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Interesting take on Scotland clubs...

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    Interesting take on Scotland clubs...



    Mondaysport The departure of Scotland rugby players can be a good thing. Professional clubs must use financial savings to recruit overseas players and develop young talent.
    <DIV =LeadPara>INVESTMENT in current Scottish international players represents such poor value for money that the time has come to sell off all the most-prized homegrown assets to the highest bidder. </DIV>
    <DIV =LeadPara>It seems that is the conclusion the businessmen at Murrayfield are beginning to come to and not just the new private owners of Edinburgh. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The past couple of weeks have produced a near reversal of the "Fortress Scotland" policy introduced under Matt Williams three years ago. Frank Hadden, who took over from the Australian as Scotland coach, has taken a less rigid view, but still wants the bulk of his international squad to play in Scotland. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>That would be exactly the right approach if, like the Irish and Welsh provinces, there was sufficient money to do that while generating the strength in depth required to be competitive, but everyone knows Scottish rugby is in desperate financial straits. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Is it not better, then, to let big clubs and provinces in England, France, Ireland and Wales pick up the tab for players who spend half their time on international duty, while concentrating Scottish money on players who will be available week-in, week-out? </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Hadden's position is entirely understandable because logistically it will be extremely difficult for him to keep tabs on players who are spread all over Europe. Yet of those who are moving or have been the subject of speculation - namely Dave Callam, Chris Cusiter, Simon Danielli, Rob Dewey, Ally Hogg, Scott Lawson, Rory Lamont, Ben MacDougall, Euan Murray, 4Scott Murray and Simon Taylor - should be certainties to go to this year's World Cup. In other words, for the first three months of next season whoever pays their wages will see nothing of them. Furthermore in a tournament of such intensity there is the prospect they will come home injured, exhausted or both. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>It is not ideal to let leading players go, but there is no ideal in the current financial situation. It is all about the least damaging option. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Professional rugby in Scotland is suffering a slow death, with minimal interest from crowds and abysmal performance on the field. The weekend's sequence of defeats suffered by the three pro teams was by no means the first time that has happened. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Following the home reverse to the Ospreys second team Lynn Howells, the Welshman who coaches Edinburgh, praised Duncan Hodge for the guidance he is giving a youthful side but noted that he cannot do it on his own. There is a need to recruit experienced leaders. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>With the best will in the world, Scotland players focused on salvaging their Six Nations Championship campaign and looking ahead to the World Cup, have other priorities. Howells knows some big name players, like the Ospreys' Justin Marshall, must be recruited, but they are more valuable to him and the marketing men if, like the former All Black scrum-half, they have big reputations but have quit the Test scene. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Consequently he indicated the big-name signings may not be made until after the World Cup, normally a time when a number of established southern hemisphere stars decide it is time for their personal European tours. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Ask most Edinburgh fans who their favourite player has been down the years and a majority will probably say Todd Blackadder. One of the few times in history that the Border Reivers have managed to
    Seas suas agus troid!
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