In Praise Of Gary Graham

Picture the scene. You’re 19 years old and representing your country at the Under-20’s World Cup in South Africa.

The side finish 9th overall but a few of the boys around you pick up professional and academy contracts but not you. Most of them go to private school whereas you grew up on a council estate. You head back to your club, putting in the hours at the gym and on the training field. Maybe if you get your head down and work hard it’ll be you next. Three years fly past and you’re stood still, working during the day to earn some money and putting shift after shift in at training at night.

Then finally an opportunity to play professional rugby comes. It’s not top flight by any stretch but it’s an opportunity to do what you love doing and you grab it.  Two seasons later and a club from the English Premiership come calling and not just any club, the club your old man used to play for. The club that proudly and unashamedly represents the area where you grew up.

Flash forward another two years and you get two calls. You’ve been invited to train with the England squad but Scotland, the country you represented at that Under-20’s World Cup are also interested. You’ve had to fight your way to the top with nothing but grit, determination, strength of will and an unwavering belief that you are good enough. The country of your birth, that turned you down all those years ago has come crawling back now you’ve hit the big time. But the country that gave you your big break, the country where you spent most of your life growing up, the country that sits higher in the World Rankings and competes for honours almost every year also wants you.

What would you do?

Putting it in context, Gary Graham’s decision to join up with England was always going to be straightforward. The “anti-Scottish” quotes that have been dragged up come from an interview he did with his Dad with the Daily Mail. The tone of the interview is of a father and son taking turns to rib each other about their respective sporting allegiances and Graham Junior’s anger clearly lies with those in charge of the Scottish system that cast him aside rather than the country or even the national side itself. Subtlety is often hard to get over on the printed page.

As someone who grew up at the other end of the Scottish and English border from Graham, this writer knows how fluid sporting allegiances can be. There are those who fall down clearly on one side or the other, some whose allegiance changes depending on the sport being played and some who identify as neither, preferring to be classed as Cumbrian, Northumbrian or even just a Berwicker before anything else. Town and county regularly coming before country.

Gregor Townsend never closed the door on Graham and neither should Scotland fans.

The same bloody-mindedness, determination, grit and guts that saw him drag himself from Gala to the Falcons via Jersey without much help from anyone is a strength and the exact mindset Townsend is looking for in his players. Many accused Jones of playing games when Graham was initially called up to the England squad and the fact he missed out on subsequent squads might lend some substance to that theory. Graham should be applauded for having the courage to stick two fingers up to his suitors down south and his willingness to take the slings and arrows that will inevitably come his way regarding his allegiances and place the call to Townsend.

Such resilience is hard to come by these days and Gary Graham might just be the hard edge Scotland have been searching for.

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Born a Souter but brought up just south of the Border in Berwick where he played for Berwick RFC as a kid any any position where cover was needed.
Follow Cammy on twitter @CammyBlack

105 comments on “In Praise Of Gary Graham

  1. Neil on

    He should not be allowed near a scotland shirt, dirty traitor.

    The fact was he did not work hard enough at the time to earn a contract.

    The fact is when he did become good enough he chose England and would not of looked back in Eddie Jones selected him.

    He should of made it clear he wants to represent Scotland and Scotland only.

    I dont want Eddie Jones sloppy seconds.

    The guy is not brave for speaking to Gregor , he just wants international rugby and will go back and forth between Scotland And England until he gets it.

    • Andrew McGavin on

      Not everyone’s life experience is black and white. Identity is complex and fluid for most of us.

      I’m far more comfortable with Graham playing than I have been with project players but ultimately glad to watch players who’ll put their bodies on the line for the jersey.

      The quotes from the DM article do look bad, especially out of context, but he just sounds like his Dad – a passionate, unfiltered guy who says what he’s feeling in the moment and who was trying to wind his Dad up. I think you’re taking it too seriously here. And we can’t afford to cut off our nose to spite our face.

    • FF on

      ‘Dirty traitor’ is language that is completely irresponsible to use about someone who is just pursuing his sporting talent where it might take him. This kind of hateful term has no place in the game of rugby IMO. Get some perspective.

    • Jamie wiseman on

      We will see how your attitude changes when he puts the shirt on and plays blinders! Some people need to take a think to themselves! This is rugby not football stop acting like hooligans!!!

