Scottish Rugby linked to South African second-row David Meihuizen

23-year-old has been offered "an absolute fortune" according to Western Province head coach John Dobson

Murrayfield Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Murrayfield Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE business may be facing an £18million drop in turnover (at least), the audited accounts have still not arrived, and grassroots clubs are agonising about what the future holds, but Scottish Rugby’s appetite for overseas imports appears unabated, with the latest news out of South Africa being that 23-year-old Western Province second-row David Meihuizen is a target of Murrayfield’s ‘Scottish Qualified’ recruitment programme.

“He is in high demand from Scotland,” said Western Province head coach John Dobson to local press yesterday. “There have been informal approaches via his agent. In Scotland, if you get a 2.08m and 123kg player, that’s a big unit. I know he qualifies for England and Scotland.

“The only formal chat I have had is with David and that’s because Scotland are offering him an absolute fortune and he is a guy we want to keep here,” Dobson added later in the press briefing.


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It was reported last month that former South Africa Under-20 tight-head prop Luan de Bruin has been released from his contract with Toyota Cheetahs, and after linking up with Leicester Tigers on a short-term deal that will keep him at the Gallagher Premiership outfit until next summer, he will then apparently move north to Edinburgh on a three-year deal.

Scottish Rugby have said that they will not comment on speculation with regard to either player.

If either or both do end up at Edinburgh, they will be joining a fairly extensive cohort of repatriated South Africans. Second-row Andries Ferreira was signed up on a one-year deal in October, while stand-off Jaco van der Walt, winger Duhan van Merwe, loose-head prop Pierre Schoeman, tight-head prop WP Nel, scrum-half Nic Groom and hooker Mike Willemse, are all well established at the club now.

We also learned just before lockdown that centre Jordan Venter – a 17-year-old South African schoolboy – will join the club on an academy contract by the end of the year, after finishing his exams.

Meanwhile, it was revealed by the Sunday Times last weekend that Australian stand-off Charlie Savala and Kiwi winger Korie Winters (both aged 20 and Scottish qualified) had been recuited in October and added to Edinburgh’s European squad ahead of Saturday night’s Champions Cup campaign opener against La Rochelle.

Along the M8, Danny Wilson has also looked overseas to fill the gaps in his squad during this most gruelling of seasons with ready-made overseas reinforcements in the shape of Tongan back-row Fotu Lokotui, Samoan back-row TJ Ioane and English second-row Lewis Bean, being brought in on deals which have managed to avoid breaching the club’s Covid induced budget freeze.

It was also revealed in October that another teenage South African centre in Connor de Bruyn will be joining the Glasgow Warriors academy next year.

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Chief Executive Mark Dodson conceded after last month’s AGM [part2.1] that Scottish Rugby have been “later to the market” than usual with contract renewal negotiations for existing players.

“We’re having headline conversations,” he explained. “We’re probably later to the market, but everyone is late to the market this year. We, like Ireland and to some extent Wales, needed to secure our own position before we even started having those headline conversations.

“There are a lot of guys who feel we’re at a really exciting juncture in Scottish rugby,” he added. “We’re going through a transition in Glasgow, and Cockers [Richard Cockerill] is trying to get a winning style of play at Edinburgh, which he’s clear about. The national team is much more competitive than it was this time last year.

“Most of the players are enthusiastic about staying, but we haven’t had any real deep, meaningful conversations yet. We have to wait and get this year out of the way.”


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About David Barnes 2991 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

26 Comments

  1. Am I the only one dreaming to have a national team with 100% Scottish born players?? Can you imagine to have 15 (23+) Hogg’s, Gray’s, Russell’s…. ?? All playing for the country they were born… and bet the performance will totally different and better.!!

  2. My Scotland XV i want to represent us in the summer tour.

    Maitland – Tagive – Steyn – Johnson – Van Der Merwe – Van Der Valt – Price – Du Preez – Gordon – Thomson – Toolis – Meihuizen – Nel – Mcinally – Schoeman

    The future is looking bright.

