Once A Warrior 2016: Part 4 – Experienced exits

Some of Glasgow’s, shall we say, more mature players have taken their leave of the club. Here’s to the older generation!

Mike Cusack

Appearances – 48

Key stat – 13 consecutive appearances at the start of the 2012/13 season – the only player in the squad not to miss a game during Gregor Townsend’s first 3 months in charge.

Big Mike made an appropriately large impression on the Glasgow faithful when he joined the club. He had a transformative effect on the Warriors scrum where he was a rock-like presence at tighthead. Unfortunately injury and illness intervened, winnowing out the best part of two years of Mike’s career. His eventual comeback brought with it official recognition as a Scotsman, picking up caps in the RWC warm up matches, and, after 40 matches, his first ever try for Glasgow at the start of the 2015/16 season (in fact this appears to be the only try he’s scored in 14 years as a pro!)

After a short spell with Newcastle when he left the Warriors, 2016/17 will see Coo going back to where it all started for him with Yorkshire Carnegie (Leeds Tykes as were back in his first spell).

Tyrone Holmes

Appearances – 34

Key stat – 15.3 tackles per game in 2014/15 – the highest in the squad.

It’s hard to overstate how much work Tyrone got through when he was on the pitch. The man from Johannesburg relished tackling people in a way that bordered on the obsessive. Across the last three seasons no other Warrior can match his tackles per game ratio. He was unlucky with some disruptive and unfortunately timed injuries which hampered his chances of pressing his case for more regular inclusion in the starting line-up. His biggest moment during his time in Scotland actually came back in South Africa where he made his Test debut against the land of his birth in 2014 (and, unsurprisingly, his tackle ratio in that game was higher than any other player).

Tyrone has joined up with a growing Scottish enclave (Scott Lawson, Jon Welsh, Andrew Davidson, Ally Hogg) down the road at Newcastle Falcons.

Mike Blair

Appearances – 12

Key stat – 578 passes thrown.

A single season playing for Glasgow may not be enough to wash away the stain of the memory of all those appearances in the black and red, but Mike won over the Warriors’ faithful with his all action performances and canny game management. Concussion may have forced him to bow out of the 2015/16 season and into retirement earlier then hoped but he still managed to bring up his 50th European Cup start and 100th Pro 12 appearance during the campaign, rounding out a storied playing career. The only shame of it is that he didn’t get to run out at Murrayfield in either leg of the 1872 Cup wearing the Glasgow colours – although that may have been too much for some Edinburgh fans to take…

Mike’s on-field leadership and astute analysis of the game suggest he will make a successful transition as he moves into a full-time coaching role with Glasgow.

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