A more positive attitude from Murrayfield towards Scotland's professional sides played a critical part in persuading Scotland fly-half Ruaridh Jackson to extend his contract at Glasgow for another two seasons.
Speaking after he had put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the Warriors until 2014, Jackson suggested that Edinburgh and Glasgow have more reasons to be optimistic following changes at the top of the Scottish Rugby Union.
Since taking the reins in recent months, the new SRU chief executive Mark Dodson and chairman Sir Moir Lockhead have both said that the pro teams will be given more resources and greater independence than they were allowed by the previous incumbents of those offices.
“There are a lot of changes within the SRU and things are more positive,” said Jackson. “There seems to be a lot more emphasis on the pro teams, so hopefully we will be able to get some more success.”
Jackson admitted that he had considered moving on to widen his horizons beyond Scotland, but in the light of such developments as the emergence of a raft of new players and the club’s impending move to Scotstoun Stadium, he concluded that staying put would be best for him.
Jackson said: “It [going abroad] was discussed briefly, but I feel pretty comfortable here. I honestly think that Glasgow is the place where I will develop best over the next couple of years. I’m still young enough to get some wider experiences later in my career, but I’m pretty happy here now. I want to progress here and get some success with Glasgow.
“The guys who were here stepped up while the Scotland players were at the World Cup. They’ve had some good wins. Everything seems to be going in the right direction, and that aided my decision in wanting to stay. I think we can do a lot this year. We’re fifth in the league at the moment, but we’re striving for the top four. The guys are young and ambitious; they have a winning feeling now and they want to keep hold of that.”
Jackson’s World Cup was ended by the hamstring injury that caused him to be taken off the pitch after just five minutes of Scotland’s final pool match, against England. Even if Scotland had gone all the way to the final, he would not have been able to play in the knockout stages.
Even so, the frustration of coming so close against both Argentina and England was intense. “We underachieved in terms of not making it out of the group,” he explained. “We played well enough to win against Argentina and England and win the group. That was the annoying thing. So the guys just want to go out and show what they can do now. Because of the way things ended for us, everyone was keen to get back and get involved. We just want to get back on the pitch and right some wrongs.”
Jackson has resumed training with Glasgow, but he admitted that he has still not completely shaken off the after effects of his injury. As a consequence, he looks unlikely to be included in the Glasgow side to face the Ospreys at Firhill on Friday when coach Sean Lineen names his starting line-up today.