Robinson withdraws key players
Published 30/03/2011 | 17:22
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has withdrawn captain Alastair Kellock, Richie Gray, John Barclay, Ross Ford and Allan Jacobsen from club rugby for the remainder of the season to focus on the Rugby World Cup and beyond.
Kellock, Gray and Barclay will not be available for Glasgow and Edinburgh will be without Ford and Jacobsen for the rest of the Magners League campaign.
The five players will train with their respective clubs but will not be able to participate in contact sessions. Robinson said: "This is a decision that's not been taken lightly. It's a decision that's based on individual players and their programmes. It's a reflection on the season and the previous seasons they've had and it's done on an individual basis."
Both Glasgow and Edinburgh have four matches remaining in the Magners League this season but are struggling at the wrong end of the table. Kellock has been withdrawn in part because of a wrist injury he has been carrying and the Warriors and Scotland skipper will undergo a scan on Thursday.
Robinson said: "We feel it's right these decisions are made now looking at the stage of the season."
Kellock, who returned for the RBS 6 Nations after a lengthy absence following knee surgery, and Barclay were withdrawn to prevent further injury to their already-creaking bodies. Gray, meanwhile, has been rested, with Robinson anticipating the 21-year-old second row could be required to play non-stop rugby for many years to come.
Gray's performances in the Six Nations led many to suggest he would be a certainty for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. Robinson added: "Richie Gray is being taken out of action. He has doubled his game time this year and he has performed at a high level at a higher level of match as well and performed outstandingly well.
"This is for his development for the World Cup, but also for future matches - it's looking ahead to two, three years time as well."
Hooker Ford, who toured with the Lions in 2009, and loosehead prop Jacobsen have been withdrawn with September's World Cup at the forefront of Robinson's mind. The head coach added: "Both have had high game time in the previous three years.
"They've played a lot of rugby and they've had high game time this year. We feel it's in the best interests for their development and for the Rugby World Cup that they are made unavailable for Edinburgh now."