Scottish Premiership stars get green light to face France

Scottish Premiership stars get green light to face France

Relieved, Gregor Townsend thanked the English Premiership clubs for agreeing to release his Scottish stars for next week, with the Six Nations curtain delayed against France.
The Dark Blues coach was left in a sweat after tournament organizers announced earlier this week that the clash in Paris would take place on Friday, March 26, despite no deal in place that would allow him to select. key men who play rugby from their clubs south of the border.

Unsuccessful case

But a deal has now been struck which means skipper Stuart Hogg and Exeter teammate Jonny Gray have been given the green light to take on the Blues.

Scotland were due to travel to Stade de France last month, but the match was postponed following a coronavirus outbreak in Fabien Galthie’s squad.

As this week’s rearrangement date falls outside the international window, English clubs were under no obligation to make their players available.

But Townsend – speaking after his team won a record 52-10 victory over Italy – revealed: “I’ve just been told that negotiations are drawing to a close.

“There will be a positive outcome which is great to hear.

“Thanks to the parties involved, Scottish rugby, Six Nations and PRL, we can get to this situation where we will have a strong team – as strong as possible – that will go to Paris, which is a really important game for us and tournament.

“Does this protect the integrity of the competition?” Yes, I believe so, but I also think it shows that we can work together and find a solution.

“I’m sure there were compromises and understanding from both sides. I am sure there were also financial contributions.

“But it’s great that we can have our players for this massive game next week. ”

The news is another boost for the Scottish side after recovering from back-to-back defeats against Wales and Ireland to crush Italy to record their biggest league win yet.

Hogg admitted ahead of the game that he felt nervous about replacing injured Finn Russell in the half-opening.

But the full-back had nothing to fear as his side had eight tries against an Azzurri side who will be happy to see the end of a miserable campaign.

Hooker Dave Cherry scored twice in his first start, while scrum-half Scott Steele also marked his full debut with one try.

There was also a brace for Duhan van der Merwe as Darcy Graham, Huw Jones and Sam Johnson contributed to a crushing triumph over an Italian team who have now dispatched 34 tries in just five games.

Hogg took advantage of the result – and admitted that the winning margin probably should have been even bigger.

“We had a lot of fun,” he said. “We put ourselves in good positions. Maybe he lacked that clinical benefit at times, but we had a lot of fun.

“We had smiles on our faces and the best feeling ever is winning in a Scottish jersey so that’s what we did today and we’re very, very happy.

“This score is a good thing for us, but I think if we were brutally honest we could have maybe had a few more tries in the first half and maybe in the second half.

“I think I’m satisfied – I was just saying we can improve. I think what appeals to us is that we know well when things don’t go quite the way we’d like, and over the past few weeks we’ve sometimes let ourselves down, but today we stayed there.

“We have expressed ourselves. We just dug deep and continued. Yes the scoreboard could have been a bit higher, but we scored around 50 points in a test match and that’s absolutely huge for us.


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