    • Keith munro on

      Sadly he’s a product of the system , no fault of his own , if you knew anything remotely about how it works ( which I doubt you do) you would understand

    • Steve Craig on

      Agree 100%, particularly on the part where he probably wasn’t good enough at the time. He made his bed with England, I wouldn’t have him anywhere near the squad.

  2. James Reid on

    Which private school did Finn Russell go to?

    The only other Scottish educated player in the press release?

    He was an apprentice stonemason from Falkirk. Hardly the landed gentry of Edinburgh schools as Graham said was picked.

    He’s work hard and is a great player, there’s nothing to do with his face not fitting.

  3. Scott M on

    As long as he’s good enough and qualified I’m happy to give him a shot. He looks like the grizzly no nonsense type we might require at some point. He knows signing up for Scotland doesn’t guarantee a place, we have tonnes of players in the back row so he’s obviously willing to slug it out with them to try and get a chance to wear the thistle. Here’s hoping Cam Redpath does the same in the not too distant future.

    • Neil on

      While i dont doubt he is a good or excellent player, the guy chose England first.

      We shouldnt just accept ppl because they have talent what is the point of countries playing at this rate if anyone can play for anyone.

      downgrades the scottishness of wins and losses for me.

      • FF on

        He’s a hell of a lot ‘more’ Scottish than plenty of guys in the squad. Honestly apart from a little hurt misplaced pride, this is a total non-issue.

      • JP on

        Dude chill out. Off the top of my head in our squad we have players birth as: Kiwis, Saffers, Zim, American, English, Australian, Wales, Hong Kong and Namibia with Holland until recently. How many grew up dreaming of playing for Scotland? Probably just Barclay (Hong Kong)

      • Scott M on

        Don’t cut off your ear to spite your face… it’s no a game of whose Scottish and whose no. If he qualifies and he’s good enough then that’s good enough for me and it’s good enough for Townsend.

      • Pickle rucker on

        The Scottishness of wins? What does that even mean? So we finally beat the All Blacks and GG happens to be in the team and you’ll be sat at home saying “don’t care if we won, it wasn’t Scottish enough”?

  4. EricF on

    He was great at Gala (along with brother George and dad as coach) and we wished him well on his move to Jersey. Delighted he got the shift to Falcons and is not unexpectedly doing a job for them too. Anybody taking an article in the Daily Mail seriously wants their eyes testing. Should do a job for Scotland too if selected.

  5. Duncan on

    Superb article Cammy. Really turned my opinion round on this one.

    Just one point – do you have to keep having a go at the private schools? I appreciate they maybe got a leg up previously but I would like to think that the SRU aren’t as narrow minded as they used to be.

    I just find this fairly constant attack on this blog may have something to do wit another rugby podcast which directs almost no ire your way. Whereas you take the piss out of there intro and consistently sneer at them.

    There are plenty people who are dicks that went to private school and plenty who are dicks who went to state school.

    Doing what you do how’s against the inclusiveness that you try to encourage on this podcast.

    In addition to that a lot of young lads who are ‘posh private school boys’ are pretty down to earth normal lads who got amazing opportunities at scholarships ( Horne, Fagerson, McCallum, Bradbury, Ritchie, Hunter Hill, Carmichael)

    It is ok to be supportive of rugby outside the Borders. I like to be supportive of any young man or women who pulls on the Scotland jersey regardless of what country they were born in or what school they went to.

    Don’t sink to the level of the SRU blazers you take issue with.
    Your much better than that!

    • Cammy Black on

      Hi Duncan. Apologies if it made it look like I was sneering at private schools. The line is based on a direct quote from Graham and I was writing in third person from his perspective. He may be completely wrong but he said that was the impression he was left with and he had a chip on his shoulder as a result.
      We certainly never go out of our way to have a go at private schools and I’m sorry if that’s the impression you’ve been left with.
      As for the intro to the podcast that’s got nothing to do with anyone’s education it just a wee joke I’ll happily drop as soon as the other lads stop saying they’re the only podcast that cares about Scottish rugby lol.

