Once a Warrior 2019 part 5: The Hookers

Hooker has proved to be rugby’s most attritional position. That’s meant a continuous supply of players coming through to try and take their chance in the number 2 jersey. Three of Glasgow’s candidates for this role are among the most recent season’s leavers.

Kevin Bryce

Warrior number – 229

Appearances – 26
Tries – 1
Points – 5

Debut – Dragons at Rodney Parade, 23rd February 2014
Last game – Edinburgh at Scotstoun, 27th April 2019

It’s hard to be 100% definitive on this but it appears that Kevin holds a unique place in Glasgow’s history as the only player to feature for the club in all 3 front row positions – loosehead prop, hooker and tighthead prop. It’s a pretty remarkable achievement and one that may never be matched given the increasing specialisation of front row players.

The big man from Alloa was also a leaver in 2016 when he departed for Edinburgh. In common with a number of ex-Warriors he found the Auld Reekie environment wasn’t the best fit. After returning for a short-term deal at the start of 2018-19 he impressed enough to stick around for one final season with Glasgow. He provided some pretty handy support across the front row before signing off for a second time at the end of the current campaign.

Moving to – retiring from pro rugby but will still be turning out for GHK as player/coach

James Malcolm

Warrior number – 259

Appearances – 25
Tries – 3
Points – 15

Debut – Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park, 7th November 2015
Last game – Munster at Irish Independent Park, 23rd February 2018

James kicked off the hooker try-scoring revolution for Glasgow. Before he crossed against Scarlets in the Champions the number 2s in the Warriors’ squad had a combined 161 appearances with just a single try scored. Since then hookers have become regulars on the scoresheet with 25 in 107 games for Glasgow.

It wasn’t all fancy dan stuff like scoring though. He was the only Glasgow front row to average 10+ carries and 10+ tackles per 80 minutes during his debut season in 2015/16. That level of work around the park was maintained throughout his time at the Warriors.

James was on loan at Doncaster Knights for almost all of 2018/19. He’ll join up with fellow leaver Lewis Wynne at London Scottish next season – the Exiles’ pack certainly won’t lack for energy and graft during the 2019/20 campaign!

Moving to – London Scottish

Robbie Smith

Warrior number – 303

Appearances – 1
Tries – 0
Points – 0

Debut – Ospreys at Scotstoun, 25th January 2019
Last game – Ospreys at Scotstoun, 25th January 2019

Robbie had to be patient while waiting for his Glasgow debut. He was frequently to be seen warming up alongside the matchday 23s to provide cover in case of late injuries (including a fortnight in South Africa without any game time!) It took until a windy Friday night at Scotstoun against the Ospreys in January before he finally became Warrior number 303.

Given the late-blooming nature of most of Glasgow’s hookers in recent years it’s not inconceivable that Robbie could still return to the Warriors after a couple of seasons developing his game elsewhere.

Moving to – Bedford Blues

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