Scottish Rugby Blog

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Ford to leave Edinburgh; Rennie signs new deal

Ross Ford try
Ross Ford scores for Edinburgh. He got the ball down, honest - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

While they boosted the strength of their squad considerably in recent weeks, we know Richard Cockerill isn’t one for sentiment when it comes to cutting players loose. Today Edinburgh announced that the following players will be leaving at the end of the season:

Allan Dell (London Irish)
22 Scotland caps; 59 Edinburgh appearances; 3 tries
London Irish are splashing the cash in anticipation that they’ll need a strong squad to stay up if they get promoted back to the Premiership. Signing Dell has meant, ironically, that Gordy Reid could be without a club in a few weeks and he’s rumoured to be keen for a return north. Edinburgh have already signed Jamie Bhatti as loosehead cover.

Nathan Fowles (Ealing Trailfinders)
71 Edinburgh appearances; 48 points
Now replaced by Charlie Shiel as the backup to Pyrgos.

Senitiki Nayalo (Coventry)
3 Edinburgh appearances
Hasn’t made an impact and isn’t likely to with the back row riches Edinburgh have. Cockers will be hoping for more from the new batch of Fijians he’s signed.

Ross Ford
1 British & Irish Lions appearance; 110 Scotland caps; 197 Edinburgh appearances; 12 tries
A club stalwart but hasn’t had a look in since Stuart McInally bloomed under Cockerill’s tutelage. Just a shame he didn’t get the same sort of coaching earlier in his career. Rumours of interest from French D2 which could be a nice contribution to the pension and few would wish him anything less.

Tom Brown
1 Scotland cap; 118 Edinburgh appearances; 20 tries
Has struggled badly with injuries in recent years but his contribution to Edinburgh when fit reached well over 100 appearances.

Sean Kennedy
66 Edinburgh appearances; 3 tries
Has had few appearances this season. Edinburgh will need at least one more scrum half in the squad which strengthens the case for a Finlay Christie type to come in.

Luke Hamilton
3 Scotland caps; 13 Edinburgh appearances
A former Leicester player, Cockerill brought him in to fill a short term skills gap on a one year deal. With Barclay fit and the youngsters set to push him hard next year, it makes sense for Luke to seek gametime elsewhere.

UPDATE 10/4: Interesting update from TheOffsideLine which has more information on Luke Hamilton (declined a new deal) and that a “senior” scrum half is inbound. Reports from SA suggest that could be former Northampton and Lions man Nic Groom.

Rennie signs contract extension

Dave Rennie
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach, Dave Rennie – pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

From the other end of the M8, Glasgow’s big signing news is a contract extension for Dave Rennie that will see him at the club until 2020.

We didn’t quite get to where we wanted last season, but we’ve got a better side this season and I think the squad we’re building will be even better next season and I’m really keen to be a part of that. 

Dave Rennie

It allows him to continue the development of younger talents that seems to be at the core of his plans, with Adam Hastings, George Horne, Stafford McDowall and Grant Stewart all pushing through towards the top level of the game.

UPDATE: 10/4: Next season there will be five Scottish qualified props at Scotstoun aged 25 and under,  with the news that tighthead props Adam Nicol (21) and Charlie Capps (23) have signed deals for next season. Nicol extends his existing deal while Capps is a Scots qualified prop coming to Glasgow via Yorkshire Carnegie and SRU partner club Stade Nicois.

50 Responses

  1. I hope Ross gets a proper send off and he finds a nice pension pot filler in France – he still got at least another year of top rugby in him IMO.

    If Turner isn’t fully recovered I would love to see him go to his 4th RWC.

  2. I think Cockers will be hard pushed to find a better bench replacement than Ford for Rambo

  3. Sad that Cockers thinks Ford is surplus to requirements. Would’ve been good to see him finish his career at Edinburgh. Probably on a fair salary though and that’s too expensive for a backup hooker at the end of his career. Still think he’s our #3 hooker for the world cup – brings more to the party than Turner, Kerr or Cherry IMHO.

