Scotland rugby star Di Rollo leaves Toulouse

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SCOTLAND rugby star Marcus Di Rollo today confirmed his time at European rugby giants Toulouse is over.

The 30-year-old centre, from Edinburgh, has resigned himself to being victim of an impasse arising from conflicting medical opinion over a cardiac issue he has carried since birth.

A short statement in the French media today indicated that the deal which saw Di Rollo leave Edinburgh last summer for Toulouse where he was to play just one minute of rugby in the subsequent season as a result of his heart problem was about to finally fall through – prompting mixed feelings from Di Rollo.

On the one hand he will soon be free to pursue rugby employment virtually anywhere other than France where doctors refused to countenance him playing, albeit Di Rollo stressed nothing has yet been decided so far as future assignments are concerned.

The down side is that the former Watsonians ace knows full well the quality of the club he is about to leave, having been on the staff as they reached the Heineken European Cup Final before wrapping up the French domestic title for the 17th time at the weekend.

"Nothing has been decided other than the fact I will not be a Toulouse player next year," said Di Rollo. "There are still one or two things to get sorted out and it is slow going.

"The whole matter has been going on for so long but when I return to Toulouse in a couple of weeks from Edinburgh I'll hopefully get things sorted. I can't get anybody to talk to in the (club) office."

It was when Di Rollo undertook a seemingly routine medical on joining Toulouse that a heart abnormality was revealed.

Scottish doctors had long been aware but had cleared him to play and he has been able to reach the 21-cap mark so far.

Di Rollo added: "One of the difficulties has been being in limbo. I had a letter which must have been from the International Board clearing me to play in the World Cup, ironically in France, and there have certainly been ups and downs in the past year.

"I would come for tests in Britain and return to France with good results only to find it didn't help over there.

"The condition was something I was born with and so long as I kept getting checked out they (doctors) were happy.

"Anywhere else, including the UK, I'd have got on with my rugby. I was looking for a fresh start and a fresh challenge in Toulouse.

"It certainly would have been an awesome season to have been involved but the European Cup run had everybody asking questions again. The questions were the same in Scotland and in France.

"Sometimes things were looking good for to get back playing, then it would look pretty bleak.

"That's life I suppose ..."

In vowing to draw strength from his rugby ordeal, Di Rollo has paid tribute to his wife Leanne and other members of his family for the support they have afforded him, while national coach Frank Hadden also received a special mention.

"Leanne has been through this with me every step of the way and I'm grateful for all the support I've received," he continued.

"I spoke with Frank Hadden after he picked me for the Scotland A squad for the recent Barclay's Churchill Cup in North America (Di Rollo was subsequently forced to pull out) and it was encouraging that he was obviously keen to get me back in the saddle.

"Yes, I do believe in that saying 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and hopefully I can draw on that in the future."