Scottish quintet withdrawn from club rugby
March 30, 2011
Richie Gray will not play for Glasgow again this season © Getty Images
Scotland boss Andy Robinson has withdrawn captain Alastair Kellock, Richie Gray, John Barclay, Ross Ford and Allan Jacobsen from club rugby for the remainder of the season as part of his Rugby World Cup plans.
The move means that Glasgow will be without Kellock, Gray and Barclay for the remainder of the Magners League campaign, while Edinburgh must cope with the absence of Ford and Jacobsen. Both sides have four matches remaining in the Magners League this season but are struggling at the wrong end of the table.
The five players will train with their respective clubs but will not be able to participate in contact sessions.
"This is a decision that's not been taken lightly," Robinson said. "It's a decision that's based on individual players and their programmes. It's a reflection on the season and the previous seasons they've had and it's done on an individual basis."
Kellock has been withdrawn in part because of a wrist injury he has been carrying and the lock will undergo a scan on Thursday. "We feel it's right these decisions are made now looking at the stage of the season," Robinson said.
Kellock and Barclay have been withdrawn to prevent further injury while Gray, has been rested, with Robinson anticipating the 21-year-old second-row could be required to play non-stop rugby for many years to come.
"Richie Gray is being taken out of action," Robinson said. "He has doubled his game time this year and he has performed at a high level at a higher level of match as well and performed outstandingly well. This is for his development for the World Cup, but also for future matches - it's looking ahead to two, three years time as well."
Ford, who toured with the Lions in 2009, and loose-head prop Jacobsen have been withdrawn with September's World Cup at the forefront of Robinson's mind. "Both have had high game time in the previous three years. They've played a lot of rugby and they've had high game time this year," Robinson said. "We feel it's in the best interests for their development and for the Rugby World Cup that they are made unavailable for Edinburgh now.
"I've got to look at what is right for the players, what is right for the future, what is right for Scotland," said Robinson. "I believe there will be benefits over the next couple of years and that is why I believe the decision is the right decision. It's not just solely around the World Cup."
Robinson made the decision together with Scottish Rugby Union director of performance Graham Lowe and team doctor James Robson. Lowe was influential in the decision for 22 New Zealand players to be made unavailable for Super Rugby matches prior to the 2007 World Cup, when the All Blacks exited at the quarter-final stage.
Glasgow head coach Sean Lineen and Nick Scrivener, the interim head coach of Edinburgh, were informed of the decision after Scotland's final Six Nations match against Italy. "They were disappointed and naturally disappointed, because they want their players to play for the club, but they understood," said Robinson.
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