JOHN HARDIE has been suspended from playing for both Edinburgh and Scotland pending an internal investigation by the Scottish Rugby Union. This is not related to the late night incident a fortnight ago which led to Edinburgh club captain Magnus Bradbury suffering a concussion.
It is of a serious enough nature that Hardie’s rugby future in this country is in jeopardy, and it is not believed to relate to a specific on-field or training pitch event.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 3)
A short statement issued by the governing body said that: “Scottish Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby confirm Scotland international and Edinburgh forward, John Hardie, has been suspended from duty pending an internal investigation.”
“As a result, the player will not be available for selection for Edinburgh, or the Scotland National Team.
“It is normal practice with such matters that we are unable to comment further given the nature of the investigation.”
The New Zealand born flanker qualifies for Scotland through his grandmother from Fife. He made his international debut against Italy in a warm-up match ahead of the 2015 World Cup and was one of the national team’s outstanding performers in that tournament, before signing for Edinburgh at the start of the 2015-16 season. He has since played 25 games for the capital outfit – with injury, international commitment and, more recently, a drop in form limiting his game time.
In the meantime, Hamish Watson has emerged from Hardie’s shadow to become, arguably, the senor open-side for both club and country.
Gregor Townsend names his Scotland training squad for the Autumn Test Series on Monday and will not be overly restricted by the unavailability of Hardie given the range of options at his disposal in the back-row.
Watson will be favourite to wear the number seven jersey, assuming he shakes off the shoulder niggle which has kept him out of action this weekend; while Edinburgh team-mate Jamie Ritchie has been in fine form this year and could also do a job there; and Glasgow Warriors captain Ryan Wilson started at open-side flanker in Scotland’s summer test against Italy in Singapore.
John Barclay is back training after a head-knock and Townsend has said he expects the 31-year-old, who has captained Scotland in their last six outings, to be back in time for the Samoa match on 11th November.
Hardie’s absence will be more keenly felt by Edinburgh, who will miss his combativeness and his experience – although Currie Chieftains prospect Luke Crosbie has made a big impression on Cockerill during the last two months and has been rewarded with a first start for the club against Krasny Yar in the European Challenge Cup this weekend.