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Watch - Things get awkward as Glasgow coach grilled on McLean revelations

By Ian Cameron
Franco Smith was grilled by STV on the suspension of Rufus McLean

Things got pretty awkward for Glasgow Warriors head coach Franco Smith when he was grilled about the revelations about the private life of winger Rufus McLean.

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The club confirmed yesterday that McLean faces disciplinary proceedings after pleading guilty to domestic abuse charges. The 22-year-old faced charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday and his rugby union future could be decided today (Thursday).

Smith was grilled by STV on McLean’s situation and was tight-lipped about the impact the revelations of domestic abuse had on his club.

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“Yeah, it’s unfortunate. It’s not going to influence what we’ve been doing on the pitch and we are going to keep our eye on that. It’s obviously a difficult period for everyone, but for now we are not going to see that as a distraction.

“There’s internal investigations going on by the club. The rugby part of things are just going to concentrate on what the outcome of what the rugby games will be.”

STV asked if the club knew he was charged in December and if so, why hadn’t he been suspended at that time.

“I can’t comment on that. Obviously, it’s like I said, I come in with a mission to make the team on the field better and to improve the player quality. And that is my focus the whole time.”

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Smith said that it had no impact on the squad. “Our job depends on the support of the people coming out to see us tomorrow night [against Bath]. We want to present the best of ourselves and that’s our only focus.

“I’ve spoken to him [McLean] yes,” said Smith. “He’s well. He’s in good health, [he’s] obviously really disappointed and really sad [about] what’s happened. It’s a process of more than two years and I just think he is tired.”

The South African said he couldn’t comment on whether he thought it was possible for McLean to return.

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A Warriors statement on Wednesday read: “Rufus McLean is suspended from all club activity and is unavailable for selection following a guilty plea to charges under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 in December 2022.

“Glasgow Warriors does not condone abuse of any kind and therefore, along with Scottish Rugby, immediately suspended the player following his plea.

“An internal investigation has been instigated and a disciplinary hearing will be held this week.

“Legal proceedings in this matter are not concluded therefore no further comment will be made at this time.”

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In rugby news Smith has made ten changes as Glasgow look to extend their winning run and seal a home tie in the European Challenge Cup knockout stage.

Warriors now need one point from Friday’s home game against Bath to guarantee a last-16 tie at Scotstoun after Bristol were docked five points on Wednesday for fielding an ineligible player.

Smith’s side are assured of their place in the knockout stages after winning all three of their games so far as part of a seven-match winning sequence.

The Glasgow head coach has recalled the likes of lock Alex Samuel, back-row forwards Sione Vailanu and Matt Fagerson, half-backs Ali Price and Tom Jordan, centre Sione Tuipulotu and wingers Kyle Steyn and Sebastian Cancelliere.

The South African said: “It’s important for us to keep our momentum going into a match against a strong opponent.

additional reporting PA

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