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  3. This is a strange possibility. If we are well served in any position out of that generation of players it is lock forward. Cummings, Carmichael, Skinner, Davidson, Bain, Hunter Hill, Hodgson, Craig, and Burr, all playing professionally, and Marshall Sykes, Cameron Henderson, looking promising just a little younger. Why spend big bucks to bring him over when there are other areas of development that look as though we may need to recruit from as wide a pool as possible?

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  4. It’s a funny one all this instinctively I hate it, but logically it makes sense to get those guys in cheap because we need a certain standard of player to compete, and quite frankly they ain’t coming through

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  5. Do the recent overseas dealings tell us that Dodson / Mallinder / Lineen believe that Super 6 is not fit for purpose?

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    • well we know what went before did not work well enough. We do know that. We also know S6 played about half of one season before the pandemic shut down rugby, but hey you can write it off as a failure. Well done.

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      • Doesn’t matter if I write Super 6 off as a failure or not, it’s what Dodson, Mallinder and Lineen think that’s important, but the fact that they haven’t managed to get them training or playing whilst both the Highland & Lowland league are playing competitively tells me a lot about what they think the level of Super 6 is at.

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  6. The development programme is an utter joke. We stream far too early discouraging vast swathes of boys, in some case of playing at all. I recall a brilliant full back from St Columbas’ (lad called Logan) who never got a shot at even U16 pathways and quit the game completely. He was, as every club coach knew in Glasgow, the best of his year group in the position. The star flanker of another school was cut and quit the programme but dominates every game he plays. A brilliant 10 refused to play 9 and was binned. A chunky guy developed late and is on no ones radar. We need to keep the 4 regions running a big 40 man squad playing Blue v White themselves when conference fixtures are off in the post Xmas period (normal years) and and inter region matches in the summer all the ay to U20. We also need much higher standard of coaches. Not badges but brains & empathy. Some older club coach or school coach heads and really talented bright younger ones alongside. We need massive support of youth club rugby – an actual incentive.. We need a third franchise in England’s Championship. We need to stop this residency farce. It is there only to try and protect the failings of the Dodson reign. Burning our future to cover for the mistakes of today. I am aghast

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  7. The development programme is an utter joke. We stream far too early discouraging vast swathes of boys, in some case of playing at all. I recall a brilliant full back from St Columbas’ (lad called Logan) who never got a shot at even U16 pathways and quit the game completely. He was, as every club coach knew in Glasgow, the best of his year group in the position. The star flanker of another school was cut and quit the programme but dominates every game he plays. A brilliant 10 refused to play 9 and was binned. A chunky guy developed late and is on no ones radar. We need to keep the 4 regions running a big 40 man squad playing Blue v White themselves when conference fixtures are off in the post Xmas period (normal years) and and inter region matches in the summer all the ay to U20. We also need much higher standard of coaches. Not badges but brains & empathy. Some older club coach or school coach heads and really talented bright younger ones alongside. We need massive support of youth club rugby – an actual incentive.. We need a third franchise in England’s Championship. We need to stop this residency farce. It is there only to try and protect the failings of the Dodson reign. Burning our future to cover for the mistakes of today. I am aghast

  8. a fortune to an uncapped SA player is an order of magnitude different to a fortune to any pro player in Scotland. And its his coach justifying why he loses players, or quoting the player’s agents story (who in turn is trying to push his clients value up)

    David Barnes is not a stupid man. He knows this. For him to explain why he is acting like a headline writer for the Sun

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  9. I think I see what our rugby development strategy is.

    Club game not “fit for purpose” so we will ignore that or at best pat it on the head, give them a few coppers and then ignore them.

    Part fund a semi pro tier whose purpose seems to be unknown. Pull in a few S6 players when the pro teams are short. Don’t talk about Old Glory or Nice!

