Scotland to raid New Zealand system?

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 11:03
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Glasgow Warriors centre Nick Grigg was playing for Petone club in Wellington, New Zealand - where he was born and raised - before uploading a YouTube video that would change his life.

The highlight reel was brought to the attention of Scottish coaches who were interested in Grigg. After discovering his grandfather hailed from Scotland, Grigg was jettisoned over to Europe.

Fast forward to 2018 and Grigg is an international rugby player, having debuted last year for Scotland.

“There are loads of guys that come through school and don’t quite make the New Zealand franchises,” Grigg told the BBC.

“I guess they get involved in other sports, in university and work, so they don’t really get to push for that goal they wanted.”

Grigg believes that there are more players out there that would be in a similar position to himself, who made the Wellington under-20s sides and Hurricanes development squad but didn’t get the opportunity to play professionally.

“I know it’s always good when you have the Scottish born-and-bred coming through, but there are lots of people back home that would be keen to come over and give it a shot as well,” said Grigg.

“But you can say that about every country really, I guess I was just lucky enough to put up a video on YouTube and come over here.”

He trialled with the Glasgow Warriors in 2015 and earned a spot in the Scottish Rugby Academy. Upon graduating from the academy in March 2016, the Warriors offered him a professional contract.

Scotland has expanded their search for eligible players abroad, launching their Scottish Qualified programme in October of 2017.

They have scouts stationed overseas looking for players who are eligible to represent Scotland, hoping to bolster their national ranks.

Grigg’s explosive running game translated to the pro game, showing similar burst for Glasgow in the Pro14 as he did for Petone.

It begs the question just how many players are there in New Zealand eligible for European nations.

By Colin Brooke, RugbyPass

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