Every team has that player whom debauchery follows as easily as B follows A. England have Manu Tuilagi, Wales have Andy Powell, Ireland had the prankster antics of Donncha O’Callaghan, and Scotland seems to have found their trouble-maker in Ryan Wilson.
The question is: is more than an assault charge required?
Wilson has been tried and convicted of hitting the Glasgow Hawks captain Ally Maclay, his team mate Rory Hughes, and Gavin Quinn on Halloween, resulting in a £1,000 fine from the court. The SRFU added to this by giving Wilson a further three month ban from games and training, which brings his monetary fines up to around £25,000.
Is Wilson worth this trouble? For his team Glasgow Warriors, probably; for Scotland, probably not. For Glasgow, Wilson undeniably played a crucial part in helping them secure their Guinness Pro 12 trophy, and has done something rare for forwards – which is to score three times. Furthermore, Wilson has received 104 caps with 70 of those for starting. He seems like the go-to Glaswegian back row.
In his international career he has been included 16 times and started in 11 matches, including three out of four wins in the 2015 World Cup, but yet has zero points on his international record. If we compare Wilson to another back rower, say David Denton, they just do not compare. Denton is older than Wilson but has still accumulated 34 starting caps – albeit alongside no points – and he is a dynamic and threatening presence anywhere on the pitch who is always sorely missed in Scotland’s XV.
Scotland have an abundance of world class back rows and at the moment Wilson is doing well. However with one slip up, the volatile Wilson could be pushed out by a number of more angelic contenders.
Image courtesy of Chris Brown.