It’s been just over a month since the first look at the On Top Of The Moon depth chart for the Warriors 2016/17 – and another 5 names have been added to next season’s squad. Two more re-signings have been announced along with three academy players who will move onto their first Pro contracts, bringing the total to 39 players confirmed for the full-time squad.
Here is the official On Top Of The Moon depth chart for the Warriors 2016/17 as it stands at 23 April 2016 (click for large version):
In all likelihood there’s still one place looshead place available in the squad and until now it had looked like a straight shootout between Jerry Yanuyanutawa and Djustice Sears-Duru. There’s a new name in the frame though with 23-year old Stormers LH, Oli Kebble rumoured to be heading to Scotland as a project player. With tighthead Javan Sebastian heading back to Wales it will be interesting to see who the club plan to bring in for more of a development role and to provide additional cover. There are currently no options in the Glasgow and Caledonia academies outwith Stage 2 players – who are probably still a bit away from being involved in the first team. The hooking ranks are full with 4 full time pros and a good academy prospect.
It may not be officially confirmed but it’s a near certainty that Leone Nakarawa is leaving for Racing 92 and it’s highly unlikely that Kieran Low will return after being on loan for longer than he actually spent at Glasgow this season! There’s plenty of depth with Andrew Davidson and Calum Hunter-Hill looking like the next youngsters to step up after Scott Cummings – but there is still room for a marquee signing in this position. Toony could look at Fiji’s Olympic 7s squad and try and go like-for-like with Naka or go more traditional and scour New Zealand or South Africa for an abrasive lock to bring a harder edge to the side’s forward play.
The Warriors top picks are all signed up but there is still some depth to be added. Matt Smith had an outstanding under 20s Six Nation for Scotland and could break through next year. There may be room for James Eddie to sign up for an 11th season with Glasgow – although 6 is the one position in the back row where a high quality veteran with no international commitments could challenge / back-up Bob Harley and provide depth during the Six Nations.
Even without the retiring Mike Blair scrum half looks well covered with George Horne returning back up the road from almost a full season at London Scottish (to learn from the master himself) to add to the 3 full-time pros. With only 2 stand offs there may be room for another signing – although with Pete Horne likely to play in the 10 shirt as well the gap may be for more of a 12/10 than a specialist fly half.
There’s a Richie Vernon shaped hole in the centre cohort as things stand. His re-signing or otherwise could depend on how much faith Gregor Townsend has in Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg to continue to develop – and the coach will hoping this summer’s MacPhail scholarship is as beneficial for Patrick Kelly as it has been for some other recent alumni. Even with these young players stepping up, as mentioned above, if Pete Horne is expected to spend significant amounts of time at stand off then there may be room for an experienced 12/10 to help out in these positions – especially during the international windows. Stormers’ centre, Huw Jones, has been linked with a move to Scotland. As a 13 his signing wouldn’t help out at 10 but given he also covers 14 and 15 he would add to the options in the back 3 as well. Given his contract doesn’t run out until the end of next season though, this may be more of a long-term project than someone who will be moving this summer.
Even with the promising Leonardo Sarto signed up for next season this is an area where the club could make a statement of intent. With Mr. T returning to Australia and the rumours being Sean Lamont (another of the Warriors’ highest earners) may not be back next season there’s room for someone to challenge for the first team. Maybe a non-Six Nations international who’s reportedly not settled in his new Welsh home? Or any one of half a dozen human highlight reels currently ripping it up for the Fijian 7s side? Depth-wise Rory Hughes has surely done enough to earn a contract extension and there may be room for Junior Bulumakau in a dual Glasgow / Scotland 7s role – although a wing / full back would be useful with only two specialist 15s in the squad. Options are somewhat restricted in this are by the lack of Stage 3 outside backs in the Glasgow and Caledonia academies which means Toony will need to keep casting the net wide to cover these positions.
Some big earners are moving off the payroll and there will be a smaller squad in 2016/17 (due to no RWC interruptions) so there’s potentially room for some significant signings with the key possibilities being (in order of likelihood):
- Wing / full back
- Second row (who covers 6?)
- A 10/12 or a 12/10
With another 3 or 4 re-signings or new players to be announced as well there’s still plenty for Warriors’ fans to keep their eyes peeled for over the next couple of months!
Credit to Rossco on the glasgowwarriors.com forum for his tireless work keeping track of player contracts and when they expire!