Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


The Revolving Door Continues to Swing

Gordon Reid - pic © Al Ross
Gordon Reid - pic © Al Ross

Glasgow have announced that Josh Strauss and Gordon Reid will be leaving the club at the end of the season while Edinburgh have confirmed the long-awaited signing of Mark Bennett from the Warriors.

Strauss has done his contract prospects no harm with two strong performances in the Six Nations. He’s the sort of guy they’ll like in France although rumours have him linked to a move to England as well.

Gordon Reid is an interesting one, as a player there or thereabouts for Scotland who has played very well for the Warriors and is highly rated by fans and pundits. Both should not struggle to find clubs (Reid has been linked with London Irish) and join the “out” list of Warrior Nation favourites along with Simone Favaro.

In other contract news from down south, George Ford is leaving Bath but they are bringing in Freddie Burns so the logjam ahead of young Hastings won’t be getting any looser. Signing him up could be the next move for The Toony Pen (the real one) before he hands the reigns over to Dave Rennie, who you think must have been involved in discussions.

Speaking of his move, Bennett said: “A key factor in my decision was that there’s a young squad at Edinburgh, who are going in the right direction and I can feel like I can add to that.

“At 24 I think I could be one of the older boys in the Edinburgh backline, which would be a new experience for me, but one that I’m looking forward to next season.

“I’ve also worked with Duncan Hodge before as part of the Scotland set-up and I like his approach to the game as well, I think he is a very good coach and I’m looking forward to working with him again.

“The club as a whole seems to be heading in the right direction and I’m excited to be joining and contributing to the side’s progression over the next three years.”

He’ll march straight into the starting lineup but who then plays at 12: Burleigh, Dean, Allen, Tofilau, Rasolea? Bennett’s move was hotly debated here in the comments but if you are an Edinburgh fan, surely you will be delighted?

47 Responses

  1. As an Edinburgh fan I am delighted but I do hope that we can provide the platform needed to allow Bennett to express himself and to develop as a player & this isn’t likely playing outside Tovey on recent form/outings. It would be great to see Hastings coming to Edinburgh but I can understand the desire to keep him away from the SRU influence.
    Feel a bit sorry for Gordon Reid who’s always been an honest, hard working guy perhaps without the class needed for the top grade but a good club man nevertheless.

  2. Good move for Edinburgh, not a good move for Bennett unless Edinburgh finally get a coach that can sort them out. It is abundantly clear that Hodge is not that coach.

    But underneath all our lacklustre and directionless performances I think we have a competitive squad. I just hope Bennet has agreed to the move because he knows who’ll be coaching next year and it is someone he has confidence in.

    1. Surprised as you are that Bennett has agreed to a step back in terms of career progression. One would think as an established international he could have had better offers from English or French clubs. While the SRU may be happy to have retained control of the player, he’ll be playing at a lower level outside poorer players. He’s now behind Jones, Scott and probably Taylor for the outside centre berth so I hope he doesn’t regret his choice. Pressure now on Johnson to unveil a coach to take Edinburgh forward along with some new players in key positions. Another season of transition under Hodge and co. will be unacceptable.

      Strauss’ performance on Sunday will have given himself profile among French clubs so will have plenty of lucrative contract offers significantly better than the SRU can afford.

      Is Edinburgh becoming Glasgow’s B side?

      1. Scott is fit and not in the Scotland 23 so Bennett is clearly ahead of him in the pecking order.

        Hope Strauss goes to England rather than France, I don’t think many players improve in France.

      2. I think Strauss going to France would be good. They know how to use a big, meter gaining 8 in France. Could see his game improving.

  3. What with the shocker on Friday night and now this, ’tis a tough week for Warriors but I’m glad the club has decided to put an end to any more speculation. Strauss is probably going to be the toughest to replace – big ball carriers of his ability are expensive….of the young Scottish crop, Ashe has potential, but nobody else is close and we need someone who can hit the ground running next year, not take a couple of seasons to ‘mature’. Plenty of speculation that Rennie will attract NSQ talent that might otherwise overlook Glasgow as an option…time will tell, but feels like the end of an era at Glasgow.

  4. Good luck to Bennett. It looks as though the SRU are trying to balance the playing field between Edinburgh and Glasgow. A fine line to tread between bringing Edinburgh up to Glasgows’ level or bringing them both down to Edinburghs. For the sake of Scottish Rugby overall I hope they get it right.

    Strauss, Reid and Favaro have been excellent servants of Glasgow. Very few players last at one club for their whole career, so thank you gents and good luck wherever you end up.

    1. Whatever the SRUs attempts at balancing the budget with Glasgow, recruiting Rennie displays their intent and is to be applauded. Time to get Edinburgh a coach that can turn us around.

