Once a Warrior 2018 part 1: Legends

It’s that time of year again when the Warriors’ faithful have to bid a fond farewell to departing heroes. Allow On Top Of The Moon to be your guide on a walk down memory lane for this season’s goodbyes.

Pat MacArthur

Appearances – 165
Tries – 4

Debut – Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park, 21 September 2007
Last game – Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 6 January 2018

Pat was one of a very small number of players to play for longer than a decade for Glasgow. He ended up 3rd on the all-time appearances list with 165 – only Rob Harley and Graeme Morrison have managed more. One record he is the top dog for though is the longest scoreless streak in the club’s history – it was his 112th match before he picked up his first try!

That lengthy career meant Pat saw off any number of competitors for the hooker’s jersey. Debuting in the 2007/08 season he was competing for places with Eric Milligan and fellow future Warrior Centurions Dougie Hall and Fergus Thomson. In his last campaign the rest of the number 2 crew was Fraser Brown, George Turner, James Malcolm and Grant Stewart. In fact, all in all across Pat’s time at the club another 13 hookers featured while the man from Ayr persisted.

In between the start and end of his domestic career Pat managed to break into the Scotland set-up, picking up his first cap against Samoa in South Africa. It’s his 11 seasons with the Warriors that he’ll really be remembered for though. A one club man who was there for some of the most rewarding and also some of the toughest years in Glasgow’s history.

Pat departs from Scotstoun as the club’s most-capped hooker of all-time.

Moved to – Retiring from pro rugby (but he’ll still be turning out for Ayr in the BT Premiership)

Henry Pyrgos

Appearances – 147
Tries – 14
Points – 111

Debut – Leinster at Firhill, 3 September 2010
Last game – Scarlets at Scotstoun Stadium, 18 May 2018

In many ways the trajectory of Henry’s career with Glasgow is almost the bellwether for the Warriors’ own progression to their PRO12 Grand Final victory in 2015. Debuting on the same night as Tom Ryder, Ryan Wilson, Federico Aramburu, Ryan Grant, Aly Muldowney and Rob Harley, Henry was part of Sean Lineen’s rebuild of the squad following some big name departures before going on to be a central part of Gregor Townsend’s group.

As a raw, rugby-playing chemistry undergraduate from Loughborough Uni in his early days he displayed many of the characteristics of a typical student – the self-confidence; the trendy hair; the tendency for his box kicks to be charged down. There were tough times in a debut season that provided plenty of learning experiences but ultimately saw HP and co finish 2nd last in the league.

Missing out on the playoffs in 2013/14 (to Chris Cusiter and Niko Matawalu) must have been a blow but Henry responded with his best year yet for the club. He was Gregor Townsend’s main man at 9 for arguably the two biggest games in the club’s history, playing the full 80 minutes in both the playoff semi and final. Against Ulster he contributed 14 passes in the lead up to DTH van der Merwe’s crucial late try. A week later he was at the heart of the Warriors’ stunning first half in the Grand Final, rounding things off with the team’s third try – the one that arguably took the game away from Munster.

Henry is tied with Graeme Beveridge as Glasgow’s most capped scrum half.

Moved to – Edinburgh

Richie Vernon

Appearances – 98
Tries – 7

Debut – Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park, 21 September 2007
Last game – Munster at Irish Independent Park, 23 February 2018

“We all dream of a team of Richie V’s” was one of the chants / t-shirts / memes of the championship winning season. After making the switch to centre a couple of months into the first season of his second spell at the club, 2014/15 proved to be the campaign when he really took to the role. He seemed a certainty to make it to Centurion status after featuring in his 90th game for Glasgow at the PRO12 Grand Final. After that he had no luck at all though, playing just 302 minutes of rugby for the Warriors in the 3 years that followed.

It was all very different back in 2007 when RV was a fresh-faced young flanker just breaking into the team following his switch from the defunct Borders side. Competing against no less a trio than the Killer Bs would certainly have pushed him to reach his potential and he managed to feature regularly at 6, 7 and 8 during his first term with the club.

With 63 of his appearances in the back row and 35 in the midfield when the history of the Warriors comes to be written someone will need to decide – was he a back trapped in a forward’s body? Or just a super-skillful back row?  Ultimately though everybody knows – he plays where he wants.

Having played more games (both in the forwards and the backs) than Roland Reid, Richie finished up as the Warriors’ most capped forward/back hybrid…

Moved to – London Scottish


Part 2 – Lions is here looking at Ryan Grant and Finn Russell

Part 3 – La Dolce Vita is here taking in Leonardo Sarto and Samuela Vunisa

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One comment

  1. Really sorry to see Henry Pyrgos go. Had a whole lot to offer and better attitude than Price – who had a disastrous season. Would rather have offloaded him tbh.

    Like

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