It’s that time of year again…With some departures announced, contracts being extended and the first new signings confirmed we can start to look at how next season’s squad is shaping up.
Here is the official On Top Of The Moon depth chart for the Warriors 2016/17 as it stands at 8 March 2016 (click for large version):
Outs (in red):
- Leone Nakarawa (heavily linked with Racing 92)
- Taqele Naiyaravoro (confirmed – already replaced)
- Duncan Weir (confirmed)
- Kieran Low (it will be a surprise if he returns after 6 months on loan)
- Glenn Bryce (just waiting on official confirmation of his switch to Embra)
Ins (in green):
- Leonardo Sarto (confirmed)
- Corey Flynn (confirmed)
Out of contract (empty):
- Props – Yanuyanutawa, Findlay, Sebastian
- Hookers – Mamukashvili, K Bryce, Scott
- Back row – Eddie, Holmes, Bordill, Hill
- Fly-half – Gr Hunter
- Centre – Vernon
- Back 3 – Lamont, Murchie, Bulumakau, Hughes
With only one likely leaver in the top 16 names in the pack the big lads look like they will have some consistency from year to year. The biggest decision will be whether to look to sign someone of a similar level to Leone Nakarawa or to bring through young Scottish players. With Scott Cummings, Andrew Davidson and Calum Hunter-Hill all looking as if they have the potential to step up it’s important to strike the balance between putting too much pressure on their shoulders and not giving them enough exposure to develop. With players of the quality of James Malcolm and Matt Smith also available more and more of the backup slots in the squad are likely to be filled with recent SRA graduates.
There’s an imbalance in the half backs with a lot of depth at 9 but it seems almost certain a new face will be required to challenge for Finn Russell’s stand off jersey. Richie Vernon is the only out of contract centre and with young bucks Nick Grigg and Robbie Fergusson this is another area of depth for the Warriors. It’s in the back 3 where the most decisions have to be made. 5 wings / full backs are out of contract and the club currently have no Academy players coming through in this area. It will be hugely surprising if Sean Lamont and Peter Murchie aren’t retained next season. Rory Hughes and Junior Bulumakau have both had their moments but could Gregor Townsend’s head be turned by players looking for contracts after the world’s best 7s exponents have had their moment in the sun in Rio? With money in their pocket from the contract buy outs of Naiyaravoro and Nakarawa will the club splash the cash on a big name to bolster the back 3?
Credit to Rossco on the glasgowwarriors.com forum for his tireless work keeping track of player contracts and when they expire!