Glasgow squad analysis: Contract status – the backs

While next season’s pack is starting to take shape there is a lot less certainty around the Warrior’s backs for 2017/18. Crucially, of the first choice line-up all bar Mark Bennett are signed up. Beyond that there is much work to be done to confirm the squad depth with 15 of 22 full-timers out of contract in the summer.

backs-v2

Scrum half:

Players out:
None

Players in:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
Finlay Christie has impeccable Scottish qualifications having been born here before moving to New Zealand aged 7. Glasgow may be in need of a bit more experience in a backup 9 – but there could be value in packing the ranks with young recruits, eager to learn from Mike Blair while the Warriors have the luxury of the former Scotland man learning his trade at Scotstoun.

Other options:
Never go back they say. But with 2 Warriors’ scrum halves now firmly ensconced in the Scotland squad would having Niko Matawalu in the supporting cast be a boon for Glasgow? He’s only managed 556 minutes of club rugby since he left so surely a return to his spiritual home would benefit the Fijiweegie. The Warriors would be getting a player who can make a difference – especially in the Six Nations window – and who can cover wing and, at a pinch, full back.

Scottish Rugby Academy:
Currently tearing it up with Scotland 7s, George Horne has all the attributes to make an excellent pro rugby player except for size – which sadly seems to be almost an essential these days. Having been moved from stand off to scrum half as the position at which his stature presents the fewest disadvantages he has learnt his trade rapidly and looks ready to join big brother Peter in the full time ranks.

2017/18 evolution: Price / Pyrgos / Hart / G. Horne
2017/18 revolution: Price / Pyrgos / Matawalu / G. Horne

Fly half

Players out:
Rumoured – Rory Clegg (unknown)

Players in:
Rumoured – Adam Hastings (Bath)

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
£600k a year is a little out of Glasgow’s price range so Aaron Cruden was never really an option. Stephen Donald would provide experienced cover at 10 but seems equally improbable.

Other options:
The heavily rumoured move for Adam Hastings, currently residing in Bath’s academy system, has been doing the rounds for a while now – and according to some sources is essentially a done deal. Bags of potential but plenty of polish to be added before he is the finished article. A spell as the sorceror’s apprentice should do nicely…

Scottish Rugby Academy:
Even with Finn Russell, Pete Horne and Hastings Jr. there are still likely to be opportunities for a 4th stand off. Enter Josh Henderson, currently at Stage 2 in the Academy (Glasgow & the West) and learning his trade paired up with George Horne at Hawks. A strong prospect, he should see game time as a Stage 3 player next season.

2017/18 evolution: Russell / Horne / Hastings Henderson
2017/18 revolution: looks set as long as Finn stays

Centre

Players out:
Rumoured – Mark Bennett (Newcastle)

Players in:
Rumoured – Huw Jones (Stormers / Western Province)

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
None of the Chiefs’ centres names really jump out as likely candidates for the move North. Given Glasgow’s strength in depth in this area the new coach may be more concerned with, in the main, signing up the existing group rather than bringing anyone with him.

Other options:
Another deal that’s been heavily trailed various media outlets, Huw Jones from the Stormers looks like a move that will happen sooner rather than later. The SRU will be happy to have their man playing in a season structure more suited to Scotland’s fixtures; Warriors’ fans should be pleased to have another quality player: Edinburgh supporters may be slightly less impressed that their side has been overlooked; and Mark Bennett may be left as the odd man out when the music stops…

Scottish Rugby Academy:
He was a late addition to the group of Academy players attached to London Scottish but Patrick Kelly has had a successful time in Richmond, notching up over 800 minutes of game time and even managing to squeeze his Warriors’ debut in during a rest week for the Championship side! Raiding the Edinburgh’s academy system to add one of Tom Galbraith or George Taylor could provide depth on a budget if having 3 Scotland caps is considered too expensive.

2017/18 evolution: Dunbar & Bennett / Johnson & Vernon / Kelly & Grigg
2017/18 revolution: Dunbar & Jones / Johnson & Grigg / KellyGalbraith

Wing

Players in:
None

Players out:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
There is a lot of work to be done with regards to wingers. That could open up a slot for James Lowe who is rumoured to have Scottish heritage. With 14 tries in 37 games for the Chiefs he finds himself in a similar situation to Sean Maitland before him – successful at Super Rugby level but just not quite good enough to make it into the All Blacks’ selection due to the ridiculous firepower at their disposal.

Other options:
There could still be time left this season for Junior Bulumakau and/or Ratu Tagive to demonstrate that they deserve a contract beyond the summer. Junior in particular is likely to get a decent number of minutes during the Six Nations – it’s then a case of seizing his opportunities and showing his fitness and defensive work can match up to his undoubted attacking talents.

Scottish Rugby Academy:
There are 5 promising wingers currently at Stage 3 in the Scottish Rugby Academy. Ross McCann (13); Darcy Graham (11); Ben Robbins (8); Grant McConnell (7); and Robert Beattie (5) have all been scoring tries for fun in the  BT Premiership. Beattie is the only one nominally attached to Glasgow but the system has proven to be flexible in the past if one of the other youngsters was considered a good fit for the Warriors.

2017/18 evolution: Seymour & Sarto / Jones & HughesBulumakau & Beattie
2017/18 revolution: Seymour & Sarto / Lowe & Jones / Hughes & Graham

Full back

Players in:
None

Players out:
None

Dave’s Diamonds – raiding the Chiefs:
Another of the Waikato franchises’ players who is rumoured to be Scottish qualified is Sam McNicol. Listed as a full back, but playing all of his Super Rugby so far on the wing, he could provide depth in the back 3 and in particular support for Stuart Hogg – who is likely to be coming off the back of a tough Lions’ tour.

Scottish Rugby Academy:
There aren’t really any Academy players who are specialising at full back at this stage in their career but Tom Galbraith and Ben Robbins have both been tested in that role by London Scottish. Blair Kinghorn at Edinburgh looks like the next cab off the rank to backup Hogg for Scotland but this is a position that a talented young player could make a break through at Glasgow if they are willing to focus on playing 15.

2017/18 evolution:  Hogg / Murchie
2017/18 revolution: Hogg / McNicol

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2 comments

    1. Not been officially confirmed yet – but given the other 2 from that article have signed up I’m pretty confident Pete will be sticking around. They might get him back playing before they do it rather than him having his day with the press while he’s still rehabbing!

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