Glasgow Warriors’ re-signing of Lee Jones brings the club to 40 confirmed full-time pros for next season. With the overall squad really starting to take shape here’s a first look at the catchily titled ‘Official’ On Top Of The Moon Contract Status Depth Chart for Glasgow Warriors 2019/20.
Depth Chart with only players confirmed for next season included (click for large version):
And here are the remainder of the current squad (click for large version):
In addition to the already confirmed players above, Dave Rennie appears to have let slip that Siosiua Halanukonuka will be sticking around in a Warriors’ jersey next season. With new boys Charlie Capps and George Thornton signing on that will take the club up to what would normally be a full complement of 8 props. There’s a chance that both Siua and Zander Fagerson could be away at the World Cup though, leaving things a little short at tighthead. Opportunity could knock for young props Euan McLaren and Murphy Walker to provide some short-term depth in this position.
There’s a reasonably big call to made for the 4th hooker slot. Kevin Bryce has provided cover here and in both prop positions during the current season so could be a handy man to have around backing up Grant Stewart while Fraser Brown and George Turner are on RWC duty. The top two in this position are likely to miss effectively half the season (at a minimum). That being the case there might be room for a more experienced hooker to come in to take the pressure off Grant – who, after all, will be in his first full season as a pro player.
After a short loan spell earlier this season Andrew Davidson will return to Glasgow full-time in 2019/20 – and rekindle his bromance with school, age grade and club locking partner Scott Cummings. There are effectively 5½ second rows in the squad with Rob Harley splitting his time between the boiler room and blindside flanker. Glasgow may round this up to 6 by bringing on board another lock / back row hybrid in Mesulame Kunavula. The Fijian was heavily linked to a move to Scotland at the same time as 7s teammate Kalione Nasoko – who has already been confirmed as one of Edinburgh’s new signings.
Marshall Sykes is probably the brightest prospect among the current Academy crop. After missing most of last season through injury he’ll be looking to get his first Warriors’ action next season.
With club stalwarts Chris Fusaro and Adam Ashe re-signing the back row will have a pretty settled look. As mentioned above there’s the possibility of a new signing that would cover both here and in the second row and add to Glasgow’s ball-carrying options. Bruce Flockhart and Tom Gordon (partnership contract) could continue their development after showing encouraging signs during their gametime in the current season.
Similar to hooker the Warriors are very likely to be missing two players in this position for a substantial proportion of the season. Ali Price and George Horne will be on Scotland duty (and affected by related rest protocols) leaving the experienced Nick Frisby. The coaches have seemed reticent to regularly unleash the madness of Niko Matawalu at 9 but he will be there as emergency cover. There seems a decent chance of another name being added here though and Scotland u18s’ Jamie Dobie has been linked with a move that would see him bypass Stage 3 of the Scottish Rugby Academy and jump straight onto a pro contract.
Stand off is where things become intriguing. With Adam Hastings and Brandon Thomson in situ plus Peter Horne playing both 10 and 12 it didn’t seem like there would be any new faces in this position. It’s almost two months since Glasgow were first linked with Aaron Cruden though and the story doesn’t seem to be going away. If the 50 cap All Black does join up (as the biggest signing in the club’s history) there is likely to be a bit of shuffling with Peter and Brandon spending most of their time at 12 and 15 respectively to allow the double As (Aaron and Adam) to pick up most of the starts at 10.
There is some excellent strength in depth in the midfield – although even that will be sorely tested if the club lose three centres to RWC action. If that does come to pass Paddy Kelly may get further opportunities to show that he can step up. Former Warriors and current Scotland 7s’ players Glenn Bryce and Robbie Fergusson could also provide short-term cover during September and October.
There are still spaces to be filled but it would be a big surprise if the remaining re-signings don’t include at least one of Robbie Nairn and Rory Hughes. In fact it could end up being both of them. Full back is the position with the most question marks. If the move for Aaron Cruden goes through there is unlikely to be a signing here. Brandon Thomson would provide depth and it may well be that Tommy Seymour slides over from the wing for Glasgow’s big games – as he did away to Cardiff Blues in this season’s Champions Cup.
If Cruden doesn’t sign on then replacing the outgoing Stuart Hogg at full back will be the priority. Rumours (including his Scottish-qualified status) have swirled around the Chiefs’ Shaun Stevenson. It’s hard to get anything concrete on any of this though. With significant changes likely to follow the World Cup for New Zealand the player himself may prefer to see how things shake down in the All Blacks’ pecking order in 2020 before committing to a move north.
A squad of 46/47 seems about right (the club averaged a squad size of 46 in the current campaign) with probably around 5 or 6 more bodies on top of that needed for that crucial 4 or 5 game World Cup period (loans and Scotland 7s players most likely).
Signings / re-signings still to come on top of the 40 already confirmed might look something like this:
Hooker – Kevin Bryce or A.N. Other
TH prop – Siosiua Halanukonuka
Lock / back row – Mesulame Kunavula
Back row – Bruce Flockhart
Scrum half – Jamie Dobie
Stand off – Aaron Cruden
Wing – Robbie Nairn / Rory Hughes
For a detailed look at Glasgow’s squad at the start of the current campaign click here.