      1. i’d rather have glasgow pushing of the title and edinburgh struggling than both being mid table teams

      2. The SRU, after several years of failure to do so, seem to be making good decisions all round (with caveats).

        The BT deal, the Academies, persevering with the 7s, supporting the women’s game and appointing Rennie are all pluses in my book.

        The caveats are losing Vern Cotter, Edinburghs lack of progress and the lack of transparency around the DoR role of Scott Johnson.

        I think Cotter would have done a “Gatland” and stayed for a couple of RWC cycles. So the SRU could have kept Cotter, allowed Toonie to coach abroad for a couple of years (learning all the time) and recruited Rennie to Glasgow.

        A decent coach is a must in the East, and a squad to match. Work in progress is being charitable there.

        Johnson? Could be he is the driving force behind all the good things…… who knows…… no one is saying so it allows rumours to grow, and his reputation was never great.

  5. Agree with FF that Edinburgh need a very good coach as their 1st 2nd and 3rd priority, well ahead of any player signings.
    Sorry to see Gordon Reid and Josh Strauss leaving. The larder is a bit bare at Glasgow as regards props with Puafisi also leaving. As to no 8’s, I really don’t see Ashe being the same kind of ball carrier.
    Although I understand that 2 year contracts are the norm these days, it does become a bit like revolving doors at the end of each season.
    Glasgow will do well not to be destabilised for next year with so many good players leaving.

    1. Like you Ade, I think things mostly appear to be moving in the right direction but I’d have liked to have seen Cotter get to RWC 2019 at least and then Toonie could have come in…

      But the SRU should be applauded for keeping Bennett in Scotland. As long as the coaching/facilities/development are top class then it’s great to have our best players here… Scott, Visser and Denton all left and I’d much rather they were still turning out for Scottish club sides…

      1. Ade… Agree with most of what you say, but the women’s game? How is supporting that a plus point for the SRU?They lose constantly and play a game that I think most school U-15 teams would compete well against. I think there’s room for sevens in womens rugby, but I’m far from convinced that 15s is worth anyone paying a ticket for, especially in Scotland.

        If it was a choice between one professional contract at Glasgow or Edinburgh or the women’s game in total, I’d be inclined to sign him up on the spot.

  6. Definetly the end of an era at the Warriors, who must have seen what a disaster this season has been when the A team is away with Scotland, and look to be doing something about it. Will be an interesting summer, that’s for sure.

  7. As an Edinburgh fan, happy to see Bennett arrive. But I can’t help feeling that it looks a bit shoddy with Glasgow signing Jones and Bennett getting shipped to Edinburgh. It kind of says that both Bennett and Edinburgh are second class to Jones and Glasgow. Which may well be the case but it would have come across better if Jones had gone to Edinburgh (although I can forgive him for not wanting to go there). For me Bennett would have been better at a bigger club than Edinburgh.

  8. I don’t think Gordon Reid will be a massive loss..

    Strauss will be a huge loss to the team but hopefully a younger player or NSQ player can come in and take his place (I’m sure Rennie will help attract someone?) We need someone of his ball carrying ability to come in.

    Bennett.. I’m still not sure what to think of this? I’m pretty disappointed as I feel he could do much better than a struggling Pro12 team? Although having him get regular game time which will be controlled by the SRU will be a bonus.

  9. Edinburgh needs a top class coach, which is not Duncan Hodge and perhaps Brandon Thompson?

  10. Reid leaving is a big loss for Glasgow his scrummaging has improved significantly this year. Replacement? Strauss less so but needs somebody to step up. Why would anybody move to Edinburgh, on paper they should be better but lack leadership, is this on field or coaching?

    1. Have to disagree about Reid, I think he could be replaced by any mediocre to good semi pro prop, having seen him play with his club side in the past I truly believe there is better out there, However I read that this is paving the way for Glasgow to sign another “Project Player”, in other words a WP Nel or Allan Dell, this does sort of worry me because we may well be able to sign 20st bruisers from SA or AUS but wha happens when 5/6 years down the line we still have guys like D’Arcy Rae who are left fast approaching 30 with hardly a cap to their name, it is a short term solution but signing project players is only sustainable for a certain amount of time. Granted Nel, Strauss, Maitland and Jones have all been fantastic finds but what about the home grown talent?

      We are now faced with a situation where we can’t and won’t refuse to go without relying on Southern Hemisphere coaches / players. A good example is a local club rugby team in North Ayrshire who constantly signed up foreigners (SA & NZ) basically anyone with an accent was getting signed up but the results didn’t come, so they sacked the coaches, management and players, they then took on a former player / coach as 1st XV coach / manager and hired a Scotland Rugby League Defence Coach, the fortunes got turned around and they finished 3rd in West Division 1.