  6. JP on

    Professional game, loyalty is for fans. It is their job in a career which lasts 15 years at a push and is one reckless challenge away from being ended in any game. The guys a pro player who was called up by a side which pays over £20k an appearance. It didn’t pan out, in fact he was injured badly during one of the coaches infamous sessions. He’s going for what has recently been second choice, perhaps once upon a time we were his first. Frankly it makes no odds to me. You think Maitland or Strauss or even Watson or Wilson grew up dreaming of Scotland? If he performs I’ll cheer as loudly as for any born and bred Scit and I don’t care if he’s taking one of their places if he merits it

  7. Tony Steedman on

    Nip down to Newcastle and call Graham a dirty traitor to his face. Otherwise grow up or take an anger management course.

  8. DavieM on

    A very well written article Cammy.
    Whether he would have played with England on a regular basis or not is not the point. He chose to reply to a call-up for Scotland, his country of birth, sometimes the strongest bond.
    If a player, man or woman, puts their body on the line for a team or country, they get my support. I’ve loved watching this national mix of players, who as well as playing club rugby, want a second chance to get a serious injury. They’re not forced to. They choose to. Good on you Gary. As a fellow Stirling lad, welcome.

  9. Blake Westwood on

    Pure greed hope he is never seen near a Scotland shirt.

    Your nationality isn’t something like changing your mind over your favourite food or music or even changing your politics. It’s something ingrained in your heart which you should be passionate about.

    I don’t care if you were born here, brought up here, qualify by your granny or residency. If you are passionate about being Scottish that is all that matters. But this is a guy at 25 who turned his back on his country to try and get the big bucks from being an English player.

    Clearly cares very little about his country or Scottish rugby and the fact of the matter is we have far better back-row players. Wilson, Watson, Barclay, Bradburry, Ritchie, Strauss, Hardie and Fagerson are all far better players.

      • Slimjim on

        He is an excellent player and I’d say potentially our best option at 7, certainly a complimentary one to Watson

      • Stu2 on

        Give it a rest will you, he wasnt anywhere near the Scotland squad until Jones used him.

        He’s a typical Graham, gobby, aggressive and bright as a dark room.

    • Slimjim on

      Last time I’m responding to you. You come across as a thoroughly unlikeable, nasty keyboard warrior. Enjoy your rage sweats when he is picked for the weekend.

    • Ben F on

      Blake : Sorry this has upset you. All is not lost , you can still wear a Scotland jersey with pride at Murrayfield , jsut the same as him.

      The difference is :

      * He wont be paying for his.

      * His will get covered in blood , sweat and tears.

      Yours will be covered in !!!

  10. Blake Westwood on

    Cammy that’s like praising a guy for leaving his wife or 30 years for some 20 year old babe and then running back to his wife when his young girlfriend eventually gets bored of him. He showed how Scottish he felt when he was more than happy to play for England. I mean he’s 25 surely he should know by that stage if he feels more Scottish or English.

    Just a greedy greedy man and I for one will never support him. A disgrace.

    • Slimjim on

      Bet your a riot to sit next to at Murrayfield. The kinda guy who sneers at kids for cheering. Get some perspective.

      • Blake Westwood on

        Slimjim No I’m the one cheering like a child at Murrayfield. At the end of the day representing an international team has got to mean something to a player and being Scottish clearly means very little to Gary Graham.

        I don’t care if you were born here, brought up here, qualify by your granny or residency. If you are passionate about being Scottish that is all that matters. But this is a guy at 25 who turned his back on his country to try and get the big bucks from being an English player.
        Clearly cares very little about his country or Scottish rugby and the fact of the matter is we have far better back-row players. Wilson, Watson, Barclay, Bradburry, Ritchie, Strauss, Hardie and Fagerson are all far better players.

    • SlimJim on

      Barclay and Watson are up there but Graham is a far better player than any of those others you’ve listed. Perhaps the likes of Bradbury could be better later in their career but to say otherwise you are either blinded or know nothing about rugby, I’d guess the former. Either way your full of it.

  11. Old General on

    I don’t care what he said in the past (a Graham saying something impolitic? Pass me my fainting couch, I fear I have come over all giddy). The young man is clearly a warrior, and if he’s playing for us the he’ll be our warrior, joining a fine tradition of accents originating some distance south of Gretna.

