Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland exiles will face France

Exiled Scotland players who are based at English Premiership clubs such as Stuart Hogg, Alex Craig and Chris Harris will be available for selection in this weekend’s Friday night match against France after an agreement has been reached.

Six Nations Rugby are pleased to confirm that an agreement has been reached with Premiership Rugby for the release of Scottish players for the final rescheduled fixture of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship, France v Scotland.

Six Nations and Scottish Rugby would like to take this opportunity to thank all PRL club owners for their understanding and co-operation in these exceptional Covid affected circumstances.

Six Nations Rugby Press Statement

No official word on who is footing any bill, though it is expected to be the Six Nations rather than the SRU directly who in an ideal world would be absolved from paying for a situation entirely of France’s making.

The French clubs agreed to release Finn Russell and their own players without protracted negotiations. You suspect the French union was keen to avoid too many torches being shone at the back of too many waffle houses on this one.

As squad update posted by the Scotland Twitter account revealed the updated player group for this weekend and there were several exiles omitted including Sean Maitland and Jonny Gray. Richie Gray is also absent with Sam Skinner retained in the squad.

Kevin will be back later in the week with his revised and reduxed match previews but for now, here’s his tweet with the permutations that will affect Scotland’s final position in the 2021 Six Nations table.

60 Responses

  1. Just a sidebar , but was reading the BBC website and the 6 nations table bears the footer “ France will win the 6 nations if they thump Scotland next Friday”
    While it might be correct , it’s a wee bit disrespectful, fill your boots and complain , given we can still come 2nd 3rd or 4th depending on the actual match score !

    Bah Humbug , it’s our job to belittle ourselves , sadly this is symptomatic of us not quite being taken seriously

    1. Aye bloomin right Grant I saw that too this afternoon. Someone ought to show the boys. I think this French team are being given too much of the thought they will even get a bonus point let alone a win against us. I have great belief we’re going to leave Paris with the win. Roll on Friday night!

    2. Especially as France were touted for the tournament yet we had the best defensive numbers for points against last Six Nations.

      *Checks the wins vs losses* yep, both 2 currently and Scotland’s were just as close as well! And we smashed Italy more than any other team this year and its barely mentioned other than ‘but its Italy’.

      Not sure how England ended up as the sorry story. Scotland are on the rise in comparison yet the news headlines were so negative for our narrow losses – see Tom English’s article after the Ireland loss.

      1. Good points Blinky, although arguably the Ireland match was the aberration in this campaign – Wales we should have and could have won, but Ireland was a minor miracle we were even in that at the end. I think given how tight the 6 Nations is these days, being within 4-5 points of a win in any game and hammering Italy to about the same level as everyone else needs to be the requisite standard in terms of results but I think the Ireland performance raised some ugly ghosts. I still think we’ll be underestimated on Friday which is ideal. If we can summon Calcutta Cup Scotland (without Redpath) France should get a fitting test to finish off.

    3. No. This is symptomatic of the way Scottish sport and in particular Scottish rugby is treated by the EBC . We are second class citizens and a irrelevance. I hope on Friday we beat the French .

  2. I see Galthie was mouthing off in his post match presser claiming Wales are specialists in getting players sent off. Whether that’s true or not he’s lowering himself to sound like a moaning Premier League football manager like Mourinho and has no right to say such things after he broke COVID protocols. I really hope we stick one on them on Friday night.

  3. It’ll be interesting to see how many England players get picked for the Lions. We know Gatland only wants players who can win away from home and England lost all of their away games in this 6N. I see Walesonline are predicting that Russell and Duhan will miss out while Farrell, Biggar and Johnny May will likely get selected.

  4. Strange to see Maitland omitted as hes been one of our better players in this comp.

    1. I suspect that with saracens now being a championship club they are perhaps not included in any deal and therefore do not have to release? But purely speculation on my part

      1. Yeah I’ve also since read that is the case. Shame… I think we will need him come Friday night.

    2. Maitland is either injured, has had words with Toony (he didn’t look happy at being subbed on Sunday), or Toony has, ahem, flipped.

      1. I agree, really hope Maitland hasnt fallen out with Toony as he’s been a good and consistent performer for Scotland. The look when he came off was almost saying thats me done.

  5. Looking at the permutations, we have to pick an attacking side for this one as a bp win or 8 points+ is vital.
    Huw Jones to start with Harris on the bench so if we get the points on the board he can shore up the defence towards the end (where we have leaked a lot of important points recently).

