Connect with us

World

George Turner raises doubts over Scotland future after making switch to Japan

Published

on

Scotland’s first-choice hooker George Turner has signed for Japanese side Kobelco Kobe Steelers in a move likely to have implications for his international career.

Glasgow announced last month that the 31-year-old forward would be ending his seven-year stint at Scotstoun, which has coincided with him winning 45 caps, at the end of this season.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Turner has agreed to join Kobe for the 2024-25 campaign in a transfer that will reunite him with his former Warriors head coach Dave Rennie, who now holds the same role with the Japanese side.

The front-rower, who has become a mainstay of Gregor Townsend’s starting XV, revealed that playing at the 2019 World Cup in Japan had fuelled his desire to move to the Far East.

“I’m really looking forward to playing for the Kobe Steelers,” Turner said. “I couldn’t pass up such a great opportunity to live and play in Japan. I’ve always wanted to go back since the World Cup in 2019.

“Kobe are a great team, and I can’t wait to add whatever I can to their success. It’s a wonderful adventure for myself but also my family, who will gain so much from the experience. Japanese rugby is super exciting and I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge!”

Turner has the chance to leave Glasgow on a high if they can secure United Rugby Championship glory over the next two weekends. The Warriors face Munster away in the play-off semi-final this Saturday.

It remains to be seen how the move will impact Turner’s Scotland career. There is nothing strictly precluding him from selection but the Japan Rugby League One schedule clashes directly with the Six Nations, placing his involvement in the tournament in obvious jeopardy.

Beyond Turner, Scotland currently have a shortage of obvious options at hooker, with Stuart McInally retiring last summer, Fraser Brown doing likewise this summer and Dave Cherry having dropped out of the national team picture since withdrawing from last year’s World Cup squad with a concussion sustained when he slipped on the stairs at the team hotel in Nice during a team day off.

If Turner becomes unavailable as a result of his move, Edinburgh’s Ewan Ashman and free-scoring Glasgow forward Johnny Matthews would be the only established hookers available to head coach Townsend, who is due to face the media on Wednesday as he names his squad for the summer tour of North and South America.

Continue Reading