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No top player exodus imminent claim coaches as Adam Hastings opts for Gloucester switch

Adam Hastings is headed for Gloucester next season.
Adam Hastings is headed for Gloucester next season.

A full-scale exodus of Scottish internationals from the cash-strapped Glasgow and Edinburgh pro teams is not imminent, stressed the head coaches of both teams, as Scotland stand-off Adam Hastings confirmed he was leaving the Warriors in the summer.

Edinburgh’s Richard Cockerill stressed his intention was to keep all of his top players despite rumours that new Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe will leave for Worcester, while star back rowers Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson are two other key men out of contract this summer.

Meanwhile Hastings has confirmed that he has signed a deal to play for Gallagher Premiership club Gloucester next season, despite a “really decent offer” being made for the player to stay in Scotland.

“The chance to return to play in the English Premiership with a club like Gloucester has been an ambition of mine,” said Hastings, who is currently out until the spring with a shoulder injury.

“However, this was an extremely tough decision, Glasgow made a very good offer and I absolutely love being at the club and with the boys here.

“I’m still thoroughly enjoying being at the Warriors and have grown as a player and person since arriving in 2017.

“I’m extremely focussed on my rehab to return as soon as possible and can’t wait to pull on a Glasgow shirt before the end of the season, hopefully in front of a packed Scotstoun.”

Warriors head coach Danny Wilson said he felt at one point Hastings would stay with the club, but the lure of the Premiership was what decided the issue rather than money.

Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson.

“There was a relatively long process to try and get him to stay and at one point I thought that was the case but the reasons he stated was he wanted to play in the Premiership,” said Wilson.

“He had experience of that at Bath and wanted to go back and play in the Premiership but that was his final reason to accept the offer and go to Gloucester.

“It is a blow and frustrating losing Adam, as we wanted him to stay in Scotland and at Glasgow. He has developed really well and become a really good player and done well on the international stage.

‘A competitive offer’

“When that happens clubs will come looking. I believe (we made) a very competitive offer, and I believe there was a real effort made by Scottish Rugby to keep Adam in Scotland.

“We all wanted it to happen. But he wanted to play in the Premiership – that seemed to be the big reason.”

It means that Wilson is now looking for two stand-offs for next season, while at the same time being restricted by the financial realities of situation with Covid-19.

“I am trying to sign more than one,” he said. “That was one position we were looking to bring in when finances were cut (because of the pandemic).

“We wanted to bring another ten to go with Hasto and Brandon (Thomson) and Pete Horne, who is a twelve playing ten.

Glasgow Warriors’ Peter Horne.

“There is a fair bit of work to be done around ten and hopefully we can confirm something around that sometime soon.”

Wilson believes the pro teams will retain some of their best internationals, despite the appearance that more and more are being attracted to big money and new challenges in England and France.

“There will be examples of good Scottish internationals staying in Scotland,” he said.

‘Sometimes it’ll be about money’

“The weigh-up is sometimes it’ll be about money – if you look at your Hoggys and Jonny (Gray) and Finns, we can’t compete with the offers that are unbelievable to go and play rugby. Also some players want to go and have that life experience in another country and league.

“That’s weighed up against how well you’re managed in Scotland. Players get rest weeks and get managed really well, and hopefully their longevity is a bit better.

“It’s also about being passionate about staying in Scotland, whether that’s family or whatever.”

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill.

Meanwhile Cockerill wouldn’t comment on speculation about van der Merwe but stressed his aim was to keep all of his top players, including the new international wing, at Edinburgh.

“Like all our players who are out of contract and we want to keep, we are having discussions and we don’t really comment on speculation,” he said of the Worcester rumours.

“There is going to be lots of interest in certain players because they are very good players, so at this point there is nothing to report other than we want to keep our best players and we’re doing everything we can to achieve that.

Edinburgh and Scotland flanker Jamie Ritchie is out of contract in the summer.

He did admit that the financial situation was “a bit of a moveable feast” because of the uncertainty over whether crowds can return to rugby in the spring.

“Our thoughts are around keeping all our players,” he said, when asked about new deals for Ritchie and Watson. “We’re working with the Union and that narrative changes on a weekly basis.

‘You have to trust the Union’

“There are some changes in Government funding and grants in the last week or so. You have to trust the Union to see where that money is best spent for the game.

“You’ve got to be a little bit flexible and a little bit patient. We’re working with all the players and their agents as best we can to try to keep the squad together and keep our best players in Scotland.”