Once A Warrior 2020 part 2: Swinno

Tim Swinson

Warrior number – 206

Appearances – 137
Tries – 16

Debut – Connacht at Scotstoun, 21st September 2012
Last game – Leinster at the RDS, 28th February 2020

Timothy James Montagu Swinson was pretty much an instant hit on his arrival at Scotstoun. Not for him any gentle settling in and finding his feet. From his debut in Round 4 of the 2012/13 season he was near ever present on matchdays, playing in 34 out of 36 fixtures for the club. Having spent five seasons immersed in the Newcastle Falcons’ systems and culture to jump into a brand new environment while barely missing a beat was seriously impressive. It speaks volumes about Tim’s character and attitude as well as the simple fact that he was always a big contributor on the pitch.

A Man of the Match performance in his second game for the club, against Zebre, was an early indication of his prowess. It was Tim’s kind of night. An awkward, niggly fixture where the Warriors’ attack never quite fired meant that it was down to the likes of the big lock to dig in and find a way to hammer out the win in less than ideal circumstances. Few would work harder for the cause or put their body on the line more frequently.

It was no surprise when he rounded out his first season at Scotstoun with a call-up to Scotland’s squad for a quadrangular tournament in South Africa during the summer of 2013. For the next five years fans of the national side would get to see the same relentless effort that the Warriors’ faithful had come to associate with Tim’s performances for Glasgow.

Over the next couple of seasons Tim played a significant role in the Warriors’ runs to back to back PRO12 Grand Finals. In 2015 he was unfortunate that an ankle injury put him out of contention for the playoff semi-final and final after being one of Gregor Townsend’s go to players during the rest of the campaign.

Peak Swinno came in early 2017 with back to back man of the match awards against Munster and Leicester in the Champions Cup. He was absolutely key to the immaculate platform set by the pack in the Warriors’ 43-0 demolition of the Tigers. A week earlier had seen him rampaging down the wing at Scotstoun for what must surely have been the longest carry of his career… Sadly a red card against Connacht (Glasgow’s curse with Ian Davies as referee striking again) the week before Glasgow travelled to Allianz Park meant he missed the quarter final against Saracens that he had contributed so much towards reaching.

One of the great things about Tim was that he could do a little bit of everything. His default was as a no nonsense enforcer perfectly happy to mix it with anyone. During the heart of the Townsend era though, when the Fijiweegies had the whole team going offload crazy, Tim was second only to Leone in the pack when it came to chucking an offload in the back-to-back final seasons of 2013/14 and 2014/15.

He had a pretty respectable try-scoring record for someone who spent so much of his time engaged in the dark arts (although sadly the Gun Show celebration wasn’t busted out every time he notched a 5-pointer). His try in his last appearance at Scotstoun – against the Dragons – took him past John Barclay, Kevin Takachuk and Roland Reid who crossed 15 times each from the pack (Roly also scored another 6 whilst moonlighting as a winger). In the annals of Glasgow Warriors forwards the only man to score more tries than Tim’s 16 was Gordon ‘Badger’ Simpson with 24 back in the days of the Welsh-Scottish league.

Tim’s time at Glasgow did come to a slightly unusual end with his retirement from the game being announced, followed 25 days later by the news he was signing for Saracens…

The post-Glasgow workload will be just as fearsome as it ever was on the Scotstoun pitch. He’ll be combining playing for Saracens with studying for a law degree as well as chairing the association that represents Scotland’s professional players. There’s also the potential move into refereeing that he’s already done a good deal of groundwork for. Given the consistency of his performances for Glasgow, Tim will undoubtedly be a success in any and all areas he turns his hand to.

Moving to – Saracens

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