Uncertain club futures can act as Scottish spur, says Hadden

SCOTLAND head coach Frank Hadden believes the current uncertainty over the three professional teams in Scotland can act as an incentive for players.

On Friday, the Scottish Rugby Union confirmed one of Scotland’s three professional teams will fold unless external investment is forthcoming.

The future of at least one of Edinburgh Gunners, Glasgow Warriors and Border Reivers is in doubt after SRU chief executive Gordon McKie announced swingeing cuts to stem a £23 million (€33.5m) debt.

However, the Scotland boss is convinced the players will rise to the challenge of proving themselves in the face of adversity.

Hadden said: “People say the players’ heads will be down about the possibility of losing their jobs. But, in fact, they will be looking for an opportunity to make sure they are kept on.

“The thing about professionalism is players know, every time they step on the pitch, their job is on the line. This is not hugely new territory for Scottish rugby players. I was involved when four teams became two in 1998.

“We just haven’t got the financial and playing resources in Scotland to make it a smooth ride all of the time, and the nature of professional sport means it is a pretty uncertain world.

“I think our players, on the whole, cope remarkably well with that side of it. Over a number of years, we have all become pretty adept in dealing with uncertainty both on and off the pitch.

“I don’t think the position at the moment is that different to where we have been at the end of previous seasons, maybe this year we are just being more open about it.”

Hadden concedes the prospect of losing one of the professional teams was disappointing but insists the move will not be detrimental to the World Cup campaign in France next year.

The former Edinburgh head coach has announced a combined 54-man squad for training ahead of the tour to South Africa and the Scotland A trip to Canada for the Churchill Cup.

And, while he does not want to see players leave Scotland to find a professional club, Hadden is convinced the current squad will battle on.

He said: “In the short-term, it won’t have a massive impact on me, because I don’t expect too many guys we don’t know about to appear from nowhere.

“Ideally, we don’t want our best players to be based outside Scotland. But the bottom line is we just have to deal with the situation, and we are actually quite good at that in Scotland — battling in adversity.”

Scotland/Scotland A joint squad for training at Murrayfield on May 15-17:

Backs: M Blair (Edinburgh Gunners), S Danielli (Border Reivers), M Dey (Edinburgh Gunners), N de Luca (Edinburgh), M di Rollo (Edinburgh Gunners), P Godman (Edinburgh Gunners), C Gregor (Glasgow Warriors), A Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), D Hodge (Edinburgh Gunners), R Lamont (Glasgow Warriors), S Lamont (Northampton), R Lawson (Edinburgh Gunners), B MacDougall (Border Reivers), C MacRae (Border Reivers), B McKerchar (Border Reivers), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), D Parks (Glasgow Warriors), C Paterson (Edinburgh Gunners), S Pinder (Glasgow Warriors), G Ross (Leeds), H Southwell (Edinburgh Gunners), N Walker (Border Reivers), S Webster (Edinburgh Gunners).

Forwards: R Beattie (Northampton), K Brown (Border Reivers), D Callam (Edinburgh Gunners), A Dickinson (Edinburgh Gunners), B Douglas (Border Reivers), J Dunbar (Leeds), S Gray (Border Reivers), A Hall (Newport-Gwent Dragons), D Hall (Edinburgh Gunners), C Hamilton (Glasgow Warriors), N Hines (Perpignan), A Hogg (Edinburgh Gunners), A Jacobsen (Edinburgh Gunners), A Kellock (Edinburgh Gunners), A Kelly (Edinburgh Gunners), G Kerr (Leeds), S Lawson (Glasgow Warriors), N Lloyd (Saracens), D MacFadyen (Glasgow Warriors), S MacLeod (Border Reivers), A Miller (Border Reivers), E Murray (Glasgow Warriors), S Murray (Edinburgh Gunners), J Petrie (Glasgow Warriors), M Rennie (Lyon), C Smith (Edinburgh Gunners), A Strokosch (Edinburgh Gunners), S Taylor (Edinburgh Gunners), F Thomson (Glasgow Warriors), J White (Sale Sharks), A Wilson (Glasgow Warriors).

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