As things stand it looks like Glasgow Warriors have completed a sizable chunk of their business for next season. Most positional areas are looking pretty settled with lock and centre showing the most potential for further additions.
Depth Chart for next season (right click and open image in new tab for larger version):
Note that the players signed or extended for 2021/22 are not 100% confirmed as sticking around for next season as the club no longer specifies the length of contracts. The only ones who would not be there for 2022/23 would be those who only signed a 1-year deal covering the current campaign. Based on the wording used when describing new contracts the two who might seem most likely to fall into that category are George Horne (described as signing for the ‘immediate future’) and Sean Kennedy (‘foreseeable future’).
Confirmed leavers / players who have already left from the 2021/22 squad:
- LH prop Brad Thyer (returned to Cardiff on the conclusion of his short-term loan)
- Hooker Ewan Asman (recalled by Sale after the shortest loan ever)
- TH prop Murray McCallum (moved on to Worcester at the end of his short-term deal at Glasgow)
- Lock Kiran McDonald (moving to Wasps at the end of the season)
- Lock / back row Rob Harley (moving on at the end of the campaign)
- Stand off / centre Peter Horne (retired to become Ayrshire Bulls head coach)
- Centre Nick Grigg (moved to Red Hurricanes Osaka in Japan)
This should be a very settled group as 11 of the 13 front rows in the current full-time squad should be around next season. There is a question mark over the number four hooker slot though. Grant Stewart debuted for the club back in the 2017/18 season but has only played 23 minutes in the current campaign. Given the age profile of the top three choices, it’s possible the club might be looking to start to bring through a younger option.
Ewan Ashman would have fitted the bill but now appears to be a central part of Sale’s future plans. Internally, Glasgow could promote Angus Fraser from the Academy – he certainly looked the part as the Super Six Sprint Series kicked off last weekend. Boroughmuir Bears’ Corey Tait looks to be another interesting prospect. As the younger brother of u20s captain and Warriors’ Stage 3 Academy player Rhys Tait, it could lead to yet another pair of siblings featuring for the club.
The signing of JP du Preez appears to be some succession planning for Richie Gray in the oversized second row stakes. In the Academy system, both Alex Samuel and Max Williamson look like they will be pushing for the monster lock role in pretty short order too.
Has Richie signing on for at least another season anything to do with rumours that wee brother Jonny Gray might return to Glasgow? They’ve never played together for the Warriors but it would certainly be a dream pairing as they always seem to get the best out of each other.
There’s certainly room for more in the lock position. The practicalities of the budget mean it’s more likely to be Academy promotions filling these slots though rather than a full international like Jonny. The aforementioned Samuel and Williamson will be high on the agenda as will Gregor Brown and Euan Ferrie who are more the size of a hybrid lock / back row type of player – exactly what Glasgow are losing with the departures of Rob Harley and Kiran McDonald.
The overhaul of the Warriors’ back row stocks has continued apace. 2021/22 signings Jack Dempsey and Rory Darge have both made a huge impact; Matt Fagerson is now an established first choice at international level; and there are good backup options across all three positions.
Depth is a little short though and the club have had to rely heavily on a relatively small group of players turning out week after week. In particular, Ryan Wilson has epitomised the Warrior spirit time and again. With Wilson turning 33 in May it’s not necessarily going to be realistic to expect him to bang out 20+ appearances next season. There’s also the possibility that Glasgow may be without Dempsey on a regular basis if he opts to play for Scotland.
There’s plenty of promise in the Scottish Rugby Academy that could start to gain regular exposure to top level rugby and add depth. Both Rhys Tait (openside) and Gregor Brown (blindside / lock) have already been mentioned above. Pinching 18-year old number 8, Rudi Brown from Edinburgh’s Academy would give a full next-gen back row of serious quality to bring through.
Tying down Ali Price after he became a starting Lions’ Test scrum half was a remarkable bit of business but might it mean George Horne looking for more game time elsewhere? Jamie Dobie certainly looks ready to be the number 2 number 9 but the Warriors’ faithful know from past experience that three – and often four – top-class scrum halves are required when Test duty and injuries start to bite.
If Glasgow can’t hang on to the younger Horne (and OTOTM for one sincerely hopes they do!), there would be a decision to be made as to whether to bring in an experienced backup from outwith Scotland or work with what the Super 6 and the Academy are providing. Kaleem Barreto’s performances for Boroughmuir Bears and, latterly, Scotland 7s certainly suggest he deserves the chance to add to his single appearance for the Warriors. Fellow Super 6ers, Jordan Lenac and Caleb Korteweg have also both previously played for the club.
Is that enough depth though if Dobie starts to push into regular contention for Scotland?
Stand off looks settled with Ross Thompson supported by the veteran Duncan Weir and Domingo Miotti – who should be more settled in and maybe even with a proper preseason behind him when 2022/23 kicks off. Academy stand offs Euan Cunningham and Christian Townsend have both featured regularly in the Super 6 and their progression to the pro ranks should provide a good indication of the the level that tournament is able to bring players up to.
OTOTM is still banging the drum for centre being Kyle Steyn’s best position but as things stand it seems like Steyno will continue to spend his time with the number 14 (or 11) on his back. Allowing both Pete Horne and Nick Grigg to move on during the season does suggest there are plans in place for the midfield. There have been some pretty persistent rumours of Huw Jones returning – although that might seem a little odd just a single season after he left.
Even with a new signing there’s a decent chance of an Academy promotion – or two. Robbie McCallum and Mike Gray are the current Stage 3 players attached to Glasgow. It’s possible though that Duncan Munn (who has already trained with the club) could jump straight from Stage 2 to a pro contract. If that doesn’t happen then it would certainly be no surprise if he picked up 2-year deal that runs for 12 months in the Academy before moving on to a pro contract in the second year.
Numbers in this area are pretty healthy and the age profile skews pretty young with Ratu Tagive the only over 30. That being said Ratu has yet to feature this season and Walter Fifita’s gametime has been pretty minimal. Meanwhile there has been a little bit of second season syndrome for both Cole Forbes and Rufus McLean (although with Rufus’ issues being mainly down to injuries).
A signing who would be first team level from the off might relieve the pressure here as well as freeing up Kyle Steyn to play more in the centres. Again budget might be the sticking point but, of all the positions in the overall Scottish depth chart, this is the one where the conveyor belt seems to not be producing as rapidly as some other areas.
The national side may well look at Exiles to bring in this summer for what will be more of a development tour in South America. Glasgow themselves will surely take a good look at both Finlay Callaghan and Ross McKnight (who is a lot bigger than the typical Scottish winger) before deciding if they need to recruit externally, whether that is next season or in a year or two’s time.
For a detailed look at Glasgow’s squad at the start of the current campaign click here.