  4. I don’t see anything stating that it’s entirely down to cockers that Ford is leaving. Perhaps it’s mutual and very amicable? Ford maybe has decided that cashing in on a season or two in France is a better decision than being third choice at Edinburgh? Cherry has pleasantly surprised everyone, and fentons the future. Wouldn’t be surprised if fordys thinking Go out now with a great legacy and pick up a well deserved paycheck in the South of France.

  5. Ford is made of the right stuff, true border boy, he should be retained at Edinburgh.

  6. Presumably down to budget, Ford didn’t wanna take the inevitable reduced salary offer. Same situation as guys like Hardie and SHC I imagine. I’d trust Cockerill’s judgement. The budget is limited and retaining the talented young boys must be the priority. Imagine the new Fijians and Saffer hooker are coming in on lesser deals..surely.

  7. Anyone else think Greig Laidlaw will be joining Edinburgh. Imagine it will be in a playing capacity with an eye on coaching/development of young players.

    1. Think it is Ben Youngs. Cockers knows him from Leicester and they are going down this season.
      Only kidding…

    1. It’s Nic Groom. A few of his countrymen are exceptionally bad at keeping this stuff to themselves, or more specifically a few of his countrymen’s relatives are bad at keeping this to themselves and seem to be posting it everywhere.

      1. FFS. At the end of the RWC we will only have 2 SQ scrum halves of test quality and even then only one of them will have had a decent number of games under their belt.

        Why are we importing journeymen pros from the southern hemi. Our young scrum halves need games time for our pro sides or they will never make the step up.

      2. Definitely a risk with a position like SH you can end up with a dearth of top end talent and imports blocking the youth from changing the situation.

        We’ve had the same in the past with other specialised positions like hooker (when Ford was the only international class option) and stand off before Russell’s emergence and Hastings coming through having gone some way to masking the lack of depth.

        Always the risk with 2 pro teams but if it could quickly change, an injury to Price, Horne or Laidlaw could see Pyrgos called up and Shiel getting gametime at the start of next season. Similarly Barreto should be sharing game time with Frisby at the start of next season. Both could make an impression and look the part.

      3. Yeah we still have a chronic lack of depth at FH even if the top 2 are very good.

        Less concerned about SH as we have some good players coming through. Not so confident about FH.

      4. I think that’s a bit of an overreaction Stu2. How many international scrum-halves do you want?
        If Charlie Shiel isn’t good enough to oust either Pyrgos or a “journeyman pro from the southern hemi”, then he isn’t good enough to play for Scotland.
        He should get ample chance to play for Edinburgh next season, with Kennedy and Fowles both gone.
        As for post RWC, with Price and Horne we will have two international class SHs with World Cup experience and both could still be there for the next WC in 2023. For backup, SHC is still only 25 and may come back from the cold.

      5. Shiel is a first year pro – you’re writing him off if he doesn’t become first choice next year?

        No I dont think 2 SHs are enough – we need to get out of the mindset of the past – we need 3/4 players competing for the position. One pre match injury and one in game injury and we’d have a SH who spends most of their time on the club bench playing for Scotland.

        Embra need a scrum half – at least make sure he’s SQ.

      6. Most countries have a chronic lack of depth at 10 – with the exception of NZ I cant think of anyone else over endowed with test 10s – France dont even have one.

      7. Stu2 –

        Wales: Anscombe, Biggar, Patchell, Priestland who are all good enough for test rugby. I’d add Jarrod Evans who will come through to challenge soon enough.

        England: Farrell, Ford, Danny Cipriani are all very high quality and there are young guys coming through like Joe Simmonds and Marcus Smith.

        Ireland: Sexton, Carbery, are top quality, Jack Carty is a solid test level player. Jackson very good if he is ever let back into the fold. Ross Byrne good enough to play at test level too if he gets a chance given competition. JJ Hanrahan ok too.

        France: ok only Camille Lopez is really good enough and he isn’t entirely convincing but they have a lot of competition among young guys Ntamack, Belleau, Jalibert are all highly skilled players getting a lot of Top14 experience.