    And as for those calling him a traitor? Away and knuckle yer fudge, ya bandits. Even Robert the Bruce, he who sent Proud Edward’s army homewards to ponder the wisdom of their Scottish occupation, changed his allegiance a couple of times before settling on Scotland, and that worked out all right. He even had an Englishman patrol the border for him…

  12. Fraser on

    Some truly unpleasant comments here – I would expect better from the rugby community.

    As far as I am concerned, I don’t really care how he got to the point of playing for Scotland, as long as once he does, he gives it everything and commits fully.

    Same goes for any of the rest of the players either not Scottish by parents, birth, country they are raised in or whatever!

    There are plenty of examples of the above that have probably not started off as feeling particularly Scottish, that have gone on to have great pride in the jersey and country and been incredible servants to Scottish rugby.

  13. JP07 on

    The other thing to consider for those doubting his Scottish commitment. By choosing to play for us, just as Sam Skinner has he has significantly reduced his market value and endangered his position in England. He will no longer be an EQP and therefore any English club who he plays for will get less cash for him. He is now worth less than an English qualified player in the same position. This impacts clubs salary cap and the room Newcastle May or may not have for him.

  14. Canterton on

    Good luck to him.

    He has made the right choice.

    He has my backing but more importantly that of Gregor Townsend.

  15. Stu2 on

    That’s some hyperbole in the headline.

    It dawned on him he wasnt going to play for England – Jones played him.

    He crawled back to Scotland and is lucky that there are loads of injuries.

    Nothing he has done is to be admired.

  16. Gary Graham Is God on

    It will be interesting to see the impact this may have going forward with potentially locking down dual qualified players early. It already felt like England were trying that with Redpath before his injury. Won’t do much to ease SRU/RFU relations. Most players who go through the English system who are dual qualified would go for England due to salaries and likelihood of trophies in the professional era so if England start capping like NZ try to to lock players in it won’t be good for us or all the players.

  17. Neil on

    Disgraceful comments for some of the bloggers defending Graham and even Toonie for that matter.

    The guy chose England but England didint want him.

    This sets a terrible example for youngsters coming up through the system that if they dont get there own way they can have a huff and try qualify for the English !

    Just know he would happily be smashing us at Twickenham if he was good enough to get into there squad this coming Six Nations.

    Some people have gotten a terrible taste for Power (Winning Test Matches) and care nothing for the culture and passion of representing your country.

    If i had the ability to play at that level and got approached by Scotland and England, i would rather die than show up for the enemy.

    Utterly disgraceful i stand by what i said. Filthy Traitor with no Honor.

    I hope Toony is just toying with him for stabbing us in the back.

    First time i have agreed with a Blake Westwood post.

    • SlimJim on

      I look forward to your boycot of the side and all comments while he is in the side. Worth selecting him for that alone.

      • Rosco on

        Neil, your very narrow minded and such hatred can’t be healthy for you BP. We live in a era where people can shop about. Each country is willing to be open and welcoming to players willing to play for them. Move with the times or be forever grumpy.

    • Ben F on

      Neil : I do think Blake and you have something in common.

      Answer : The shoes you stand in.

      PS : Talking about shoes, you need to walk a mile in someones shoes to understand them.

      You are clearly not walking in Gary Graham’s Shoes.

      Best of luck walking in Blake’s old bean.

    • Pickle Rucker on

      Feel free to meet him face to face and call him a filthy traitor. The only disgrace around here is you, pal.

  18. Scrummo on

    Some right bilge on here from the usual muppets.

    In professional rugby you’re only a concussion or a bad injury away from permanent, lasting mental and/or physical damage. Very few would turn down an opportunity to earn 20k+ a game if the opportunity comes up. A dozen caps for England would have transformed his family’s lives.

    Nationality is a far more complex issue than you evidently realise in any case. I’m sure Graham feels equally Scottish and English due to his upbringing and there is nothing wrong with that. He’ll put his body on the line for the dark blue jersey and that should be respected.

  19. Sotonsaltire on

    Find this a bit ridiculous. He tried out for England when not in the Scotland set up- so what. People don’t seem to bother when we pick players that have played under 20s for other nations- how dare they not commit to Scotland de novo.

    The jingosim of assuming that everyone loves Scotland is just that.

    Being a Scot who lived in England for 12 years, I can understand why you would maybe want to play for the your ‘local’ national team- it’s quite a nice place to live (unbelievable I know).The residency rule clearly needs reviewed but we (Scotland) are not really in a position to criticise that particular rule.

