A member of the England rugby team beaten in the 1990 Grand Slam decider is today questioning Scotland’s right to a place in the Six Nations Championship.
Jeff Probyn’s remarks come as the Scots prepare to host Italy in what had become a traditional wooden spoon decider until last weekend when the Azzurri moved up a level with a second successive home win over France.
In making the case for a two-tier Six Nations linked to the Nations Cup featuring the likes of Georgia, Romania, etc Probyn said: “As one of the foundation Unions with a place at the top table they (Scotland) have a history of great teams and results stretching back.
“But since the game turned professional they have struggled to compete and have been on a slow but steady decline.
“As the country with the smallest player base and only two full time professional teams is it any wonder?
“The hard question must be asked, should Scotland be downgraded to the second tier?
“The standard of teams in the second tier is steadily improving.” “The Six Nations is the pre-eminent competition in the Northern Hemisphere but, to remain as such, it must make sure all teams are fit for purpose.
“The Scots have to prove they deserve to be in the best competition in the world.”
Paradoxically, former prop forward Probyn appears to undermine his case in the latest edition of “The Rugby Paper” by saying. “I left Scotland last, not because that is where I think they will end up although judging by all their problems and last year’s results that would be understandable, but because regrettably they are at a cross roads in their rugby history.”