More years ago than I care to remember, a relative of mine said my then job as a rugby correspondent must be a breeze, because the season only lasted from September to April. 

“What would you write about in the summer? ” he asked. And to be honest, I had to mumble something about golf or cricket. 

These days it is still a challenge to write about rugby out of season, but then along comes a week like we’ve just had and the problem of suitable subjects just disappears.

I am not going to write too much about the appointment of Ruth Davidson as a non-executive director of the Scottish Rugby Union’s operational board. Suffice to say I checked the calendar and funnily enough it wasn’t April 1, for with the possible exemption of Boris Johnson and the ghost of Maggie Thatcher, I cannot think of a more divisive figure to be one of the SRU’s figureheads. 

I note the online petition calling for her removal has reached 10,000 signatures, but I also note the many promises by supporters to cancel season tickets or not spend their hard-earned cash on Scotland replica kit – the World Cup version of which was launched while the furore over Davidson’s appointment was raging on. Genius marketing…

I say to those fans that their money is needed to pay wages, and don’t punish players, coaches and backroom staff for a piece of incomprehensible blazerati recruitment – and were all HR procedures followed?

Having met her, I am well aware that Ruth Davidson is quite a personable individual and that she did take a stand against Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister.  But the fact is she’s a Tory, a divisive one at that, and sits in the Lords as Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links, though that should be London Links because try as I might, all I can think of that she will bring to the SRU is her much-vaunted connections at Westminster.

Mark Soutar’s appointment as non-executive director was announced at the same time, and at least he has a proven track record in the media industry. I quote the words of Board chairman, John McGuigan: “I am delighted Ruth and Mike have agreed to join the SRL Board. They bring significant experience gained over many years in areas that will be critical as we continue to evolve the game in Scotland.”

I await with highly unbated breath the product of Ruth Davidson’s efforts for the SRU. And yes, I’ll be checking.

The National:

We know what Stuart Hogg did for Scottish Rugby and I have to say his announcement of immediate retirement, though not a surprise, still came as a shock, while the thought of going into the World Cup without him at full-back is truly saddening.

Yet I totally understand his reasons, not least because he is the father of young children, as I was when I had to quit playing at the same age of 31. The surgeon handed me a test tube containing white bits floating in a solution and said ‘that’s what is left of your right knee’s cartilage’. I was a battered old prop playing 2nd XV rugby in the lower divisions, and the doc’s verdict of ‘no more rugby for you’ devastated me. How much, much worse must it be for a truly world-class player to have to listen to what his body is telling him and walk away from the sport that he has so greatly enhanced?

I am aware that along with many rugby players and footballers as they reach their thirties, Stuart Hogg is finding it more and more difficult to recover from the sheer physical effects that the modern high-pressure game is having on his body. I remember interviewing one footballer who retired from playing and went into coaching at 31 – ‘I just knew my legs were gone,’ he said. I have never heard a better explanation for a premature retirement.

There have already been several articles suggesting a replacement and Blair Kinghorn of Edinburgh Rugby is in pole position having understudied Hogg. He and Hogg have one big asset in common – sheer pace, as Kinghorn showed with that classic try against Italy in the Six Nations. I suspect Ollie Smith will one day wear the No. 15 jersey regularly, but he is still only 22 and has three caps while Kinghorn is 26 and quite astonishingly has quietly amassed 43 caps – he could conceivably reach the 50 in France this autumn.

No offence to either player, but they are not in the class of Hogg yet, and he will be a big miss in France. Yet for his honesty in quitting now after his frankly magnificent contribution to the cause of Scotland’s rugby team,  Hogg has done Gregor Townsend and the squad a favour, for it would have been agonising to watch him continue when he was clearly failing to match his own supreme standards.

We can only hope that we will see his like again.