        So yes, Scotland’s fly half shortage is much more chronic than our rivals. We have a word class fly half, a very green but talented back up then a converted centre and a player long since discarded as not good enough and the wrong style.

  8. A senior SH rules out Christie then – that’s a shame. Hope it doesn’t mean Laidlaw.

    SH is one position we should not be importing non SQ players for.

  9. Seriously FF?
    Thank you for the analysis but you have basically scuppered your own conclusion.
    Apart from Wales, you have said that all the other Northern Hemisphere big guns are in the same position as Scotland – one or two “tested” test players and a few youngsters.
    England – Cips has been “discarded as not good enough and wrong style”. Simmonds and Smith are as untested as our Ross Thompson and Nathan Chamberlain.
    Ireland – Carty/Byrne? seriously international class? And wee Dunc is superior to JJ Hanrahan and much more experienced.
    France – yes they MAY have an international class FH amongst that lot, but we already have two better, and will be playing and gaining experience whilst Brunel figures out which one suits him.
    I’m not saying we should rest on our laurels, but it’s a long time since we’ve had a world class fly-half and a half-decent backup, never mind a 3rd and 4th. Your pessimism is true Scots!

    1. Sorry, I don’t agree. Don’t think anyone is saying Cipriani isn’t good enough or plays the wrong style for Jones. He has been capped as recently as the SA tour and would be recalled if they had an injury crisis. Jones doesn’t like his attitude but he can still excel at test level. Simmonds is FH for Exeter who are the second best team in England and is already capped with plenty of European experience. Smith is already capped and plays senior rugby. Nonsense to compare a couple of academy players to those two.

      Carty and Byrne are both very good players and would have plenty of caps if they were Scottish. They are very decent back ups. Carbery moves from Leinster because Byrne was being selected ahead of him at FH.

      Duncan weir seems to get better the longer he is out of a Scotland shirt. He’d never have been capped by any other 6N team bar Italy (Pete Horne at FH either for that matter). He was pretty poor for Scotland in the majority of games he played.

      I’ll give you France. I just meant that the issue in France isn’t talent it is the toxic culture of the national team. They have no end of talented young players in every position.

      It is laughable you think we don’t have worse depth at FH than our rivals. I doubt most fans would have confidence in hastings stepping up if Russell got injured, which is fair enough given his limited experience. Our RWC would be truly f*** if Russell got injured.

      1. No other team is as reliant on their first choice 10 as us. FF has it right. There can’t be more than half a dozen Scottish stand offs who even have professional contracts. Russell, Hastings, Weir, Lang and Horne (a centre) and is Baggott SQ? That’s dreadful depth.

        Laughable to compare our two under 20 players without a senior appearance between them to Simmonds and Smith who actually play regularly for Premiership clubs.

      2. Also highlights the need to persuade Redpath Jnr to listen to his Dad and hopefully ply his trade north of the border.

      3. Scrummo you left out Brandon Thompson who has impressed this season & Jackson (admittedly its been a while but still his favoured position)

      4. Don’t think Thomson is Scots qualified Neil unfortunately due to South Africa under 20 caps whilst they were nominated second side.

        Jackson makes it 6 then, as much a fly half as Horne. Shame Eastgate dropped away, he looked a prospect.

      5. Surprised Eastgate isn’t at a better club than Plymouth. I wonder if he was offered anything up here? Let’s hope we have more luck with Henderson and Thompson.

        Jackson’s time has been and gone and when it was his time he wasn’t good enough to displace Dan Parks. He’s better at full-back and a fringe squad player is probably about right. Again, I like him as a player but no other 6N team bar Italy would have capped him.

      6. Disagree. I think we’re fine if we have 2/3: (1) Finn Russell fully fit, (2) Hogg fully fit, (3) first choice centre pairing fully fit (e.g. Johnson/Jones, Taylor/Jones, Dunbar/Jones). There’s give and take and we’re quite lucky at scrum half and on the wings at the moment. Assuming we’re not decimated up front. I could live with Price/Horne, Hastings, Maitland, Johnson, Jones, Graham, Kinghorn, Hogg. Assuming parity up front would give anyone a game

      7. We need SQ depth in all positions , that is common sense.

        But is it not obvious Edinburgh need a scrum half replacement of the right calibre now.