    What happens if, NZ have a massive injury crisis and need a 6/8 and Blade Thomson gets called up – do you think the Kiwis would bother that he almost played for Scotland?

    Hope Graham gets a game and does well. For what it is worth, I don’t think Ritchie, Bradbury and Fagerson are ready for the World Cup/6 nations. Who knows about Graham and Thomson.

    I will be surprised if everyone is fit not to see Wilson/Watson/Barclay against Ireland in the WC.

  20. Neil on

    Real scotland fans wont support this imposter from the south, Cammy you should be ashamed i have that title is a troll.

    • Sotonsaltire on

      What is your problem if he plays? I just don’t understand it. Can you please articulate why you are so upset about someone being selected for the country in which he was born, having not represented any other country at any level? Especially a country like ours that has so few players.

      Cammy-your article is a mature and measured assessment.

    • Frazer on

      I’m a real Scotland fan, and I would support the team even if it was entirely composed of players born outwith Scotland. The thistle on the jersey is more than just an individual.

      And as for “imposter”, he’s born in Scotland to Scottish parents which in my eyes makes him Scottish.

      I wish him well, we all make mistakes, some make more high profile ones than others, but it doesn’t make them fair game for abuse.

      • Pirate 4 on

        Agree. If he plays against England, minces Mario and Farrell, loops around Finn and scores the winning try at Twickers, everyone on the forum, including the haters, will cheer him.
        Scottish / English ? Who cares when he plays for Scotland.

  21. lookatthebigtiger on

    Great article from Mr Black, spot on. Don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to read the comments, sadly – some horrible stuff on here.

    As someone who, like Gary Graham and Cammy, has a foot in both camps (born in Scotland, Scottish dad, English mum, moved to England aged 15), I find rhetoric about “traitors” and “impostors from the south” extremely distasteful. As Cammy rightly says, identity is a complex thing. I’ve always supported Scotland and would never play for England if I was good enough to have the choice to make. Other people feel differently and I respect that.

    I bet there wouldn’t be nearly as much unpleasantness if Gary had decided to play for, say, Australia and then changed his mind. Guys, we’re not in the Wars of Independence anymore, we’re talking about rugby in 2018. Beating England is great, the rivalry is great but that should be it. Grow up.

    At the end of the day, Gary said some daft things when he was chosen to play for England, he’s now changed his mind, I’m delighted he wants to play for us and he seems like the kind of guy who’ll give his all. Great option to have and, to steal one of his quotes from his now infamous interview, I hope he gets picked on Sunday, “makes 1000 tackles and shoves it back in their faces.” Shame on the usual suspects and their weird obsession.

  22. Warks Scot on

    There must be countless examples of sporting apprentices learning their trade with one club, only for them not to be selected at the top level & have to seek a career elsewhere. Don’t think Rooney had a loyalty issue playing for Man U after being a die-hard Evertonian. I’m happy you can apply that principle at a national level & has probably happened before. We have a small enough player pool as it is so if he commits 100% once/if he pulls on the Scottish jersey, that’s another option in a competitive back-row which is fine by me. Here’s hoping that Redpath & Vellacott also err, simply change their minds.

  23. Ben F on

    The man is a true border reiver, goes where he is best served. We have been doing it for centuries. What a load of pi*h and wind about nothing.

  24. Saltire62 on

    Great article Cammy although wish I hadn’t read the comments some of which are pathetic – only a troll could use the word traitor in relation to a game of rugby fgs.
    I was at Murrayfield on Saturday and will be there again for the next 2 games and if Gary get game time he will be cheered on like the rest of the team. If he is half as committed in the dark blue as his old man was that’s good enough for me.

  25. Ben F on

    As I recal Big Jim (Hamilton ), was born and raised in Coventry. When he retired, wrote to us, he thanked Scottish Rugby for what it did for him and what it meant to play for Scotland.

  26. Neil on

    To be clear, i have no issues with people from england or players in the EPL, My issue is that this person chose the Rose ahead of the Thistle, why on earth is it ok especially so soon after that he is welcomed with open arms to the ppl on the blog.

    Other “Foreign players” who are now playing for Scotland did not snub us first before joining, as soon as they were reached out to Hardie, Maitland etc they joined instantly there was no hesitation.

