Day 363 in the Big Brother house.
Or at least that’s what it feels like. I’m grateful that I can work, but I expect like most of you I’m missing the oval ball enormously.
Incidentally, you can bemoan the fact that there’s no rugby and recognise there are more important things to worry about. Those thoughts are not incompatible.
Despite the lack of actual games there has been some rugby news so here’s a brief roundup of everything (maybe) that’s been going on. You may have read some of it already, but worst case scenario it gives you, our dear readers, a platform for a conversation should they wish it.
Edinburgh have stated that 9 players will leave the club at the end of the season. John Barclay’s departure has been well documented with injury and heavy competition affecting his game time.
Of the others perhaps only the announcement that Matt Scott has signed for Leicester Tigers will have raised any eyebrows. My information is that Scott was (inexplicably) not offered a new contract and I think that is borne out by the fact that there had been no official chat about him re-signing, whereas Simon Hickey’s contract status was discussed openly in press briefings by Richard Cockerill.
The other leavers are Stan South, Sam Thomson, Dougie Fife, Cammy Fenton, Jason Baggott and Pietro Ceccarelli who is off to Brive.
Just before the world fell off a cliff Edinburgh secured the signature of Fijian prop Lee-Roy Atalifo and have this week announced that they have secured the services of Australian backs Jono Lance (standoff/fullback) from Worcester Warriors and Matt Gordon (centre) from London Scottish for the new season. There are strong rumours that Sale hooker and U20s cap Ewan Ashman will be another signatory.
Keep an eye out for an article dedicated to John Barclay from Iain Hay in the not too distant future.
It was only back February, but in all the fun you may have forgotten that Glasgow signed Argentinian Tighthead Enrique Pieretto from Exeter Chiefs.
Since then Glasgow have announced that Nick Frisby as well as Siu Halanukonuka will leave the club at seasons end which probably won’t surprise many, albeit that the Nuke still had a year of his contract to run.
In addition Warriors have announced that DTH Van Der Merwe will also be leaving the club and that will fuel the rumours of a return for Sean Maitland.
There are a further 10 or so out of contract at the conclusion of this season with a change of management at Scotstoun undoubtedly complicating things more than lockdown already has.
SRU officials have all now agreed to significant salary reductions. Those reductions extend to anyone within the umbrella organisation earning more than 50K and that is a welcome if somewhat tardy gesture.
Colin Grassie has resigned as chairman of the SRU board and is due to step down at the AGM In August.
Ian Barr who is due to succeed Dee Bradbury as president has been added to the SRU board ahead of that succession.
In the smoke filled rooms however, the machinations behind the structure of the organisation continue, and to paraphrase War of The Worlds – minds immeasurably superior to mine – will be required to get to the bottom of everything that is going on with that. If you want to dive into that minefield then The Offside Line would be the best place to inform yourself.
The big bun fight for Chairmanship of World Rugby between Sir Bill Beaumont and Gus Pichot has begun in earnest in the last few days. Unions across the world are understandably falling into line behind the man they think will serve their interest best. The winner in this England v Argentina match up, or should that be Northern hemisphere v Southern hemisphere, will be announced on May 12, 2020.
The French Rugby league organisation (LNR) have announced that this year’s Top 14 and D2 leagues are now officially cancelled. This decision is expected to be ratified shortly. They have yet to decide if anyone will be named champions.
The implications of this decision in European rugby as well as league structure in France may well inform decisions closer to home in due course.