Rugby: SRU chief defends five star luxury

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Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson has defended a decision to billet a 34 man national training squad, plus back up, in five star luxury at a time when the governing body are admitting to £13 million debts.

Although it is acknowledged that the squad are unlikely to be paying anything like the £195 per day rate being quoted today by the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews, many clubs are operating on a shoestring and international performances, other than on a summer tour, have recently been more wooden than silver spoon.

But Dodson insisted: “If you look at a hotel this size you’d say ‘how can you do it’ I’d agree.

“But it is a great attraction for this hotel group to have Scotland training up here. We do a very competitive deal.”

Dodson, who has just announced that attempts to sell naming rights for the venerable Murrayfield Stadium are being stepped up, added: “Don’t get carried away with the fact we are lavishing lots and lots of money. It is a perfect arena, part of the scene (for the Autumn Test build up). It has all the things we need. It has the university (facilities), it has Madras rugby club across the road.

“It is the perfect venue and we do a very competitive deal with the hotel group so we are happy.

“It suits our purposes perfectly and it is good for St Andrews, the town.”

Dodson has also given his backing to beleaguered Edinburgh coaches including Michael Bradley, Neil Back and Billy McGinty, who have presided over seven defeats from nine starts this season.

How is it, though, that a player, Kyle Traynor, allowed to leave Edinburgh last season, has been able to bounce straight back into the national set-up when a large part of the pro team purpose is to nurture Scottish caps?

“I don’t think it was a mistake to let Kyle Traynor go from Edinburgh. Michael took a view from last season. Also, Kyle has benefited from a change in moving to Bristol. There have (also) been a number of injuries which is why Kyle has come back and we wish him well for the Autumn Tests which I don’t think are mission impossible.”