A flurry of transfer news yesterday as it was announced that Stuart Hogg has committed his future to Glasgow until May 2019, while Gloucester and Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw is off to Clermont Auvergne at the end of the season.
Hogg has recently married and had a child so staying settled for a while seems like good business all round. Some reports suggest that the contract offered by the Warriors is a good one, and it would have to be to keep Hogg at Glasgow a little longer. The draw of seeing what Dave Rennie might do – and what talent he might attract if the SRU can find the money – must have been a key factor.
He’s still only 24 but despite this has 87 appearances for Glasgow, 45 International Caps and was the youngest member of 2009’s winning British and Irish Lions tour (a Lions test cap is sure to be next on his to-do list). By 2019 he should still have plenty of years ahead of him with which to venture further abroad should he choose. He will be arguably at his peak as a rugby player – which could be quite a peak if he continues climbing on the same gradient.
Speaking of which, Greig Laidlaw is off to France, a country where the goal-kicking, Petit General style of scrum-half-ery is much revered. He should slot in well over there assuming he’s been brushing up on his Fijijan, and the less charitable amongst us might argue that his more relaxed approached to quick ball will fit in to a French system that seems to have long since lost the flair for which their national team was once renowned.
Laidlaw (31) has been at Gloucester since 2014 and is currently the club captain, which shows the regard he is held in down in the West Country. He’ll be following in the footsteps of Paul Burnell, Jason White and Nathan Hines pitching up in Clermont-Ferrand. Gloucester Director of Rugby David Humphries said:
“While we are sorry to see him go, the offer Greig received from France was too good to turn down and, at the end of the season, we will wish him all the best for the rest of his career.”
The move to Vern Cotter’s old club Clermont could well see him through to the end of his career – he’ll be 34 by the end of the contract – hard to argue against if the money they put on the table was silly.