Kiwi Hardie linked with Scots swoop

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Scottish Rugby is today 
being linked with another raid on New Zealand’s professional scene to bolster the 2015 World Cup squad.

According to reports in an Invercargill-based newspaper, the target is Otago Highlanders’ Scots qualified 24-year-old openside flanker John Hardie who is highly rated but regarded as just off the All Blacks’ 
radar at this stage.

Hardie has acknowledged his Scots ancestry qualification in an interview, while being careful to keep any cap options wide open.

“I haven’t really talked too much about that at the moment. It is [a possibility] but it’s not really on my mind at the moment. I’m just looking forward to the next couple of years with the Highlanders,” he said.

However, Scottish Rugby has handed ex-Glasgow coach Sean Lineen an overseas talent recruitment brief which has already landed Sean Maitland.

Should Hardie be available it will be fascinating to see whether Edinburgh or Glasgow are handed his services.

Maitland was allocated to Glasgow which suggests Edinburgh are next in line although the departure of John Barclay from the Warriors leaves a 
vacancy along the M8.