Gregor Townsend welcomes plans for players' union

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has welcomed moves to create a professional rugby players' association, which would finally see the country follow other tier one nations in having independent union representation.

The creation of Rugby Players Scotland, with Scotland international Tim Swinson at the forefront of the initiative, has had a 100 per cent approval from professional players at Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh and the national sevens and women’s squads.

Townsend said: “I believe that is something the players want to do and they seem unanimous in setting it up, so that’s great they have pulled together all the thoughts and beliefs of the players signing up for it and put it together.

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“There are associations in some countries that have been there a lot longer, like England and 

Tim Swinson, who is leading the initiative to create a players' union

“We, the organisation, look forward to working with the association.”

The SRU previously felt that such an organisation was not required, but said in a statement they “welcome” the plans and are “very happy” to meet with Rugby Players Scotland to learn how they can “work together going forward”.

Prime movers in forming the association have been a bonus dispute at Glasgow Warriors, which took ten months to resolve, and concern about the way disciplinary matters, including the one involving former Edinburgh flanker John Hardie, had been handled.

Swinson told the BBC: “We want to be taken seriously by the SRU, by our players and by the international rugby community, and to achieve that, we have to be professional right from the start.

“It’s not a confrontational situation, I want to work with the SRU. I want to make rugby better for Scotland, for the players that play it, and that in turn will be better for the rugby community in Scotland. If the SRU don’t take it the way that I do, then I’ll have to deal with that. There are a lot of things in the SRU that are going very well.”