16 Scottish rugby players on the lookout for a new club this summer
Financial problems in the sport, particularly in England and Wales, have meant shrinking budgets and teams have cut their cloth accordingly. With Worcester Warriors and Wasps already cast adrift and London Irish in danger of following them, the Gallagher Premiership could be reduced to ten clubs by the time next season kicks off. Scotland internationals Ben White and Kyle Rowe are among the players at London Irish whose future remains in doubt and the exiles club have already released two other Scots, Isaac Miller and Logan Trotter.
In Scotland, Edinburgh had a major clearout at the end of the season, releasing 13 senior players and four from their academy, while Glasgow Warriors have bid farewell to six senior pros. Some are already fixed up with new clubs: Henry Immelman has signed for the Bulls, Murray McCallum and Cammy Hutchison for Newcastle Falcons, Jamie Jack for Bedford Blues and Lewis Bean for Montauban. But there remains a host of players in limbo. Here are the Scottish players looking for new clubs this summer:
Former Saracens, Bath and Harlequins prop joined Edinburgh last year but struggled for game-time. Was called into the Scotland squad the 2021 summer Tests which ended up being cancelled due to Covid.
The tighthead prop is leaving Glasgow two years after joining from Edinburgh. Played in this season’s Six Nations games against England and Ireland, and came off the bench for the final 35 minutes of the Warriors’ Challenge Cup final loss to Toulon. Given his experience, the 32-year-old is unlikely to be short of offers.
Blain has made 26 appearances over the last five seasons with Edinburgh but is one of 13 players to leave the club. The former Scotland Under-20 international wing spent time with Australian club Warringah last summer.
A former New Zealand U20 international, Forbes was named in the Scotland squad for the 2021 summer tour only for it to be cancelled due to Covid. Joined Glasgow, initially on trial, in the 2020/21 season and went on to make 38 appearances, scoring 11 tries. Can play wing or full-back and is Scottish-qualified through his grandfather from Aberdeen.
The back-row forward is leaving Newcastle Falcons after six seasons and 95 appearances. The former Gala player was capped four times by Scotland after initially being called up by England.
The Scotland international is leaving Edinburgh. The back-row forward was involved in roughly half the club’s games in the 2022/23 season and was part of Gregor Townsend’s national squad for the Autumn Nations Series. Now 32, he joined Edinburgh from Bristol Bears in 2019. Capped 11 times.
The experienced international wing/full-back has left Edinburgh after nine seasons with his hometown club. Capped four times, he was part of Scotland’s touring squad to South America last summer and scored a hat-trick in the A international against Chile. The 29-year-old made 105 appearances for Edinburgh and scored 130 points.
The highest profile departure from Glasgow Warriors, the centre spent eight seasons at the club and played in the 2019 Pro14 final at Celtic Park. Johnson, 29, has been capped 26 times by Scotland and played in all three Test matches against Argentina on last year’s summer tour.
The international hooker is leaving Bristol Bears, the club he joined in 2021 from Leicester Tigers. Capped against Italy during the 2019 Six Nations, Edinburgh-born Kerr played club rugby for Boroughmuir and Watsonians before heading south. The 27-year-old is the brother of Josh Kerr, 1500 metres bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympics.
The former Scotland Under-20 hooker is on the lookout for a new club after leaving London Irish. Edinburgh-born Miller, 28, played previously for London Scottish and Worcester Warriors.
The 29-times capped scrum-half spent eight successful seasons with Glasgow Warriors, helping them win the Guinness Pro12 final in 2015, before moving to Edinburgh in 2018. After 83 appearances for the capital club it was announced last month that the 33-year-old would be leaving.
The tighthead has been a mainstay for Bath over the last two seasons but is one of eight senior players leaving the club. Rae, 28, moved south from Glasgow Warriors. The prop from Ayrshire was capped by Scotland against Ireland in the 2019 Six Nations.
The 23-times capped Scotland loosehead is on the lookout for a new club following his departure from Ulster at the end of the season. Sutherland, 30, moved to Belfast in October following the collapse of Worcester Warriors. The Lions Test prop is part of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup training squad.
Taylor ended his Saracens career with a flourish, helping them beat Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham last weekend. It brought the curtain down on 12 successful years with the club. At 33, it’s unclear what’s next for the centre who played for Scotland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and won the last of his 28 caps against Ireland in the Autumn Nations Cup in 2020.
The former Scotland under-20 international moved to London Irish as injury cover in September but was released at the end of the campaign. Trotter, 24, spent pre-season with Glasgow Warriors but opted to move to Irish. The winger came through the Scottish Rugby Academy and played for Stirling Wolves in the Super6.
Jaco van der Walt
The stand-off found his opportunities restricted at Edinburgh during the last two seasons by Blair Kinghorn’s switch to 10. Moved to the capital from the Lions in his native South Africa in 2017 and became Scottish-qualified on residency grounds in 2020. A Test debut quickly followed, against Ireland in December 2020, and he went on to win four Scotland caps. Expected to return to South Africa, with the Bulls in pole position to sign the 29-year-old.
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