As things stand Glasgow Warriors have 35 confirmed full-time pros for next season. With a lot of progress made in recent weeks here’s an update to the 100% Unofficial On Top Of The Moon Contract Status Depth Chart for Glasgow Warriors 2021/22 (or UOTOTMCSDCGW 21/22 as no-one is calling it…)
Depth Chart with only players confirmed for next season included (click for large version):
And here are the remainder of this year’s squad (click for large version):
Plenty of depth is required in this area due to the workload and attrition rate up front for the big lads so it would be a surprise if Glasgow didn’t start the season with at least 4 players in each position. With new signings Jamie Bhatti and Simon Berghan in place the remaining slots (2 x LH prop, 1 x hooker, 1 x TH prop) will almost certainly be filled by players from the current squad. If Berghan and Zander Fagerson are the top two choices for Scotland throughout 2021/22 then the Warriors might even need a 5th tighthead in the rotation.
The main issue to consider at lock is medium-term succession planning for Richie Gray whose sheer size still makes him a unique prospect even among the lighthouses in the second row. Stormers’ pair David Meihuizen (Scottish qualified) and JD Shickerling (not Scottish qualified) have both been linked with Glasgow but it may ultimately be internal promotions that win the day. Highly rated Academy pair Alex Samuel and Max Williamson will both be a year older and hopefully ready to start getting their first minutes providing depth in the boiler room.
Rob Harley has played the majority of his rugby at lock over the last year and a half. Given the longevity enjoyed by some second rows (Simon Shaw played until he was 39!) and Rob’s dedication it’s possible focusing on this position could allow him to stick around for a number of seasons to come.
The Warrriors have picked up three excellent signings in the shape of Australia international Jack Dempsey, Scotland 7s’ Ally Miller and Scotland u20 skipper Rory Darge. If Rob Harley is to be primarily considered as a lock there’s still a bit of room to add some more depth in the back row though. Do veterans Chris Fusaro and TJ Ioane have another season or two in their legs? At the other end of the scale, an excellent debut against Leinster suggests Gregor Brown may well be ready to graduate from the Academy system. He certainly seems to have an abrasive edge to his game which will endear him to fans.
Glasgow have an embarrassment of riches at scrum half with Jamie Dobie soon to be pushing Scotland’s number one (Ali Price) and number two (George Horne) in this position. A fourth option is essential with international duties for Price and Horne – and possibly even Dobie. Sean Kennedy has been very solid and there are also alternatives who will be involved in the Super Six when it returns – Caleb Korteweg at Stirling County and Jordan Lenac with Ayrshire Bulls.
Unfortunately it’s been some time since Glasgow’s coaches felt able to sound the Niko Matawalu at 9 klaxon. It’s undoubtedly a recipe for madness – but it’s definitely entertaining. The flying Fijian’s flexibility might just sway a decision on which wings to retain but his scrum half skills are likely to remain a break glass in case of emergency option only.
There might be room for another player at 10 – although given Pete Horne has only started two games at inside centre in the last two years he’s pretty much a full-time stand off now! If there is a space then the decision has to be whether to go for experienced support for Duncan Weir (possibly retaining Ian Keatley) or another youngster to push along at the same time as Ross Thompson (looking at Euan Cunningham or maybe even Christian Townsend in the Academy).
One of the big questions in the backline is how best to use the talents of Kyle Steyn who should be fit and firing for next season. The form Griquas’ man’s emergence at outside centre was one of the highlights of the 2018/19 charge to the PRO14 final. He’s proved himself equally adept at wing though. The departure of Huw Jones might have suggested more of a focus on 13 for Steyn. The signing of Sione Tuipulotu hints that Kyle might continue to spend more time in the number 11 or 14 jerseys (although interestingly Sione himself has also played on the wing).
Josh McKay’s arrival should hopefully provide a more permanent fix to the issues raised at full back by Stuart Hogg’s departure after the end of the 2018/19 season. Backed up by the likes of Rufus McLean and Cole Forbes there should be the kind of searing pace in Glasgow’s back 3 options that really frightens opposition sides.
There may well be room for a couple of names from the existing squad to be re-signed. A brace from the veteran trio of Lee Jones, Niko Matawalu and Tommy Seymour would keep the young fellas honest and give them some fine examples to live up to.
Hat tip to Rossco on the glasgowwarriors.com forum who keeps track of all contracts here.