FORMER Scotland international John Beattie wishes Euan Murray would reconsider his refusal to play rugby on a Sunday – even though he would never question his family friend’s Christianity.
The Worcester Warriors prop will miss Scotland’s RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland at Murrayfield this weekend because of his strong religious beliefs.
The 32-year-old announced in 2009 that he would no longer turn out for his country on the Sabbath, a choice that has previously made him unavailable for five Six Nations matches, as well as November’s 51-22 defeat to the All Blacks and the 13-12 loss to Argentina at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Murray, who is expected to be replaced by Moray Low against Ireland when interim coach Scott Johnson names his team this morning, has explained his decision by insisting he does not “believe in pick’n’mix Christianity”. “It’s all or nothing, following Jesus,” he has said.
However, Beattie laments Murray’s continued refusal to play on a Sunday, insisting he will be sorely missed in this weekend’s crucial match against the Irish, and hopes his fellow Glaswegian will one day change his stance on when he plays his rugby.
Beattie said: “The scrum is still the game’s most potent weapon, both physically and mentally.
“Shove a team back or stop a powerful team from dominating you and your game becomes easier, as if a heavy backpack has been taken from your shoulders.
“This weekend, Scotland will be without their scrum cornerstone: Euan Murray.
“His scrummaging at tight-head has been superb but he won’t play.
“I don’t share Murray’s beliefs. I often question how, say, the Springboks and Samoans, as they have, can pray together at the end of a game after fighting each other during much of it.
“Euan is a family friend of ours and a fantastic bloke.
“But I wish Euan would reconsider his inability to play on a Sunday.
Beattie, in his online blog for the BBC, added: “I don’t question his belief. But exactly how far a sport can go to cater for someone’s belief is a different point. There are some pretty strange belief systems in the world.”