Stuart Hogg’s complete omission from Glasgow’s matchday squad for the RaboDirect PRO12 final this weekend points fairly clearly to his exit from the Scottish club this summer.
It is Glasgow’s first appearance in the tournament’s showpiece event and undoubtedly one of the biggest games in their history, and yet arguably their best, and certainly most well-known, player is absent from the squad. Not just the starting XV, but the squad all together.
Clearly something is not right behind the scenes, which will not exactly thrill potential suitors. This is, of course, nothing more than speculation, but the fact that Glasgow would rather leave him out of the squad, to the clear detriment of their chances of victory, than use him, does not exactly paint him in a great light – he must have irrevocably burnt some bridges.
That said, he will not struggle to find employment after impressing on the international stage for both Scotland and the Lions in recent years.
He is being heavily linked with Ulster in the Northern Irish media, after allegedly meeting David Humphries and Mark Anscombe in Belfast last month. He also discovered a couple of years ago that he was related to Northern Irish legend George Best, who grew up close to Ravenhill.
Of course whenever a world-class talent like this is on the market, the French clubs will not be far away. Clermont and Toulon have signed Nick Abendanon and Leigh Halfpenny respectively, however, which essentially rules them out, while Saracens are also reported to be monitoring him from the Aviva Premiership.
Whatever happens, negotiations will need to take place with his current employers the Scottish Rugby Football Union, as he still has a year to run on his contract. But the fact that he is not involved this weekend with Glasgow means that they clearly do not see a future for him at the club, so do not be surprised to see him playing in different colours – most likely Ulster’s – next season.
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