    Not sure why Maitland is dropped if he isn’t injured and is available? Guess we are going with 9/10/centre on the bench so there isn’t a spot for him.

    1. Agree completely Fraser. Jones has to start, we have to come out and play some attacking rugby. Would love Gatland to get another look at Jones, even if he doesn’t stand a chance of selection. (Shame because someone like Jones would grow hugely as a player from a Lions tour, he’s a quick learner I reckon) Hogg and the Mish could sadly be our only Lions….

      1. I love mish and would always pick him but I’m not certain he’ll tour let alone get a test place.

        Curry and Tipuric are almost certain picks, Hamish doesn’t jump in the line out and can’t play 6 or 8. So, given that only 6 backrow may be selected in a squad of 35/36 that means he’s got a battle to get in – possibly needs to be first choice or not at all.

        Backrow going to include Faletau, Stander, Curry, Tipuric as likely tourists, doesn’t leave much space for Watson.

      2. Curry has been fairly poor this tournament, so it would be hard to take him ahead of Mish, who has been very good. Not saying he won’t, obviously – burned too many times!

      3. Well quite Matto – I think Mish is playing well enough to be first choice but Tipuric is Welsh and a previous tourist and Curry is in almost every pundits Lions team and team of the tournament regardless of his actual form.

    2. Also delighted to see Huw get a start and hope he is selected again. However, I think if we win by 5 points then we’ll go ahead of Ireland (we’d be drawn on tournament points, drawn on points difference, but we currently have 4 more tries). If we win by seven (depriving France of any bp) then we’d go ahead of them as well (drawn on tournament points, ahead on points difference).
      It highlights the frustration of this tournament that we are points baw hairs away from a completely different outcome. It also shows that as much as France will be huge favourites, we have had very similar tournaments having played all of the same teams and scored, and conceded, exactly the same number of tries.

  6. Any news on Redpath? So impressive on debut it’s a real shame we haven’t seen him since.

  7. France know they have to score a barrowload of points to stand a chance of winning, so they will come out at Scotland full on. Probably the only way to beat France is to be as full on as they will and scrap for everything. France are a good team but they aren’t the awe inspiring worldbeaters everyone seems to think. We’ve had poor games against Ireland and Wales but were still well capable of winning right to the death. Scotland should take some positive from that. I’d play Jones from the start and give France something to worry about, rather than Harris. Play Harris when you are in front and want to defend. We have nothing to lose, no one expects us to win, all Scotland are playing for is pride and to stick one up the whiners, the worst we can be is 4th the best 2nd, a meaningless fixture. Sounds like just the sort of game for Scotland to batter France so the pundits can say why didn’t they play like that against Wales and Ireland.

  8. Maitland not in squad as discussed in posts above but Rufus McLean is in the squad. Is this the best game to have the youngster in the squad?

    1. You’d think that it would take injuries for any of Dobie, McLean or JVDW to come in to the match day 23 – Hastings covering 10/15 from bench with whoever doesn’t start out of Jones and Harris covering centres and wing.

      If someone does pull out then it’s not a bad thing to have a form player with bags of potential getting a bit of experience!

      If anyone reading this hasn’t seen his try from the weekend I strongly suggest they check it out immediately!

  9. Alasdair Reid of the Times says deal to release English players capped at 5. So no room for Maitland.

    Which is clearly a crock of sh!?

  10. apparently there was a quota on how many English-based players were allowed to play and Maitland was the casualty

    1. Surely an injured J Gray would have been a better casualty. That would be very disappointing if we had such a restriction and couldn’t access all of our players.

    2. If that’s true then we’ve been deprived of someone who was odds-on to start the match , and who would have started against France had their coach and players not breached the C-19 rules and caused the match to be postponed.

      It’s tough enough playing France at the best of times without being denied a level playing field, so to speak.

      1. I hadn’t appreciated we’ve been limited to a quota of our players. Which as it was the fault of the french in the first place is an absolute travesty!

        Is that all we’re worth to six nations, 5 players? Pretty cheap on their part. I would have hoped they would have made the french put their hands in their pockets for the rest of our players. Seems a joke we get shafted and the french get away unpunished.

        Hopefully this adds a bit of extra motivation for the boys!

