As the RWC looms large teams seem to be panicking. Players have been jumping on and off the Rugby Union merry-go-round as Glasgow sign up 6 players and Edinburgh only produce rumours of past players rejoining.
Recently a lot of Scottish rugby fans have been getting things off their chest. Unrest can happen when you lose assets. People want to know what is being done to recoup the loss of players, what the pro team plans are and how Scottish teams overcome their dramatic loss in Magners League status.
Answers are being drip fed into the public domain. Some don’t like it, and there is concern that a few more experienced players may do a runner.
There is a fine line between realism and negativity. I know this myself, having been described as a wee bit *just a wee bit* negative.
In Scottish rugby we are often accused of dwelling on the negatives. Results, finances and the press almost ensure this. The outlook is usually grey.
Troubled Wales Number 8 and lover of medieval facial hair Andy Powell was announced as Sale Shark’s new signing, after a raft of players and staff were cut from the club last week. Good move for Sale, assuming Powelly finds somewhere safe in the North to hole up away from football fans and golf courses, and then finds the rampaging form that first brought him to notice.
The new coach of Edinburgh Rugby is going to be:
a) Michael Ball
b) Michael Flatley
c) Michael Bradley
d) Bradley Wiggins
I have to admit, the name didn’t ring much of a bell with me either. (The answer is rumoured to be c) by the way). Michael Bradley, former coach of Connacht. Not the Connacht of this season, who have done pretty well under Blessed Eric. No, the Connacht from before. So there you have your answer to the other great question of our time – are the pro-sides turning into second class citizens under the current SRU regime?
Things are set to get tougher for Edinburgh next year with the news that Fraser Mackenzie is leaving the club to join up with Richie Vernon at Sale Sharks. It seems that no longer is it a case of Edinburgh and Glasgow developing young players until they are established test players, now the bigger clubs are swooping to sign folk after just a season (or less) of decent performances. At the moment it really feels a bit like a closing down sale, and clubs with money are scrabbling for whatever bargains they can find left on the shelves.
In my last post a few weeks ago (Club Success Deserves Recognition) I suggested that dropping the pro sides might be a good idea for the development of Scottish rugby.
Unsurprisingly this provoked a bit of a reaction with several good points being raised in support of the professional sides.
One of these comments has stuck with me in particular.
Before we focus completely on ‘The Italian Job’ (yeah, you’re gonna be reading that headline. A lot!) perhaps I should look at the recent developments at Glasgow and Edinburgh. Development is in fact the key word here because, as we acknowledge that this season has been very poor for Scottish rugby, I am forced to ask “will at least one of Scotland’s pro sides be turned into a development team?”