ONE of Scotland's leading rugby coaches fears ambitious players will be increasingly forced to move to England in their quest to climb the talent ladder.

Ian Rankin believes the top performers at Premiership level have had the pro team door slammed in their faces because of the recent influx of overseas signings and forecasts a stream of success-hungry players to the National League.

The former Edinburgh and Scotland A coach, now in charge of Dundee HSFP, was speaking ahead of his side's final British and Irish Cup pool match against Swansea at Mayfield tomorrow.

Loading article content

"Our back-row man Richie McIvor, who was last season's Premiership player of the year, was persuaded not to go travelling this season to try to get recognition at the next level. He has regularly produced man-of-the-match performances, including a storming display against the fully professional Cornish Pirates last Sunday.

"He has now attracted attention from a number of clubs at that grade in England. This looks like being the route he is going to follow, due to the current recruitment policy in Scotland which is frustrating a number of quality Scottish qualified players in the Premiership."

Both Glasgow and Edinburgh have signed imports over the past year, many of whom are not qualified for Scotland.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, are banking on a change of colours to spark a change of fortunes when they meet Saracens this weekend. It is the last chance for Michael Bradley's men to salvage some pride from a poor Heineken Cup campaign, in which they have yet to earn a point.

Because the kit clashes, they are hoping it will be all white on the night when they go into battle down south.

The Glasgow managing director, Craig Docherty, said: "The club's home and away kit for the season is designed, approved and in production long before the competition draw, so this isn't something we could have anticipated. However, we are delighted with the results and the speed in which our kit supplier, Macron, has been able to turn around a very good-looking white kit.

"While we expect it will be popular with fans, it wasn't financially viable to have it mass-produced for open sale but we will run a competition for season-ticket members, who will have the chance to win one as a thank you for their support this season."