior to the 6N (way better then Italy, probably a bit better than Ireland and Wales, something like that…). Glasgow could be considered as being in the top five sides in Europe once they get to the knock out stages of the ERC. Glasgow haven’t yet definitively proven that they are the best pro team in the Celtic nations yet. We don’t do ourselves or anyone else any favours by over bigging up our teams prior to the competitions that actually dictate the pecking order. I am hopeful for Scotland, Glasgow and even Edinburgh, but the proof will be in the pudding, and for Scotland that is the 6N, for Glasgow ERC 2015/2016.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion