Ex-Scotland player feels residency players “devalue” team

Former Scotland international Craig Chalmers believes Scotland look “desperate” by picking four South African-born players in their match-day squad for Ireland.

Jaco van der Walt will win his first cap for Scotland on Saturday and he is joined by fellow South African’s Duhan van der Merwe, Oli Kebble and WP Nel in the squad to face Ireland.

All four qualified for Scotland on residency rules but Chalmers told RugbyPass that he feels like their inclusion in the squad “devalues” the team.

“I understand it’s the rules and it’s not the guys’ fault, but I just feel that the team is losing its identity.

“I just think it’s too much now. I just think it looks a bit desperate that we’re trawling the world.

“One of the most upsetting things for me is why don’t these guys want to play for South Africa – they’ve got world champion teams, surely they’ve been inspired by them to play for South Africa and do as well as they can in their own country.

“I played with and against so many guys who didn’t get capped that probably should have, and to see people getting capped like this, it just devalues it,” Chalmers said.

‘We’re not developing players the way we should be’

The former British and Irish Lion believes the Scottish Rugby Union should focus more attention on developing home grown talent, rather than persuading overseas players to come play in Scotland.

“It’s not the players’ fault and I’ll be supporting them on Saturday,” he added. The former stand-off believes money is being thrown “at the wrong areas” by Scottish Rugby, and believes young homegrown players are being overlooked.

“There are three players in the team all from Hawick [Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham and Rory Sutherland] and there are others that are being missed from all over Scotland.

“You look at what’s happening at Glasgow at the moment when the internationals are away, you look at where the U20s are in terms of being out of the top tier and there has to be something done with the club game, it’s not right.

“We are not developing and bringing players through the way we should be,” Chalmers commented.

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