Scotland coach Andy Robinson calls for rethink over Premiership player release
Robinson was particularly frustrated given that the international squad departs for a two-Test tour of Argentina next week.
Robinson had hoped there might be some flexibility in the application of International Rugby Board regulation 9, which obliges clubs to release players only within strictly designated Test windows.
The June window, created largely for northern hemisphere sides making overseas tours, does not begin until the end of this week.
The coach claimed on Monday that Gloucester, the only club affected in this instance, had been prepared to agree to an arrangement that would allow their four Scotland players – Alasdair Dickinson, Alasdair Strokosch, Scott Lawson and Rory Lawson – to join the squad this week, but that Premier Rugby Ltd, the English clubs’ umbrella organisation, had blocked the move by insisting on the strict application of regulation 9.
“PRL are upholding regulation 9,” said Robinson, whose reign as England coach was also blighted by club-versus-country issues. “It is their right to do so. But the IRB really does have to look at the regulation.
Craig Chalmers has been warned as to his future conduct after being cleared of misconduct at an independent disciplinary hearing.
The Melrose head coach and former Scotland fly-half faced action from Scottish Rugby over allegations he and centre Jamie Murray acted in an “abusive, insulting, intimidating or offensive manner” towards a match official at a function during last month’s Melrose Sevens tournament.
A disciplinary panel convened by Scottish Rugby on Wednesday night found it would have been unjust to uphold any misconduct charge against Chalmers due to the inconsistency of the oral evidence provided. The verdict will be a relief to the 41-year-old, who spent a night in the cells and was given a £60 fixed penalty after being arrested for a breach of the peace during the weekend of April 10, when the Melrose Sevens took place.
The incident which resulted in his arrest is separate from that which took place on the same day and led to a Scottish Rugby inquiry, triggered by a complaint by the Border Rugby Referees’ Society.
Scottish Rugby said in a statement: “The panel heard from nine witnesses, whose evidence did not paint a consistent picture of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, though the panel did determine there was an atmosphere of unpleasantness towards the match officials within the Melrose club’s Eildon Suite.
Edinburgh club captain Simon Cross has admitted defeat in his long battle with knee problems and will retire at the end of this season.
The 29-year-old, who has been plagued by injury during the last two years, will turn his attention to coaching.
“My life has been in rugby and I’ve loved the time I have spent at Edinburgh. I’ve been very proud to be part of the team,” said the flanker, who was an unused substitute for Scotland against Wales in 2004. “I could not contemplate walking away and not putting anything back into it. I hope coaching will be my passion now.”
Head coach Rob Moffat added: “Simon has been an influential figure in the club and, in many ways, a model professional. He has made a great effort to build the club ethos at Edinburgh.
“It has been as frustrating for us as it has been for him that injuries have restricted his involvement on the pitch in the last couple of seasons, but I am sure that the same application he brought to his playing career will feature as he takes on a greater role in coaching.”