Once a Warrior 2017: Part 3 – Magnificent Sevens

Mark Bennett

Appearances – 66
Tries – 21

Debut – Leinster at the RDS, 6/5/11
Last game – Dragons at Scotstoun, 4/3/17

Mark arrived full-time at Glasgow as a fresh-faced young young fella back at the start of the 2012/13 season. He left at the end of the 2016/17 campaign as…well a fresh-faced young fella but one with a Pro 12 championship, Olympic silver medal, 60+ Glasgow appearances and 20 Scotland caps under his belt. Oh and 21 tries – scored at a rate to match almost anyone during this period in the club’s history and including this gem against Bath:

giphy (12)

giphy (13)

Mark was actually given his Warriors’ debut by Sean Lineen while he was an Elite Development Player back in 2011. He turned down the club / SRU’s approach at the end of that season though and moved to France to link up with Clermont. So it was really the Townsend era that he will forever be associated with – joining in time for the coach’s first season and departing at the same time as the boss left Glasgow. There’s more than a bit of Toony about Mark. Quick feet, an eye for a gap and an ability to make things happen in amongst the heavy traffic. Forwards pile in thinking there’s a chance to thump one of the lightest guys on the pitch before suddenly realising he’s already gone…

Mark was one of a raft of Warriors with a strong connection to 7s. He may have rarely featured in World Series’ tournaments but managed to hit three of the abbreviated form of the games’ biggest events – Hong Kong (picking up 5 tries), the Commonwealth Games (4 tries) and the Olympics (2 tries and that silver medal).

Moved to – Edinburgh, joining up with other members of the Once A Warrior crew Glenn Bryce, Kevin Bryce, Callum Hunter-Hill, Fraser McKenzie and Duncan Weir.

Fraser Lyle

Appearances – 8
Tries – 1

Debut – Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 15/2/14
Last game – Leinster at the RDS, 23/10/15

Fraser made a try-scoring debut for Glasgow after being called up to the Warriors’ squad for their match away to Zebre during the 2014 Six Nations. At the age of 25 that strong transition from the club game at the end of the 2013/14 season was enough to win him a 2 year deal with the club, from where he combined his time at Scotstoun with Scotland 7s’ duties.

He was the only back to start all 5 of Glasgow’s matches while their international players were on RWC duty, where his ability to beat defenders with good footwork was very useful for a side shorn of its top midfielders. After that his main focus was the 7s World Series where he has played 66 games across 13 tournaments for Scotland scoring 9 tries in the process.

Moved to – London Scottish

Hugh Blake

Appearances – 6

Debut – Connacht at Scotstoun, 11/9/15
Last game – Racing 92 at Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, 9/1/16

If Glasgow fans hadn’t become so blase about rugby all-rounders through the versatility of Richie Vernon then Hugh Blake’s introduction to the club might have made a bit more of a splash. It really was one for the officianados though as the openside flanker was left as the midfield bench cover with 4 centres away with Scotland. Toony had to go to the break glass in case of emergency option after just 15 minutes of the second game of the season against Connacht with Shug coming in at outside centre before starting at 13 the following week at Thomond Park against Munster. He was in the back row, this time at blindside, for the last game before Scotland’s RWC players returned.

Since then he made just 3 substitute appearances for the Warriors, instead turning his hand to sevens. He was part of the Scotland squad that triumphed in London in 2016. His return to the fold after a loan spell back in New Zealand (and a lengthy injury) coincided with an upturn in the Scottish 7s team’s form, including back to back finals and another improbably brilliant win in the 2017 Twickenham tournament.

Moved to – Bay of Plenty (although hopefully, like last season, he will return to the Scotland 7s fold in time for the HSBC Sevens World Series which kicks off in December)

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