Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg is highly unlikely to appear in a Great Britain shirt at the Rio Olympics.
With Sevens part of the games in Brazil this summer, Hogg’s absence will disappoint many who see the Hawick man as one of the few European players who can match South Hemisphere players’ skills.
Naming his squad yesterday for Scotland’s two-Test trip to Japan in the summer, head coach Vern Cotter appeared to rule Hogg out of the Olympics.
The GB squad can’t compete in the HSBC Sevens series so are entering two teams into four other summer tournaments. Hogg cannot be available for those and the Japan tour.
Cotter said: “For the moment Stuart is with us.”
Asked if that ruled him out of Rio, Cotter replied: “I think it does, yes. That is the choice Stuart made.”
Scottish rugby representatation at the Olympics may now rest with centre Mark Bennett, the highest profile player to miss out on the Japan trip.
Bennett played for Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with some aplomb although the team under-performed.
He will likely be included in coach Simon Amor’s extended GB squad which will be announced in the next few days before being whittled down to just twelve players who will travel to Brazil in search of gold.
“I have spoken to Mark,” said Cotter. “It is an opportunity that has been presented to him and he would like to consider it. We respect that and we will wait and see what happens...I respect that decision.”
While Hogg and Bennett have been mulling the allure of Japan and Brazil the veteran winger Sean Lamont will today be pondering international retirement. The thirty-five year old was overlooked in favour of Edinburgh’s free-scoring Damien Hoyland, thirteen years younger with 103 fewer caps than Lamont’s impressive tally of 104.
Lamont first played against Samoa in 2004 but, twelve years on, that disappointing defeat to Ireland in Dublin at the end of the Six Nations may prove to be the winger’s last hurrah.