With 36 players signed there is still some work to be done to complete the Warriors’ squad for next season but the club’s first and second choice XVs are really taking shape. Here’s On Top Of The Moon’s look ahead to how Glasgow’s top 30 might line up in the 2017/18 campaign (click for large version):
It will be a surprise if there are any signings who shake up what looks like a very strong first choice lineup. There may be a couple of slots though where an experienced player who can rotate in and cover for the frontline players during Test windows could add to the depth in the squad.
There’s plenty of talent among the props already signed – but experience is in slightly shorter supply. 21 year old Zander Fagerson and 22 year old D’arcy Rae will in all likelihood be joined by the rather more functionally named Adam Nicol (20). In fact with Alex Allan at 25 currently looking like the old man among Glasgow’s propping stocks there must be room for someone of a more mature vintage.
Ideally the player in question would be available during Test windows; be seemingly indestructible, missing few games through injury; solidify the Warriors’ scrum; and regularly contribute in the loose. Essentially what is needed is Sila Puafisi – but on his original wages and not the larger pay packet he will (deservedly) be picking up from Brive!
Is there a space in the back row or not? There’s certainly plenty of talent and good mix of youth and experience, although potentially there could be a bit of a log jam at openside. Bringing someone in from outwith the setup risks reducing the game time for some of the young talent coming through. The issue remains though that there simply isn’t a direct replacement for Josh Strauss at the club right now – no ball carrier who can be relied on to breach the gain line even against the most aggressive defences. Whisper it quietly but David Denton surely needs to move away from Bath who have a surfeit of 6s and 8s…
Glasgow were linked with Lyon’s Fijian winger Napolioni Nalaga in early March. The sort of salary he would command would seem to make this somewhat of an improbable signing but it might be more of interest as a hint that the Warriors are looking for another winger. Might Scotland’s Test in Suva allow for a scouting trip to pick up a Flying Fijian to shine in the back 3?
The only space in the top 30 that has yet to be filled for next season is at full back. Peter Murchie’s interview after the Zebre game suggested that he may well be returning for a 9th season with the club. He and Stuart Hogg have absolutely dominated the 15 shirt over the last 5 seasons, making 121 starts between them (59 for Peter and 62 for Stuart) and leaving only 24 for other players. If Murch does leave there will be a huge hole to fill in terms of backing up Hoggy.