      Likewise in 2013/14 they took on two very experienced coaches from Whitecraigs who had previously coached at Glasgow District, Cambuslang, Garnock and Kilmarnock, these guys turned the fortune of the club right round and they won West Division 1, the West Regional Shield and got to the Finals of the National Shield. It’s crazy to think that they let this coaching talent go in 2014/15 to sign a NZ guy who managed to get them relegated again, a lot of lessons can be learned from this club in particular.

      Bottom line is we do have a few good gems of foreign talent but we need to go through a hell of an amount of journeymen first who don’t care about the country or the commitment to the cause.

    2. I agree with you about Reid Jungle. He’ll be a big loss to Glasgow especially with Puafisi leaving as well. Reid has done a very good job for Glasgow, is very underestimated, and is usually disparaged with idiotic comments like “he could be replaced by any mediocre semi pro prop”. Really? Perhaps Eddie would like to name one or two of these amazing semi-pro props.
      Maybe he should be replaced by mediocre props like Dan Cole, Uini Antonio or Tai Furlong, who he’s played and done well against for Glasgow over the last few years?

    1. Alternatively is there any need for Edinburgh to have what is effectively the top 3 choices for LH…? Sutherland or Dell to Glasgow?

  11. Gordon Reid has improved, he has been in some big games this season for Glasgow and Scotland against better opposition and come through well. He is attractive to London Irish for that reason and is being rewarded appropriately. Well done Gordon, he gives his best and I personally cannot recall Gordon being yellow carded which must be a positive measure of success in today’s front row.

    1. Yeah, whatever you say about Gordon Reid, you can never say he didn’t give it his all on the field.

  12. Glasgow are losing players as there is larger purses out there.

    I cannot speculate about Strauss other than he may be at his prime and saleable. I think Bennett needs a game week in, week out and the Newcastle link made sense.

    Stuart Hogg’s wage was published in the Mail Online at £375K p.a. His peers now have a numeric comparisson of their worth to the side and if they dont like it, they have now got enough European coverage to get noticed elsewhere.

    Unless the reason for letting some big ticket guys go, is to free up budgets to retain others, I dont believe it is over yet.

    There are sides out there , who will make big offers for big players, contract or no contract , every man has his price, every player is an asset to be realised at its prime.

  13. Edinburgh are playing at less than the sum of their parts, and that then comes back to the coaching. What’s happened to Hidalgo-Clyne? Seems to have lost his way. The injuries to the props – the front row being the big strength of the team, hasn’t helped. The back row looks formidable when Hardie gets his fitness and form back.

    Bennett is just what the doctor ordered, center is a bit weak since Scott left. But only if the coaching staff are at least competent to get the best out of a good bunch of players. My preference would be Cotterill head coach with Dan Parks sorting out the back line.

    1. My over-riding memory of Dan Parks is a game where Scotland were defending grimly on their 5-metre line and the clock ticked past 40 minutes so Dan had a chance to clear the ball to touch. What happens, kicked straight into the middle of Nathan Hines back and rebounds over the touch-line requiring a mad scramble of players to touch it down. I for one will pass on Dan “sorting out the back line” and “cutting out the errors” thanks.

      1. Apparently Parks I’d cutting his coaching teeth somewhere in the Pacific Islands. If he proves himself then his name will naturally begin to appear on short leets for bigger coaching positions. I’d have no problem with him coaching in Scotland if he can prove he is fit for the job.

        At the moment he is not.

  14. Appreciate Parks was much loved by Warrior fans, but his coaching credentials are sketchy to say the least. Better to head-hunt a Head Coach with credibility who would have input on who he is working with.

  15. As a Exiled Scot in the darkest corners of SW England I keep hearing rumours of Mitch Eadie from Bristol heading to Glasgow. Strong aggressive former Scottish U20 and playing very well in a poor team. Maybe this is why Strauss can go?
    As for Bennett the first top class back Edinburgh have signed in years, long overdue

    1. Don’t know much about Eadie other than he seems like abother very lightweight number 8 at only 105kg

  16. I’d like to see somone like warren whitely or victor vito come to glasgow … hopefully dave rennie can get 1 of those type of number 8s for next season with the loss of strauss

      1. Absolutely! We want them young, cheap (or value for money if that floats your boat), hungry and with something to prove.

        Having something to prove and a chip on your shoulder is an ideal match for the Glasgow psyche ;0)

  17. anyone know anything about Finlay Christie? Scrum half named in Chiefs squad and is listed under Scottish. Maybe Rennie is planning to bring him with him?

      1. I’m sorry but I don’t think there’s any room in our squad for someone that lists “Pitch Perfect” as his favourite movie of all time.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion