SHINGLER STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

Steven Shingler lined up for London Irish against Cardiff in the Heineken Cup this weekend after a frustrating week as his international eligibility has been the hot topic in Rugby all week.

Shingler has been the centre of the row between Wales and Scotland over who he has the right to play for.

Shingler represented Wales at youth level but has since stated his desire to play for Scotland, who also want to have the opportunity to select the London Irish youngster. His coach at Irish, Toby Booth last week, in the build up to the Cardiff Blues encounter, told of how the whole affair had negatively affected Shingler.

Shingler’s agent is said to be consulting a lawyer to look into the legal possibilities open to the player to take to ensure he can play for Scotland in the future.

Booth describes this as “a massive distraction” to the player and the whole week’s affair is said to have taken a lot out of him. He was however selected for the game against Cardiff, due wholly to Booth’s belief the game was a “must win encounter.”

As it was Irish lost the game and are now out of the Heineken Cup. Ironically for Shingler on the opposing team was Ben Morgan. Morgan is qualified to play for Wales and has represented them at youth level, yet is committed to and is legally able to play for England.

He himself is using Cardiff’s Heineken Cup campaign as a chance to make a name for himself and try to force himself into Stuart Lancaster, and any successor’s plans. He is in England’s 32 man elite squad and believed an impressive performance against the Saints would improve his chances of gaining a cap.

Shingler will hope his case will be settled sooner or later, as will Toby Booth and all involved with London Irish. The affair is not a simple one though and could rumble on for some time, with various bodies to go through and various appeals to consider on both sides.

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