Scotland coach Andy Robinson has made public his decision to withdraw five of Scotland’s key players from club duty ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
Glasgow Warriors player Alastair Kellock is on that list, alongside teammates John Barclay and Richie Gray. Edinburgh Rugby front row duo Allan Jacobsen and Ross Ford are the others.
It is also reported that Max Evans (Warriors) and Chris Paterson (Edinburgh) will miss the next two weeks of play, but should be back with their clubs for the final 2 games of the season.
Robinson has said that the decision “is based on individual players and their programmes” and that “it is not just solely around the World Cup.”
The impact on the two clubs remains to be seen. Currently Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby have 4 games to play in the Magners League and are languishing 11th and 9th in the table respectively, with a huge mountain to climb to have any hope of a play off place. Taking these five out of action at such a key stage in the season has naturally caused disappointment in both camps, however both Sean Lineen and Nick Scrivener are quoted as being understanding of the situation.
Gray appears to have been rested with a mind to his further development as a player – his recent spike in popularity has seen his game time increase and those in the know at the SRU have decided that this extended rest period before the Scotland World Cup Training camp starts on June 20th will be good for him.
Chris Paterson is being rested as a precaution after his first competition back from an injury to his kidney.
Allan Jacobsen and Ross Ford were a feature of the Scotland front row during the 6 Nations and both players carried ongoing injuries throughout the competition, that medical chiefs feel need a longer time to recover then playing to the end of the season would allow. Certainly Ford, having been part of the Lions squad, has taken longer to regain his full fitness due to the lengthened game time that these tours demand, with very little time off before the new season starts.
Injury is also true of Scotland captain Alastair Kellock, John Barclay, and Max Evans. Wrist, back and groin injuries respectively that rest and no contact sessions should reduce before the summers warm up matches.
Amongst the fans, the news has been met with mixed opinion; some are seeing it as those at the top being overprotective and running the risk of being counterproductive for the Scotland team as a whole. Others are saying that it is too early to be withdrawing players for the World Cup, and will be detrimental to both local clubs, who are lucky that there is no relegation in the Magners League.
There are some though, that welcome this decision and think that Robinson is taking the right steps to ensuring that he has a squad on top form going into a pool group which includes Romania, Georgia, Argentina and England.
So once again, the ‘club versus country’ debate has reared its head, and we will need to wait until the World Cup to see if these decisions were right.
By Christine Lester