After a frustrating week confined to the pleasant but less-than-glamorous surroundings of Newport's Stakis Hotel, it was hardly surprising to find that Scotland's current rugby professionals have thrown their weight behind the case for summer rugby.

While Scotland's finest footballers basked in the sunshine of the Costa del Sol and the USA during their winter shutdown, their rugby counterparts have been watching the rain pour on to South Wales, leaving them to ponder how brown are those valleys.

It has been a miserable few days for them, particularly Edinburgh Reivers, following the cancellation of their opening fixtures in the Welsh Challenge Trophy, at Pontypridd and Caerphilly. Glasgow Caledonians did manage to play and win their opener against Ebbw Vale on Sunday, but were left idle on Wednesday night when their meeting with Bridgend was washed out.

''The sort of carry-on which we have experienced over the past few days does no-one any good,'' said Caley's Gareth Flockhart, his comments heartily endorsed by several of his colleagues in both squads. ''Even if games go ahead at this time of year, how can we be expected to improve our ability and skills on sodden and muddy pitches with the wind swirling around?

''We should be playing the important matches when conditions are at their best, leaving the mid-winter for general fitness training, or for holidays, when we can go abroad for better weather.''

In voicing their support of switching the season around, as rugby league has done, the current players are merely echoing the views expressed by the great and the good of the Scottish game over recent years.

In his autobiography published in 1994, Gavin Hastings claimed the conditions enjoyed by the Southern Hemisphere countries playing in their winter provides them with a huge advantage over the Europeans, who must work on their skills wrapped in thermals and waterproofs.

A few months later, his fellow British Lions captain Finlay Calder supported that view, even going so far as to say that, if need be, the Five Nations' Champion-ship should be scrapped in order to make way for a switch to summer rugby.

''In Scotland we fight a continual battle with the elements,'' he observed back then. ''From November to February it is sheer hell. The conditions we have to train and play in are appalling.

''The season should begin in April and if that means Scotland opting out of the Five Nations' Championship, then so be it.''

Those comments were made at a time when expectations were still high as Scotland entered Europe's premier competition.

Those who believed that this was merely the view of a generation that has become too soft were doubtless shocked when no less an authority than that gnarled old Borderer Jim Telfer subsequently gave the notion his support.

In considering the conditions in which our youngsters are forced to learn their rugby, it is difficult to argue against the logic of their position.

Maybe our youngsters are a more pampered lot these days, but that is reality and we have to face up to it. Fortunately, many hundreds and thousands of youngsters the length and breadth of the country still go for the healthy option - but how much easier would it be to recruit if conditions were less off-putting?

The argument against it is essentially a cultural one, which I, for one, have adhered to, believing the spread of touch rugby to be the best option for honing skills in the summer months.

In Scotland, golf remains very much a people's game and dominates the summer for many of the sporting-minded from an early age.

Cricket may not be as high-profile in Scotland, but its playing numbers are fairly comparable to rugby's and, as a major minority sport, it tends to draw from similar communities.

However, to follow that reason-ing through, it is impossible to argue that golf and cricket, albeit the other way round, have a greater hold on Scots than they do on the Roses counties. Yet Yorkshire and Lancashire have more than coped with the fact that the rugby league and cricket seasons now overlap hugely.

With a little bit of imagination it should not be impossible to create a schedule that would largely be mutually compatible.

Another advantage would be that if the Northern Hemisphere switched to summer, while the Southern Hemisphere kept rugby as a winter sport, there would be standardisation of the seasons, with all sorts of benefits for touring and World Cup organisation.

All of which sounds tremendous in theory, but at a time when rugby administrators in every European country are battling to produce structures which minimise demands on players, keep clubs satisfied, but also provide for proper preparation for Test rugby, just how high on anyone's priority list is such a drastic change?

The truth is that it has not even registered as a serious consideration with the powers that be, or for that matter are to be.

The best Scotland could hope for, now that the Five/Six Nations Championship scheduling has been moved back in the season, is to emulate the football boys and take January off.

Whether that solves the problem in the longer term is, however, very much a moot point.

Inasmuch as they have picked a particularly miserable January for their first shutdown, football has got lucky. The real reason for their three-week lay-off from domestic competition, however, is to give players a break, rather than, specifically, to avoid the worst of the weather.

After all, in this God-forsaken land, who is to say that the worst of the weather, whether it be a deep freeze, torrential rain, or gale-force winds, will not arrive in February or March?

Indeed, consider what is it that golfers mean when they talk about typical Open weather - and that is in mid-July.

Nor, for such as the aforementioned Flockhart, who should be anticipating involvement in senior national squads over the next few weeks, can there be much expectation of a winter break even if Scotland's clubs opt to take January off.

Because make no mistake, that nice Mr Telfer might enjoy a bit of sun on his back, but if there were no weekend fixtures so close to a Five Nations campaign, it would probably just mean he could make these professionals work for a living every day of the week, rather than having to worry about taking too much out of them ahead of the weekend in slogging through the mud on Thursdays and Fridays.