With the season just underway it’s time for a look at the core of the Glasgow squad and how it has changed from the beginning of the last campaign. Of course one crucial difference not reflected in the depth chart is that in 2015/16 no less than 22 of the 30 players were unavailable for the opening fixtures due to the RWC!
Without further ado here is the official On Top Of The Moon depth chart top 30 for the Warriors (click for large version):
Despite a significant amount of departures within the Glasgow squad (see Once A Warrior Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5!) the impact on the putative 1st and 2nd XVs has not been that dramatic:
Leone Nakarawa is undoubtedly the biggest loss. In the short term Tim Swinson will form the first choice pairing with Jonny Gray – and the opening match of this season against Connacht demonstrated what The Gun Show can contribute to the side when he is in form. Tjiuee Uanivi is not a direct replacement for Leone but certainly looks to been signed with more than an eye on his skills as a lineout operator – one area where Leone’s contribution cannot really be shared out amongst the rest of the starting XV. Greg Peterson will have a full preseason with Glasgow under his belt and (when he returns from injury) the impressive Scott Cummings will continue to develop into a potentially top class lock.
OTOTM is going to call this one early – Leonardo Sarto will be a better player and make a bigger contribution to the Warriors’ success than Taqele Naiyaravoro. There may be some things that T could do that Leonardo cannot but the Italian’s up side in work rate, positional awareness and defence will significantly outweigh any deficits. Glasgow will undoubtedly need to do without Sarto during the Test windows though so continuing to develop depth in the wing position is essential.
The impact of Mike Blair on last season’s squad was undeniably positive. With his time as a player unfortunately being cut short by injury though Glasgow essentially were operating with Grayson Hart and Ali Price filling in as Henry Pyrgos‘ understudies for the majority of 2015/16. Both players should be stronger for their experiences from last campaign and will be joined by Nemia Kenatale in a position with plenty of depth. All the scrum halves will also benefit from Mike’s 100% focus on his coaching role
The Warriors’ faithful will certainly miss Duncan Weir and the sight of him wearing the black and red during the 1872 Cup matches could be very painful…In his place Rory Clegg provides great solidity, particularly with his place-kicking which won Glasgow a crucial victory over Leinster last year and which so very nearly took them to an equally impressive win at Thomond Park when the ginger maestro was providing RWC cover. With the depth available at centre, Gregor Townsend may feel comfortable moving Peter Horne in one to cover at 10 – as he did against Connacht – while Finn Russell recovers from injury.
Once the Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 3 players have been confirmed for 2016/17 OTOTM will take a look at the full depth chart for Glasgow and consider how the squad is shaping up for the current campaign.