    At the very very least a public apology from him.

    How can his future scotland teammates trust him and back him if they dont know if he is fully committed to us.

    If he is not selected in our autumn games and then gets approached by Eddie Jones for the Six Nations, i would not be surprised if he took it.

    • Ben F on

      Were Hardie or Maitland England Qualified ? They were never going to be All Blacks. Bad argument .

      I smell something !!!

  27. Neil on

    And for those saying he chose England for the money to support his family …

    He is a top professional rugby player, he wont be struggling for cash.

    Some people make it sound like anyone who does not play in France or is a top star in the EPL are poor .

  28. Monstermunch202 on

    Pretty sure he knows what a square sausage is and won’t be asking why the man of the match award is vitamin T frozen in Carbonite. Good enough for me.

  29. Alanyst on

    Changing tack, nice to see Toonie gathering in some lost sheep, fixing the thing with Strauss (at least enough to pick him) and getting Graham on board…still a shame about Visser, and hopefully Hardie is not lost.

    I think the squad will be better off for their inclusion….we can’t afford to have people on the outer due to personalities or perceived wrongs

  30. Busy Little Bee on

    He’s trying to cash in on his talent and who can blame him – Hogg is doing the same in leaving Scotland. If some some people can’t handle that then tough.

    Some of our best players have been non-Scots. Lineen, Skinner, John Leslie, Dan Parks, Hamish Watson.

  31. NilByMouth on

    I think it is clear that the vitriol posted by certain members of the fan base are motivated by other prejudices under the facade of sporting loyalty. As the rants have become more egregious they have let their masks slip. Some truly shameful stuff on here. I hope Graham plays a blinder this weekend as I am sure he will be selected and I wait in eager anticipation of the silence from those pathetic voices.

  32. Not rocket science on

    All a bit silly, sport is only ever as important as we choose to make it. Nationalism in the context of sport, give me a break. Hope Redpath changes too. If they can be brought into the side harmoniously – absolutely no reason to think otherwise. The adults on here with a bit of life experience likely feel differently about this that than kids still in school. Luckily, I doubt Graham is reading the blog or pinning his esteem on it. Bottom line, as everyone knows, the only people worth saving vitriol for are Warren Gatland and Craig Joubert.

    • FF on

      According to matt taylor Vellacott is in dialogue with Toonie too (currently an england apprentice I think). He is at the end of his Gloucester contract so perhaps an Edinburgh move is in the offing? Other rumours have him going to wasps though.

      Redpath really would be a coup but hard to see Eddie letting him go if he’s as good as everyone says. Cap in summer tour following RWC likely I’d have thought. Maybe Glasgow can offer him a generous deal?

      • Not rocket science on

        If he’s good enough, a bit of the Hogg money for two years would be an investment in the national team for the rest of his career!

      • JP07 on

        Redpath would be a wonderful coup. He would have been capped if not for injury so a lot can happen with Englands pecking order in that time. I think Vellacot would be a great addition. Greig may not be around post world cup so having 3 very good 9’s (sorry Pyrgos) would be great. I think Vellacot has the making of an excellent player.

  33. 1.8T on

    I don’t have much of a problem with it, as long as he commits and tries his best on the park then best of luck to him. It’s more the eligibility rules I have an issue with. I am a little uncomfortable about seemingly being able to chop and change what country you want to play for. I understand the guy just wants to play international rugby and has been mucked about a bit by both Scotland and England but for people with multiple elegibilities I think there does need to be a certain amount of “nailing your colours to the mast” at some point. Actually being in an England squad is possibly a little too far for me.

    At the end of the day, rules are rules, he’s Scottish and therefore eligible for Scotland, he wants to play for Scotland, he’s a by all accounts good player and we would be foolish to turn him away.

    • SlimJim on

      Agree it needs tightening up. I have no issues with it though. Can of worms here for the trolls (eat them up) but I would make the rules
      3 year residency
      Parents/Grandparents
      1 full cap only (7s dont count, U20, A teams etc dont count)
      I would also allow Tier 1 players to play for a Tier 2 or 3 country of birth after a 4 year gap of international appearances for their adopted nation.

      you cant tie someone based upon a call up to a squad, otherwise Eddie would just call up everyone who may be a flight risk to a massive squad as would NZ.

