Once a Warrior 2019 part 3: County Connections

A couple of this year’s Warriors’ leavers have strong links with Stirling County that illustrate the necessity for strong competition in the level below the pro game in Scotland to bring through the players Glasgow need.

Jamie Bhatti

Warrior number – 274

Appearances – 47
Tries – 0
Points – 0

Debut – Scarlets at Parc Y Scarlets, 5th November 2016
Last game – Leinster at Celtic Park, 25th May 2019

Jamie’s strong finish to the 2018/19 season demonstrated that there’s still more to come from the man who spent his formative rugby years with Stirling County. Hopefully, he finds the Edinburgh environment more amenable to his future development than some other former Warriors have!

Having come through the amateur ranks with County it was a bit of a slow burn for Jamie before he made his professional debut. Fellow Scotland U20 prop from 2012 Alex Allan had made 35 pro appearances and won full international caps before Jamie’s first match for the Warriors. Fortunately, there is still room for a variety of routes into the top level of the Scottish game. Front row, in particular, is an area that rewards maturity and the former slaughterman may see the benefit in terms of added longevity at the other end of his career.

Once he made his mark though his progression was lightning fast. Less than three months after playing his first game as a full-time professional he came off the bench for his international debut. He went on to keep hold of the number 17 jersey for 9 out of 10 of Scotland’s subsequent fixtures (he started the other one).

The loosehead prop has one of the longest completed Glasgow careers without a try. Not quite the longest though – as things stand Justin Va’a is the only player to leave the club with more than 50 appearances but not a single score to his name. Maybe Jamie can tread the well-worn path of returning for a second spell at the Warriors one day and will be able to remedy his tryless run…

Moving to – Edinburgh

Lewis Wynne

Warrior number – 265

Appearances – 19
Tries – 0
Points – 0

Debut – Connacht at the Sportsground, 3rd September 2016
Last game – Munster at Irish Independent Park, 23rd February 2018

Lewis spent last season on loan at London Scottish but his departure to the Exiles on a full-time basis was only confirmed for the start of the 2019/20 campaign. He’s another player who cut his teeth at Stirling County. They are a club with an excellent track record in developing youth with no side having produced more Scots who have played in the World Rugby U20 Championships – including both Lewis and Jamie.

Prior to heading down south, the back-rower had been a hyperactive presence whenever he appeared for the Warriors, the massive work rate he’d demonstrated for Scotland at age-grade level continuing on into his pro career. The 2016/17 campaign was the peak for Lewis with 500+ minutes played and his average of 17.6 tackles attempted per 80 minutes was comfortably the highest in the squad.

That level of graft should endear him to fans of his new club and hopefully he can continue to strengthen London Scottish as part of the Once A Warrior enclave down there. No less than 8 players with Glasgow connections have pitched up at the Athletic Ground in Richmond in the past few seasons. As the Exiles new club captain for next season, Lewis may prove to be one of the most influential.

Moving to – London Scottish

 

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