Tyrone Holmes is set to make his debut on Thursday for Glasgow Warriors at Rubislaw in Aberdeen. The Warriors are on a two day trip to the city as part of their preseason preparations which include a practice session which will be open to the public to attend as well as a match against local team, Aberdeen Grammar.
The former Western Province and Stormers player, who joined Glasgow Warriors from Italian club Pertrarca rugby in July this year on a one year contract, has been selected as openside flanker for his first game in Scotland. The Johannesburg born man is qualified to play for Scotland through his father who was born in the country.
However, Holmes will not be joined by fellow countryman and loose forward Josh Strauss as head coach Gregor Townsend has opted not to select several of the ‘big name’ players for this outing.
The players who toured down under with the British and Irish Lions as well as those who were in the initial Scotland squad that was selected for the tour of South Africa have been given the night off. Townsend feels that they still have some conditioning work to do and has another four weeks on his side to prepare his squad before the first competitive game of the season.
A large match squad of 28 has been selected and it includes 8 players who played in this year’s U20 World Cup in France and will be captained by flyhalf Scott Wight. The starting front row is a strong one with international players in Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Jon Welsh while another Scotland international Richie Vernon is on the bench. Vernon returns to Glasgow, having spent some time at English club Sale Sharks. Young Jonny Gray, the brother of British and Irish Lions lock Richie Gray, will start as number four lock. Stalwart DTH vd Merwe gets to start on the left wing and should provide much entertainment for the local crowd with his strong running.
Numerous unfamiliar and interesting names appear on the team sheet and will be hoping to make their mark with a view to possible further selection. Zimbabwean prop Denford Mutamangira who can play on either side of the scrum is one of the players in the extended squad. Mutamangira who has represented his country, currently plays for RBS Premiership champions Ayr and will provide front row cover from the bench. He will be hoping to leave Rubislaw with happier memories this time as he was in the Ayr team that lost 17/37 to Aberdeen Grammar at the same ground back in March.
Another player who will be out to catch the eye is 20 year flanker Will Bordill who has joined Glasgow from Sale Sharks for the new season. Bordill has represented Scotland at U17, U18 and U20 level and from his stature, 1.83m in height and weighing 96kg, looks suited fill the role of ‘fetcher’ and is possibly one to monitor in future.
Argentinian Gabriel Ascarate, who like Holmes has joined on a one year contract, is a utility back who can play inside or outside centre as well as fullback and will also be on display. He was specifically recruited to fill the gap left by the long term injury to Peter Horne and should prove to be a good signing as he has played at international level for Argentina, most recently against England during their last tour.
The full squad for Glasgow Warriors practice match against Aberdeen Grammar as follows:
15. Robbie Ferguson, 14. Byron McGuigan, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Finn Russell, 11. DTH van der Merwe, 10. Scott Wight (Captain), 9. Ali Price, 8. Adam Ashe, 7. Tyrone Holmes, 6. Rob Harley, 5. Jonny Gray, 4. Andy Redmayne, 3. Jon Welsh, 2. Fraser Brown, 1. Gordon Reid
Substitutes: Kevin Bryce, D’Arcy Rae, Denford Mutamangira, Ed Kalman, Tom Ryder, James Eddie, Will Bordill, Richie Vernon, Peter Jericevich, Rory Hughes, Gabriel Ascarate, Jack Steele, Gavin Lowe