Reds chop for Chalmers

CRAIG Chalmers is the most high-profile casualty of the European Cup axe after Glasgow Caledonians yesterday left out the veteran internationalist from their 30-man squad.

Chalmers joins youngsters Ian McInroy, Barry Irving and Andy Henderson in missing out - all four will play club rugby for the next six weeks - with Gareth Flockhart, Rory Kerr and Graeme Kiddie also ruled out through injury.

Glasgow Caledonians coach Richie Dixon admitted: "I find it sad that we’ve got to cut the squad. It’s meant we have to make a tough call and we can’t shirk from that, and unfortunately, Craig is one to miss out.

"We took the decisions objectively, in the interests of the team, and felt Mark McKenzie has been playing well, Tommy Hayes offers us something different and that with Craig being out injured, we feel it would be good for him to get some club games under his belt.

"With the three youngsters, we felt it would be better for their development if they continued to work on their weights and fitness regimes while at the same time play regularly, every weekend, in club rugby, as opposed to sitting on the bench, or not even that, during European games."

Veteran prop Willie Anderson could also miss out. He has been named alongside West of Scotland’s Carlo Di Ciacca, Euan Murray of Glasgow Southern and East Kilbride’s Andrew Welsh in the stand-by squad of emergency front-row cover, in line with ERC rules.

Chalmers, who had suffered concussion in the Welsh-Scottish League match against Cross Keys three weeks ago, was bitterly disappointed.

He said: "I have gone from being first-choice three weeks ago to not even making the 30, through no fault of my own.

"To me, it’s very, very disappointing. I’m fit and I’m desperate to play, but there’s nothing I can do about it."

The fact that a number of injured players, including Andy Nicol, James McLaren and Jon Stuart, have made it into the squad, is bound to add to Chalmers’ frustration.

"It’s not the sort of thing that fills you with confidence," he added, "but I’ll get on with it and hopefully help Melrose along the road in the league. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone else, but I want to prove to myself that I can get back up there. I’m not finished."

Edinburgh Reivers plan to name their squad today.

Glasgow squad: Backs: G Beveridge, A Bulloch, J Craig, T Hayes, I Jardine, S Longstaff, M McKenzie, J McLaren, G Metcalfe, A Nicol, R Shepherd, J Steel, J Stuart, F Stott. Forwards: G Bulloch, D Burns, S Campbell, S Griffths, L Harrison, D Hilton, D Macfadyen, G McIlwham, J Petrie, R Reid, G Scott, G Simpson, C Stewart, M Waite, A Watt, J White. Stand-by front-row: W Anderson, E Murray (Glasgow Southern), C di Ciacca (West of Scotland), A Welsh (East Kilbride).