Glasgow squad analysis: Contract status – the forwards

Contracts expiring are always a big issue for Glasgow but never more so than in 2016/17. No less than 13 of the Warriors’ 27 forwards in the full time squad started the campaign on deals that ran out in the summer. January has seen flurry of contract renewals, departures and speculation. With a new coach taking over at the start of 2017/18 can Glasgow hang on to everyone they want to? Will it be evolution or revolution within the squad? And will Dave Rennie bring any of his Chiefs north with him? Here’s OTOTM’s look at how the forwards are shaping up for next season.

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Loosehead prop:

Players out:
Confirmed Ryan Grant (Worcester, with immediate effect)
Rumoured – Gordon Reid (London Irish)

Players in:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
Looking at the Chiefs squad might 28 year old, 1 cap All Black Kane Hames be the kind of player Dave Rennie would like to bring in to solidify the pack – and crucially be available during international windows?

Other options:
As things stand Scotland’s top 3 LHs all reside at Murrayfield. Only one is out of contract this season though – could the SRU try and shift Rory Sutherland along the M8? Stormers prop Oli Kebble is another name that has been linked with a move to Scotland on more than one occasion.

Scottish Rugby Academy:
Jamie Bhatti made a solid debut against the Scarlets in November and Ryan Grant’s departure suggests Toony trusts the Melrose loosehead to provide cover during the Six Nations window as well. A professional contract for next season surely beckons if he can develop over the next few months. The giant Fergus Bradbury (younger, definitely not little, brother of Magnus) should move up to Stage 3 in 2017/18.

2017/18 evolution: Reid / Allan / Sears-Duru / Bhatti
2017/18 revolution: Sutherland / Allan / Bhatti / F. Bradbury

Hookers

Players out:
None – but will Corey Flynn still be playing at 37 next season or focusing on coaching?

Players in:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
If the new coach wanted to replace Corey with a slightly younger model then the Chiefs have a couple of fringe All Blacks at hooker in Nathan Harris and Hika Elliot. In fact Elliot is one of only 3 over-30s in the Super Rugby side’s squad so appears to be at the stage of his career when many Kiwi players’ minds turn to a northern hemisphere contract. The crucial question would have to be – how good is his lineout throwing…

Scottish Rugby Academy:
Cameron Fenton made his Warriors debut last season and had a spell on loan at London Scottish during this campaign. He’ll surely need a pro contract somewhere – will Glasgow have room for him?

2017/18 evolution: Brown / MacArthur / Malcolm / Fenton
2017/18 revolution: Brown / Elliot / MacArthur / Malcolm

Tighthead prop

Players out:
Confirmed Sila Puafisi (Brive, end of season)
Confirmed Jarrod Firth (Grenoble, with immediate effect)

Players in:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
How about replacing one Tongan with another? Late-blooming Siegried “Ziggy” Fisiihoi started out in the back row so he should be handy in the loose at least.

Other options:
Looking a bit wider – nothing has been announced about a contract extension for Jon Welsh at Newcastle Falcons yet…

Scottish Rugby Academy:
He’s not actually in the Academy – choosing instead to take his own path after Stage 2 last season – but Adam Nicol is another young prop who has already featured for Glasgow this season. Fagerson (21), Rae (22), Nicol (20) would be a very, very young group though.

2017/18 evolution: Fagerson / Rae / A.N. Other / Nicol
2017/18 revolution: Fagerson / Welsh / Rae / Nicol

Lock

Players in:
None

Players out:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
With 4 frontline locks already signed and 2 young ‘uns who can back them up this isn’t an area that the new coach will be looking to bring bodies with him. Brodie Retallick will just need to wait for his opportunity to play at Scotstoun!

Other options:
No room as it stands.

Scottish Rugby Academy:
Currently taking the London Scottish loan route, Callum Hunter-Hill was part of the 23 that won away against Zebre early in the season. Callum is still young enough to play for the under 20s but if Brian picks up the 5th lock slot there will be a big decision to make for Hunter-Hill as to whether he has the patience to bide his time or if, like Andrew Davidson last season, he might prefer to take his chances elsewhere.

2017/18 evolution: Gray & Swinson / Cummings & Peterson / Alainu’uese & Hunter-Hill
2017/18 revolution: no real room in this position

Blindside flanker

Players in:
None

Players out:
Rumoured – Josh Strauss (unknown)

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
Liam Messam is probably out of the Warriors price range but would the presence of his Chiefs’ head coach be enough of a selling point to overcome this? Mitchell Brown (rather bizarrely nicknamed ‘The Bee Keeper’!) is a similar player to Bob Harley, 6’4″ and 17st 6lb and able to cover lock and number 6. Uncapped at 23 would he fit as a ‘project’ player?

Other options:
A Scottish-qualified, young Jerry Collins-type would fit the bill nicely! On a more practical note if he returns from injury during the Six Nations then it’s possible that Tjiuee Uanivi might audition for the blindside role with no real room left for the big Namibian in the second row.

Scottish Rugby Academy:
With international call-ups always an issue for Glasgow, Bruce Flockhart might see some decent game time in 2017/18. Again though – would he be willing to stick around in the Academy system or would he need a pro deal?

2017/18 evolution: Harley / Strauss / Wynne / Flockhart
2017/18 revolution: Messam / Harley / Brown / Wynne

Openside flanker

Players in:
None

Players out:
Rumoured – Hugh Blake (Bay of Plenty)

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
The Chiefs have a talented cadre of young loose forwards such as Mitchell Karpik and Lachlan Boshier – but would adding another 21/22 year old – even a project player – in this position make sense if it was the experienced first choice that was not going to be renewed?

Other options:
It’s unlikely the Warriors’ faithful will countenance anybody other than Simone Favaro as the number one choice at 7. Given he’s provided 2 strong seasons for Glasgow and embodies the Warriors’ motto “Whatever it takes” surely Simone will be around the club for a couple more years yet?

Scottish Rugby Academy:
The news in December that Lewis Wynne and Matt Smith were being rewarded with their first professional contracts essentially confirmed that Hugh Blake will not be returning from what was initially billed as a short-term loan spell in New Zealand.

2017/18 evolution: Favaro / Fusaro / Smith / Wynne
2017/18 revolution: Fusaro / Karpik or Boshier / Smith / Wynne

Number 8

Players out:
Confirmed – Langilangi Haupeakui (USA)
Rumoured – Ruaridh MacKenzie (New Zealand)

Players in:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
With an experienced pro, a younger player who will push for first choice and one of the best talents in the Academy system this probably isn’t an area the new coach will have his eye on.

Other options:
Not much room – unless there’s a Haupeakui-esque wrecking ball with a bit more rugby experience out there to take a chance on?

Scottish Rugby Academy:
He’s been nominally attached to Edinburgh but Ally Miller can play 6 and 8 and has been one of the success stories of the SRA group that went down to London Scottish this season, starting 14 matches so far.

2017/18 evolution: Wilson / Ashe / Miller / Fagerson
2017/18 revolution: No real room in this position

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