Metcalfe staying with Glasgow
Glenn Metcalfe has handed Scotland a boost before their Lloyds TSB Six Nations clash with Italy in Rome tomorrow.
Metcalfe, one of the most sought-after talents in the British game, has no intention of quitting Glasgow Caledonians, even if the Irish provinces fail to join an expanded Welsh-Scottish League next term.
On present form, the 28-year-old Auckland-born star is a certain British Lions tourist in 18 months' time.
Metcalfe has fired the Scotland back division since making his international debut on the 1998 tour to Australia. It was the Kiwi's devastating runs from deep, which demoralised France in Paris last season in the game that eventually saw them crowned final Five Nations champions.
With the resolution of a new domestic structure still some way off, potential suitors have been casting their eyes towards Metcalfe again, even though he signed a new three-year contract with the Reds just last summer.
However, Lord Mackay's all-encompassing report into the Scottish game stated quite categorically that the present Celtic league containing only Scottish and Welsh sides could be nothing more than a stop-gap solution. It added that unless a unified British competition - or at the very least an Irish addition to the
current championship - was put in place the Super Districts should be disbanded.
With the English having apparently turned their backs on a British League and the Irish still to decide where their loyalties lie, Metcalfe could be forgiven for deciding to test himself at a higher level either south of the border, or in France, where so many of his international colleagues are currently based.
"It would be nice to have the Irish teams along next year, but no matter what happens I will be staying with the Reds," said Metcalfe. "There were other clubs interested before I signed, but at the moment it
isn't the right time to leave. I am not saying it will never happen, but Scotland have made me what I am at
the moment. I love playing for the Reds and I have no plans to leave."
With new captain John Leslie having opted to join Newcastle following the cancellation of his contract with Japanese club Sanix, Metcalfe's insistence that he wants to stay in Scotland is an indication that the Super District structure is working.
But for the next few weeks it is the international scene which will dominate Metcalfe's thinking.
After having made such a positive impression last season, the player with the blinding pace and devastating side-step is eager to experience the same feelings again.
"The impact we made last season is something I will never forget," he said. "The memories of Paris are still vivid. We sat in the dressing room before the game and just decided to have a go. It was a turning point for us because no one gave us a chance."
That is roughly the same position Italy will find themselves in tomorrow. "We have to give them respect because Italy have a huge opportunity to bring their game back to what it was when they beat Scotland in Treviso two years ago," said Metcalfe. Their first Six Nations game, against Scotland, in Rome - they will be absolutely buzzing. Under those conditions, how silly would it be for us to go in there thinking
all we have to do is turn up and we will win. We deserved what we achieved last season, but it was last season."