      EDITED FOR NEEDLESS ANTAGONISM

      • SlimJim on

        Perhaps tighter was the wrong way of phrasing it, more transparent. There is too much confusion at the moment around whether the 7s side is a capture team or is it the under 20s or if there isnt an u20’s for a specific team then what is the capture team.

  34. Dave McIntosh on

    I suspect that those guilty of it would never have the self-awareness to see the comparison, but the abusive comments towards Graham here remind me most of the hate spouted by little Englanders still abusing Andy Murray for making an “Anyone but England” joke when he was 22. I think those people are humourless, small-minded idiots and I’m willing to extend the characterisation to the sort who will call Graham a traitor. I’m delighted he has joined the squad, and anxious to get him in a Scotland shirt.

    Looking at the current squad Dell, Nel, Grigg, Skinner, H Jones, Strauss, Maitland, Toolis – they’d all have turned out for another country in preference to Scotland if they had been asked first. So most of the anger seems to revolve around the comments made in a Daily Mail interview.

    If what is really getting you wound up is something you’ve read quoted in the Daily Mail then congratulations.- you really are 90% of the way to being a provincial little Englander. Perhaps you might get a call up?

  35. Rody on

    Brilliant post. Took some time for Graham to step over his shadow, I suppose. And I really think he is aware of the fact criticism might come his way… but he is doing it! Wonder what the negative ones will have to say when Greig converts Graham’s winning try.

    Looking forward to the match!

  36. Ade on

    Good blog piece Cammy.

    As a Scot living in England, with 2 sports mad kids with a Scottish father and English mother I think it is quite disgraceful to make repeated comments along the lines of “traitor” and “the enemy”. If either of my kids were talented enough to be considered for International selection then I would support their choice.

    And if they changed their mind I would still support their choice. It is only common decency to extend that support to others.

    Gary Graham appears to be a pretty handy player. Despite apparent depth in the back row Scotland still have relatively shallow resources compared to other nations. He is qualified, so he can play. If he plays he will get my full support.

    If you cannot support one player in the squad then it suggests you are not actually a supporter of the team, just a narrow minded bigot who doesn’t respect the fact that this is, in the end, only a game played on a park.

    Get over yourselves.

    • NilByMooth on

      Here here! Im in the same boat. Im an exile, kids are English. Very much support Scotland (may change once they get a bit older and school peer pressure kicks in) but they are being raised with their Scottish heritage front and centre. They may never live in Scotland, they wont ever speak with my accent but I believe they will feel Scottish. Are they committing treason against England or Scotland in that scenario? Or if they go through English age grades which they hypothetically will because thats where they are, an English rose on are they “filthy traitors”?

      • Stuart MCNee on

        Exactly right for many of our children as my son has played falcons academy and gone through age grade down here. He was born here, but would have free choice if chosen. But believe me gets quite upset when Scotland lose!

      • Pirate 4 on

        Agree. My daughter was born in South Africa. Try telling her she isn’t Scottish.
        Glasgow kiss comes to mind.

    • Virverax on

      As a Scot , with kids who played age group rugby in England and with at least one other cousin in the same boat – I couldn’t agree more. Some of the posts here are frightening.
      Spot on article.

  37. Sandy Smith on

    Pierre Schoeman said when he signed for Edinburgh that he still hopes to play for South Africa but wouldn’t rule out playing for Scotland – no issue for me.
    Any number of kilted kiwis have turned out for Scotland that i’m sure would have preferred if they could have made it as All Blacks – no issue for me.
    I accept that nationality for many is fluid and certainly WRU rules on eligibility back that up again no issue for me.
    What I do have issue with is, not that it matters a damn, is when someone doesn’t get what they want and quite publicly throw their toys out of the pram. You can dismiss the medium by which the toy throwing was done all you like and The Daily Mail is an odious publication but these were quotes and no one is denying their veracity.
    That kind of petulance speaks of character. Any number of players have faced similar choices and have treated the choice like many have suggested is merely a business decision and been circumspect enough to clamp it when asked about the choice not taken or offered realising that its probably wise not to burn your bridges. So it also says a wee bit about intelligence.
    Also an issue for me is the ‘loyalty is for fans’ phrase I keep seeing in relation to this. It’s said in a way that seems intended as a criticism, that we are naive to expect that playing for your country should actually mean something more than just making a selection based on who pays the highest wages like you are deciding whether to work for The Times or The Scotsman.
    Anyway, welcome Gary, now do your best to prove the doubters, including me, wrong.