  10. Anyone got any insight into the Cruden story? I see Mark Palmer retweeted it today.

    Statement of intent but is he done?

    1. I dont think it can hurt to have a very experienced all black who can play 10 or 15 & will be available for the whole season & buys into Rennies leadership. Hopefully we get some powerful forwards though, this surely must be the priority.

      1. I’m disapponted that I have to spell it out, I don’t care how good a player he is, there should be no place in Scottish Rugby for someone with his opinions. I’d hope we would be better than that.

      2. I don’t care what he thinks about anything, and as long as his opinions remain opinions (i.e. they’re not acted upon), I’d be fine with seeing him play for Glasgow. I don’t have to agree with a player’s opinions for him to play for the team I support.

    1. Why would Glasgow want that gawd bothering bigot?

      Apart from him being good at rugby of course.

    2. Pretty sure it comes from a strong religious point of view which while i dont agree with can understand his position, he is one of the most professional players outwidth that & seems respectful in every other way.

      Just remove his social media etc & i would be happy to see him signed, never going to happen though unfortunately

    3. Teamcam “I don’t care what he thinks about anything”

      Really? Dont be so naive.

      If he’d said the same thing about Jewish or Black people to name two groups you would equally have no problem?

      1. Its clearly not the same thing Stu that is an incredibly stupid statement.

        This is not about race so dont associate it into this.

      2. Folau’s hate-filled mind makes him think that anyone who doesn’t agree with him should be condemned – his rant was not aimed solely at homosexuals. Right-minded people should make it clear to him that these opinions are wrong. Also, his employer told him loud and clear after the first time, don’t do this, but he obviously thinks his opinion is paramount.

      3. Whatever, Stu.

        Malky, I totally agree with you. His opinions are wrong, he was warned by his employer and he posted that stuff anyway. I’m just saying that he’s nearly as good as Hoggy, so he’d be a pretty good replacement. Of course he’ll go to France or NRL, but I think he’d do some real damage in a Rennie coached team.

      4. Anyone who quotes the bible as fact better not mind looking pretty foolish (at best) and downright scary at worst – I cant see any other way to derive it to say that if you believe one passage as fact then you have to believe all of it – essentially dogma. Needless to say that incudes Noah’s Ark, burning bush, the promotion of human slavery and servitude, the resurrection of Jerusalem after Jesus resurrection, etc, etc….. If Folau wants to live by the Christian principles of love and forgiveness and use the bible as a means of teaching then so be it (personally think its perverse) but as soon as he quotes it as fact he deserves derision, ridicule and the loss of privilage that comes with being an international sports star.

  11. Going back to the orignal article, lets hope Ross Ford has a stormer coming off the bench and scores the winning (bonus point) try against Ulster…
    Wishing him all the best for his future – love the Scotts Porage mash-up tweet.

  12. Is Jamie Ritchie Injured atm ? i know Barclay has returned but i thought he would be in the mix for the last couple of games based on performances.

    1. Don’t think he’s injured but with Watson, Mata, Barclay & Bradbury he can’t get in the 23. Embarrassment of riches for Cockerill. I’m sure he’ll return for the Glasgow game, allowing one of those a rest – it’s a brutal run-in for Edinburgh, needing to win both, really.

      1. Ritchie is still recovering from his injury in the 6N according to Cockers via the Offside Line today.

You might also like these:

Gregor Townsend has made three adjustments to the team for the upcoming Six Nations clash against England at Murrayfield.
Blair Kinghorn and Magnus Bradbury return to the Scotland squad which also has 100% more Mish.
Stuart got in touch to tell us about the alternative reality that Saturday's game forced him into. So here it is, the Six Nations Table where Scotland won. To be continued...
Rory takes a look back at the round two win against France that was, in fact, a loss. Or is it the other way around?

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion