Toony’s Warriors’ Debut

It’s been 1,705 days since Gregor Townsend took charge of the Glasgow Warriors for the first time in a competitive game, against Ulster at Ravenhill in the Pro 12. With the coach’s 147th, and last, fixture fast approaching On Top Of The Moon takes a look back at the squad selected for that debut match – who played and where are they now?

Forwards

Toony's 1st game - fwds

Gordon Reid – 97 games played for Toony

One of 10 players in that first matchday squad to make it all the way to the end of the head coach’s reign – although Gordy will also be leaving the Warriors at the same time as Gregor once this campaign is completed.

Finlay Gillies – 10 games played for Toony

Finlay left the club after the 2013/14 season – although not before he’d helped the Warriors to win the Ladies Cup at the Melrose 7s. He’s currently the head coach of Glasgow Hawks.

Mike Cusack – 27 games played for Toony

A powerful presence at tighthead prop and one of the first names on Toony’s teamsheet in those early months. Unfortunately injuries and illness hampered Big Q for much of the remainder of his Glasgow career. Mike is heading into the English Championship playoffs with his current club, Yorkshire Carnegie.

Tom Ryder – 41 games played for Toony

Only one player featured in more games for Glasgow than Tom during Gregor’s opening season. Another who was held back by injuries, he moved to Northampton during the 2014/15 campaign and then on to Yorkshire Carnegie. Retired from playing at the end of last season and started training as a P.E. teacher.

Al Kellock – 52 games played for Toony

The captain was a crucial figure in the transition from Sean Lineen’s stewardship to the Townsend era. Big Al retired after the Warriors’ victory in the Pro 12 Grand Final back in 2015 and now has an ambassadorial role for the club and the SRU.

Rob Harley – 109 games played for Toony

No-one has been selected by Gregor Townsend for Glasgow more times than the Ginger Ninja. Rob has been the most consistent presence in the squad throughout the last 5 years and will be one of the senior players providing continuity when Dave Rennie arrives in August.

Chris Fusaro – 84 games played for Toony

This was the start of a tough year with injuries for Chris. No-one made more appearances for Glasgow than the openside in Sean Lineen’s last campaign but he was restricted to just 10 matches in 2012/13. Next season will be his 9th with the club.

Ryan Wilson – 86 games played for Toony

Only missed 2 matches in that opening season for the new head coach. Ryan has been deployed across the back row but in the really big games he has been Gregor’s go to number 7, combining with Bob Harley and Josh Strauss to great effect.

Backs

Toony's 1st game - backs

Henry Pyrgos – 82 games played for Toony

Niko Matawalu may have grabbed many of the headlines but it was actually Henry who started the most games at scrum half in 2012/13. It was a real breakthrough season for HP who also made his Scotland debut. Now a senior figure and co-captain he’ll be a significant voice in the handover between coaches.

Duncan Weir – 63 games played for Toony

Scored the first points for Gregor Townsend’s Glasgow with a penalty against Ulster. When Duncy left for Edinburgh at the end of the 2015/16 season he was also the top scorer in the Toony era – although he’s now been overtaken by Finn Russell.

Sean Lamont – 69 games played for Toony

TheĀ elder Lamont pitched up for his second spell with Glasgow at the start of 2012/13 which allowed him to at least have one season alongside wee brother Rory (although sadly they never made it onto the pitch at the same time). After rolling out the peroxide (and the orange gloves?) one last time, Sean will retire after the Edinburgh game.

Graeme Morrison – 11 games played for Toony

This was the start of G-Dog’s final season with the club in a career which saw him play a record 177 times for the Warriors. He retired at the end of the campaign and has recently made it through the hellish tedium required to become a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Alex Dunbar – 76 games played for Toony

When fit he has been the go to man in the centres for Gregor Townsend – assisted by the fact that Alex is equally comfortable at 12 or 13 so can adapt to partner almost anyone, from Nick Grigg to Taqele Naiyaravoro…Will in all likelihood continue to be the Warriors’ defensive leader under the new coaching setup.

Tommy Seymour – 82 games played for Toony

The top try scorer for Gregor Townsend, Tommy has picked up 29 meat pies in this period putting him ahead of Niko Matawalu (26) and DTH van der Merwe (25). With 32 in total another big season in 2017/18 could put him hot on the heels of DTH’s club record 43 tries.

Peter Murchie – 71 games played for Toony

Glasgow’s Mr. Reliable, he has always been solidity personified under the high ball. The only one of the 10 players from this game who are still with the club whose future has yet to be confirmed.

Substitutes

Toony's 1st game - subs

Dougie HallĀ – 59 games played for Toony

Dougie was the man called on to start at hooker in the Pro 12 Grand Final (one of only 4 starts that season) in his last game before retiring from rugby. Now works for McCrea Financial Services.

Moray Low – 36 games played for Toony

Only 8 men have played 150 or more games for Glasgow and Moray is in that elite group. Now in his 3rd season with Exeter Chiefs after leaving the Warriors at the end of the 2013/14 campaign.

Ryan Grant – 63 games played for Toony

One of four Warriors to be selected for the Lions on Toony’s watch, 2012/13 featured Ryan at his peak. Signed for Worcester Warriors during the current season – although it’s recently been announced his short-term contract will not be renewed.

James Eddie – 56 games played for Toony

When he replaced Al Kellock, Jedi became the first of 1,106 (so far) substitutions made by Gregor Townsend. James retired at the end of the 2015/16 season and now works in the family fish business, WAA Eddie.

John Barclay – 22 games played for Toony

Played just a single season under Gregor before heading off to the Scarlets at the end of 2012/13. JB is one of a relatively rare group of players who have been able to improve on their time at Glasgow.

Chris Cusiter – 23 games played for Toony

One of only 3 appearances that Cus made in the 2012/13 season, leaving the coach without the man he would have expected to be his first choice scrum half. Chris now sells whisky to rich Americans in Los Angeles – tough gig!

Ruaridh Jackson – 45 games played for Toony

His drop goal in the last regular season match of 2012/13 was the only one scored in the first 3 years of Toony’s tenure. Rhubarb moved to Wasps in 2014 and now plies his trade with Harlequins.

Peter Horne – 84 games played for Toony

Played more games for Townsend’s Glasgow than any other back in that opening season. Pete will continue to combine stand off and inside centre duties under Dave Rennie next year.


Team lineup images courtesy of glasgowwarriors.com who have match reports for every Warriors game dating back to the 2003/04 season.

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