    • EricF on

      Is this the same Daily Mail article where Graham senior called Gary a “f**cking turncoat” and told him to “Get out of my f**cking house!”? Unless I’ve missed something this was just a report of dad and son winding each other up at the prospect of Gary’s call up to the England squad. Hardly a situation to judge the “veracity” of the quotes, any more than Andy Murray’s “anybody but England” remarks which were no more than a bit of jousting with his good pal Tim Henman. It’s far too easy to get overly worked up about all this stuff. I’m not denying that Gary Graham has a bit of attitude – good! Hopefully now he wants to make 1,000 tackles against England and shove it in their face! He could start his build-up with South Africa this weekend!

  38. Scrummo on

    Dell SA

    Nel SA
    Skinner Eng
    Toolis Aus
    Wilson Eng
    Watson Eng
    Strauss SA
    Price Eng
    Lang Eng/Wal
    Maitland NZ
    Grigg NZ
    Jones SA
    Seymour US/Ire
    McGuigan Nam

    Allan Eng
    Berghan NZ
    Harley Eng
    Denton Zim
    Pyrgos Eng
    Johnson Aus
    Harris Eng

    And people have a problem with Gary Graham… Nice to see we don’t import hookers (or 10s) though. Not trying to start a discussion here over who is more or less Scottish but lets just get behind the team as they all give everything for the jersey.

      • Scrummo on

        I’ll post where I please. And I know full well where he was born. I don’t believe there was any reference made to place of birth mentioned specifically? In fact I think you’ve missed the point altogether.

      • TeamCam on

        You don’t think this post is more suited to the article about Graham, given that it’s essentially about Graham? And with the exception of the / players, all the countries listed are the birthplaces of the players, and in the case of the / players, one of the countries is. So if you’re making a different point, you might want to do so more effectively.

  39. readingjock on

    Sorry I am not aware of the exact terms of the agreement the RFU (who are supposed to run Rugby in England) have with the Premiership Clubs (Who do run English Rugby.)
    But for people like Sam Skinner and Gary Graham to declare for Scotland means (as I understand it) that their clubs will receive less money from the RFU as they are not any longer English Qualified players .
    This means, I presume it is less likely their clubs will offer them contract extensions or wage rises if there is an English qualified player of a similar standard
    for whom the club are paid by the RFU.

    So from His perspective he has taken the decision to negatively affect his earnings and potential value in his profession to play for Scotland .
    Perhaps not as mercenary as first suggested ?

  40. Scott M on

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned but I believe both Nel and Strauss were both involved in Springbok training camps back in 2012 before making the jump over to Scotland. Clearly we were there 2nd choice then? Nobodies questioning there commitment to the squad!

    • Neil on

      They didint start saying they would love to smash us though did they, they are respectful players, Graham is a thug with no class.

      And they did not qualify for Scotland when in the SA camps so they could not have turned us down.

      • Scott M on

        Graham never turned Toonie down, Toonie never picked him! And as for the comments, I think most reasonable people are in agreement that it was a bit of banter between Father and Son. Unless you truly believe George thinks his son is a turncoat b****** who he was throwing out of his house!

        You (or I for that matter) have never been in a position to represent our country at any sport. So we don’t know what you’d think when somebody comes calling. Gary might have thought his goose was cooked as a potential Scotland Player, was he to turn down the chance of playing at the highest level just because it wasn’t for his first choice team? If both had invited him to the squad at the same time then I could understand your anger but they did and we didn’t.

  41. Bob on

    Neil I bet you wouldn’t say that to Garys face or any the rest of his family’s!!! I know gary and his family through rugby and they sure didnt bring up thugs idiot ,Get a life
    !!! Must be great hiding behind a computer !!

    EDITED – RULE#1

    • Neil on

      Dont care what you say Bob your all hot air.

      Just because you disagree with me does not make me an idiot or have no life.

      A poor response from you but not supring coming from somone who apparently knows Gary on a quality but small blog.

      and i take nothing away from the other family members of Graham, those people i do respect.

      Keep being a hater without any context.

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