    Then put all the chips on Scotland. Acquire players from around the globe. Push Scottish players further down the pecking order as they will get less game time due to these high earners. I believe the term for a Scottish pro is tacklebag holder.

    All at a time of a cash crisis when we’ve had to go to the bank asking for a loan.

    Yep makes complete sense to me.

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    • That doesn’t align with the current squad though does it, or the Glasgow squad, or the Edinburgh squad.

      There is clearly a pathway for home grown Scottish players, there is a load of them playing across the 3 sides.

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  10. Where are all the Scottish players coming through that Dobson says were loaned out to Stade Nicois, DC Rugby, the players emerging from Super 6 or the allegiance with a Premiership club to provide for that “3rd team” to develop youth players outside of the public schools?

    We produced a much better standard of international player from the county system than has been produced by the professional teams. If you were to look at rugby club membership, and amateur player registrations in his tenure of nine years…I would make an educated bet it has gone down. The community development comes through those clubs, as do the players of the future.

    The sooner this lad is gone, the better.

    We need our grass roots clubs to be strong financially, and emotionally with them being the centre of communities. That’s the platform you build for future internationals and professionals to appear. Not some random club in the fourth tier of French rugby, or an American club that has very limited appeal, or for that matter in southern hemisphere players whose Granny’s dog was a Scottish Terrier.

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    • Hamish Bain, had been at Stade back at Glasgow.
      Rufus McLean, Super 6 last season with Glasgow this year,
      Connor Boyle, Super 6 last season with Edinburgh this year,
      Rory Darge, Super 6 product with Edinburgh,
      Chamberlain has actually skipped Super 6 and is just back up at Edinburgh
      Jack Blain has performed superbly well for Edinburgh and was playing Super 6.

      These are all players who meet the criteria you mention, let’s not pretend these things aren’t happening.

      There clearly is chances for home grown talent to come through as it literally happening, we are only a year removed from Glasgow taking to the park with a squad of 19 from 23 who were home grown…

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      • So why would we be bringing in an SA 2nd row (if accurate), two players from down under and various other odds and sods from other parts of the world if this is working as well as you suggest?

        This isn’t binary – no one suggests that up and coming pros or aspiring ones aren’t getting picked. Likewise it isn’t all fabulous either.

        We could and should be doing better. Bring more imports in doesn’t help IMO

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      • The question I was replying to was “Where are all the Scottish players coming through that Dobson says were loaned out to Stade Nicois” I mentioned a few of them to show examples of this happening, because it IS happening…..it was spoken like as though it isn’t which is just a bit of a knowledge gap needing filled 🙂

        How do you define import, not a Hamish Watson fan?

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    • The question was “Where are all the Scottish players coming through that Dobson says were loaned out to Stade Nicois” I mentioned a few of them to show examples of this happening, because it IS happening.

      I have never had an issue with Scotland looking around the world to be competitive. I like players like Nel, Johnson and VDM as you have said, the two things aren’t binary it is possible for Scotland to have project players AND for young players to develop and come through

      Those players most likely are helping, can’t be understated how much working with a Nel will have done for Fagerson, how much a VDM has helped with the betterment of Edinburgh and thus the ticket sells there (pre all this) which in turn helps fund Edinburgh and helps with their retention and recruitment of home grown players etc and so on…same applies with the National team.

      Everyone wants to see a steady stream of World Class talent coming through, goes without saying, but actually executing that is incredibly difficult (clearly) you only have to look at how other nations follow the similar path to Scotland to bridge short term talent gaps.

  11. UNREAL – for a Scottish Governing Body of Sport going cap in hand for SG emergency support funding!

    This foreign player recruitment policy appears to emanate from the dark side of the moon (or Manchester!) – simply highlighting the unsustainability of the current ProTeam race to financial oblivion, jeopardising the whole of Scottish rugby, from grassroots upwards.

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    • can you tell me which Rugby Governing body has NOT gone to its Govt asking for financial aid? Most have already had it (yes in addition to furloughs etc available to all businesses). And not just in the UK & I

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