      2. And Maitland goes from playing in the ultimate 6N game at SDF, to playing at Richmond instead.

      3. And I haven’t heard any comment about it on the EBC! No surprise there. But, if it had been another country …..

  11. Two hoots to them all The French, The english, the BBC and whoever else to be quite honest. Its all a total disrespect to us as a nation and as people. Some of this I hope is being used as fuel by the boys. As small in margins that it may effect Friday more the reason to go show all folk who the hell we are and really what we are really about. At the end of the 80 minutes it will be small margins that may well win the game. Politically this game gives us an opportunity to put some in their place. What better opportunity. COME ON SCOTLAND!!

  12. Ridiculous situation and one the SRU would be well within their rights to have a PR disaster of a law suit….over!

    There is no way ENG IRE or Wal or FRA for that matter would take this and even more so they wouldn’t have too either given both their setups and their standing. just wouldn’t happen to sides outwith SCO and ITA

    1. The crude argument is that they wouldn’t need to because they have selection policies which prohibit selecting players not playing in their own nation….

      1. Depending on caps. Wales could easily have been in a similar situation… LRZ, Faletau, Francis, Biggar, Sheedy, Rowlands….

    1. Some of the ref calls haven’t helped much there either…and I’m not saying close calls or red cards…TMO decisions (which have time so should be 100%) and some crazy game management

  13. I really don’t understand this agreement with the premiership – it’s such an arbitrary number and affects different clubs in different ways anyway (e.g. Exeter releasing 2 players, could’ve been 3, yet most clubs will release no-one) – what is the thinking behind that? I can’t figure out the benefit to PR as a body whether it’s 5, 6 or 10? Sure just the individual clubs would have complained – I could have understood if it was 1 player per team or something along those lines. Losing Maitland is a blow – I’d have left out Steele to be honest, decent as he’s been – we have other SH’s who could have come in, but no-one else who does what Maitland does. IMHO.

      1. Yeah that is really confusing especially when Richie helps line out hugely…I dont understand that call

      2. Yup, and that would have created space for Maitland, who deserves to have started against France on Friday.

    1. It’s just about money, the clubs would have said you can have the players released but here’s the cost per player. Then who ever was picking up the bill, presumably either FFR or 6N would have said well we’re only going to pay a maximum of X amount so SRU you can have 5 players. But the fact remains the competition has therefore not been competed on a level playing field for all teams and should be null and void. France, despite being the cause of the issue will be the main beneficiary but Ireland could also benefit as we could still overtake them in the table and earn more prize money.

      1. I’m sure Wales would happily chip in £10k or whatever it costs to release Maitland.
        Yet another example where little unpopular Scotland get shafted by the authorities and have to lie back and take it.

  14. Why is Chris Harris in the squad at all? He can’t break the line. Mark Bennett should be in for Harris.

      1. You definitely do win games by defending.

        You haven’t been paying attention if you can’t see how Harris has proved his worth over the last year.

    1. You’ll have to try harder! You tell Tyson Fury to just defend against AJ , or vice versa! The defender will lose , simple! If you tell AJ or Tyson Fury to go out and attack then we’ve got a good matchup

      1. Fury would be a good lock.

        Harris is no bad but offers little in attack any overall and nothing that any other decent 13 doesn’t offer.

        Jones can be unplayable & quite simply Scotland cannot afford to have him anywhere but starting, any defensive issues have beat vastly overstated.

        Mystifying that Maitland left out, he’s pure class, Craig should’ve given way with Richie Gray in

      2. Jones to start. Harris provides a defensive option when we’re defending our lead in final 15!!

  15. I can understand Steele getting the nod given that he played quite well at the weekend and there really should be some form of continuity in the half backs but for a Alex Craig (a replacement lock with minimal international experience) to get the nod over Maitland is baffling. Toonie must really not trust R Gray.

  16. Why only 5 released what’s the reasoning behind that? Surely no justification for it!

    1. I would guess that there is a dosser within the leadership of English Premiership rugby who is on a power trip and trying to flex their muscles for political purposes. Any reasonable person would surely have taken the view that we could get Maitland too.

  17. I’d really like to know who is paying for this. Something else that has, from everything I’ve read, completely slipped under the radar, is the cost to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Naturally we’re all concerned with release of English based players and Finn but what about those based in Scotland? Obviously under SRU jurisdiction and so availability of these players was never an issue, but worth recognising that both club sides are without key players this weekend as a result (and playing full strength Welsh/Italian sides) and so surely they should receive a piece of what should be FFR compensation as the English clubs have received?

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