Scottish rugby bosses have hit back at claims by Gala coach George Graham that there was a “miraculous” change in rules governing the release of professional players to the club Premiership.
Graham has declined to use professionals and said that protocols had changed so that more Edinburgh and Glasgow players could be drafted.
However, a spokesperson for the SRU claimed the alteration to a ruling previously restricting the differential between clubs to two pro players was transparent.
“A request was made to the Premiership Forum – the group on which all ten RBS Premiership clubs sit – by Scottish Rugby seeking that should a Premiership club be offered pro players and decline them, which is their right, then any opposing team, and any pro player, should not be impacted by such a decision.
“For example, should team A be offered one pro player and team B be offered three pro players, and team A decline, Team B should still be allowed to select all three. The rationale behind this was to continue to develop the Premiership and pro-club relationship and also a desire not to penalise opposing pro players, particularly if the player needed game time to help prepare himself for professional rugby, if a club chose not to select their allocated pro player.
“We asked if the differential of two would remain but would be based on number of players made available rather than the number selected.
“Nine of the ten Premiership clubs intimated that they supported the request from Scottish Rugby. The club against was Gala RFC who asked that the decision be looked at again.
“A panel was convened and determined that the change requested by Scottish Rugby should be made and implemented immediately.”