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Glasgow fades to Gray

By Eilidh Walker

Scotland and Glasgow Warriors lock Richie Gray has become the latest Scotland International to play domestic rugby outside of Scotland. Gray has signed a deal with Stockport-based Sale Sharks who play in the Aviva Premiership. He joins a long list of Scotland players to have left the Glasgow team in recent years including: Kelly Brown, Dan Parks and Max Evans.

Gray’s departure asks the question of both Glasgow and the Scottish Rugby Union how can they attract big names to play north of the border? When compared to clubs in England and France for example both of Scotland’s pro-teams have less funds and less than adequate stadiums for club rugby. High profile players cannot be blamed for being tempted to other countries where they will find bigger budgets and state of the art facilities.

When they learned of Gray’s intention to leave Glasgow, with backing from the SRU, offered him a deal worth over £300,000 which is significantly higher than any other Scotland international playing for Edinburgh or Glasgow. However Gray declined not just a new deal with Glasgow but also many offers from clubs in France, although he is quick to say that money plays no part in his decision and that playing in England is a personal goal.

A year ago Gray’s departure may have been catastrophic for a struggling Glasgow team however with Gray and his fellow Scotland team mates away at the world cup in New Zealand, Glasgow have had an encouraging  start to the season. Youngsters Nick Campbell and Tom Ryder have worked very hard at the start of the season, forming a solid second row unit.  Glasgow captain Rob Harley, in the back row, has played a massive part in Glasgow’s success so far this season proving himself a worthy replacement for Gray, at lock.

Although many loyal Glasgow fans have taken to social media sites to express their disappointment at his departure, as Gray himself is a proud Glaswegian he will no doubt be seen back in the black and blue jersey at some point later in his career. He can also leave safe in the knowledge that there are many able second row replacements emerging at Firhill who will keep the Glasgow pack as fearsome as ever.

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One Response

  1. Gray has the potential to be a world-class second-row and moving down south can only help to aid his development. Disappointing to see him go down south but a lot of young Scottish players are being pinched by big spending English and European teams nowadays. Something needs to change at the top level in Scotland to keep hold of the best young players.

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