When he took to the field as Scotland cap number 1 073, Josh Strauss became the 50th player to make his debut for the national side since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011. This is by far the highest number of new players for Scotland in any Rugby World Cup cycle – more, in fact, than the previous 2 combined (48 new caps). It requires going back to the 1950s to find a greater number of 1st caps in a 4 year period.
Despite having the smallest player base of any of the Six Nations, Scotland has had more debutants than any of their rivals:
- England – 41
- France – 40
- Ireland – 37
- Italy – 31
- Wales – 37
In fact only 1 side who competed at this year’s Rugby World Cup awarded more new caps in the last 4 years. By a quirk of the global calendar Argentina didn’t have access to many of their 1st (or even 2nd) choice players when the South American Championship takes place and 54 of their 67 new caps (including 24 in the space of 5 days in 2013, the last year they appeared in it!) debuted in the annual iterations of this tournament.
With Mike Blair taking the McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month Award for October, we take a look at the former Scotland skipper’s impact since joining up at Scotstoun.
There were more than a few raised eyebrows when Mike Blair, a man with 157 games under his belt for the Warriors great rivals Edinburgh, was announced as Glasgow’s latest signing.
Various mutterings about “a coaching role” and “SRU pension plan” did the rounds but Mike’s performances on the pitch have won over the notoriously hard to please Glasgow faithful as he’s demonstrated the advantages of having a steadying influence in what is a key decision-making position. His quick thinking and desire to play the game at pace have also been a good fit for the Warriors’ philosophy of moving the point of attack and manipulating defences into mismatches.
Glasgow Warriors have signed Georgian international Shalva Mamukashvili on a deal until the end of the season.
The 25-year-old has 35 caps for his country and featured in all 4 of Georgia’s Rugby World Cup pool games in England.
He played 11 matches for Sale Sharks last season, including 3 European Rugby Champions Cup games.
The experienced hooker goes straight into the Warriors 41-man European squad, replacing Kevin Bryce. Glasgow visit Racing 92 on Saturday and then host Northampton Saints the following weekend, in front of a capacity crowd at Scotstoun.
Mamukashvili joins as cover at hooker, with both Kevin Bryce and Fergus Scott set for lengthy spells on the sidelines, while Fraser Brown is currently recovering from foot surgery.
Bryce and Scott have both undergone shoulder operations, following scans at BMI Ross Hall Hospital, and are expected to remain on the sidelines for several months.
Jonny Gray has been named the new club captain of Glasgow Warriors. He takes over from Al Kellock, who retired from rugby at the end of last season.
The news follows yesterday’s announcement that the 21-year-old has penned a new 3-year contract, keeping him in Glasgow until at least May 2018.
Gray captained the club for the 1st time in the win over Connacht at The Sportsground last season, on the way to the club winning the Guinness PRO12 title in May.
The Glasgow-born lock has made 40 appearances for the Warriors and has 19 caps for Scotland.
Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby have been handed a further boost today after announcing one of Scotland’s established young players has signed a new long-term contract.
Jonny Gray has committed to Glasgow Warriors for a further 3 years, meaning he’ll be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2018.
Last week the club announced that Finn Russell had signed a new 3 year contract, which along with Jonny’s extension and other new signings, reflects the increased investment from Scottish Rugby.
Gray came through the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy system and was heavily involved last season when the club won the Guinness PRO12 for the 1st time.
The lock played in 4 of Scotland’s 5 Rugby World Cup matches in England last month.
Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby have secured the talents of one of Scotland’s most exciting young players for the next 3 years.
Finn Russell has signed a new long-term contract with the Warriors, meaning the Scotland international will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2018.
The news follows the announcement earlier today that Scottish Power has agreed a 3-year, 6-figure sponsorship deal with the club, which will see their logo displayed on the back of the home and alternate playing shirts.
Glasgow-based utility, ScottishPower has today announced a 6-figure sponsorship deal with defending Guinness PRO12 champions Glasgow Warriors.
The 3-year partnership will see ScottishPower represented through prominent back of shirt branding above the number on the Warriors home and away playing kit. The company will also work with the Warriors to develop a community youth programme in the West of Scotland.
Glasgow Warriors new signing Taqele Naiyaravoro says he’s looking forward to making his debut for the club.
The Australian international winger, who arrived in Glasgow 9 days ago, trained with his new teammates at Scotstoun last week.
The Warriors return to Guinness PRO12 action on Friday night when they host the Dragons and Naiyaravoro says he would love to be involved in that game.
Taqele Naiyaravoro said: “I’m very excited and glad to finally be here. It’s beena long process, but it’s all good.
“I’d like to be involved in the game on Friday night, after missing the game last week (against Munster), but it’s been good having had a week of preparation. If I’m involved this week it will be an honour to play my 1st game for this club at the home ground and I hope the fans can come out and give me a warm welcome.”
Naiyaravoro, who has signed a 3-year contract with the Warriors, made his Australia debut against the USA last month, scoring a try with his 1st touch of the ball after coming off the Wallabies bench.
The Scotland team and the 2 Scottish PRO12 teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, were in action this weekend playing warm-up matches.
Scotland faced Italy for the 2nd weekend in a row in the 3rd of their 4 Rugby World Cup warm-up matches. The game was played at Murrayfield in front of what was said to be a record crowd for a summer Test match. The team that ran out must have been close to Vern Cotter’s 1st choice 15 and they did not disappoint running in 6 tries and only conceding 1 in a very impressive performance.
WP Nel put in a solid performance which saw Italy’s scrum in trouble from the word go. The pressure Nel put on Italy’s loosehead prop earned Scotland a few penalties with the loosehead resorting to scrumming in on various occasions.
The next game of the day also took place in Edinburgh where the hosts took on Ulster in a preseason warm-up match, 1 week ahead of the start of the PRO12 for 2015 / 2016. The game was played at Heriot FC’s ground Goldenacre due to the Test match which was played earlier in the day at Murrayfield.
Head coach Alan Solomons would have been pleased to see his team get their 2nd win in their 2nd preseason friendly match against what was a fairly strong starting Ulster line-up.
The final game of the day, which was billed as the ‘Battle of New Scotland’, saw Canada host Glasgow Warriors in Halifax Nova Scotia.
Josh Strauss played the whole game for the Warriors ahead of possible inclusion in the Scotland World Cup squad. Former Glasgow Warriors winger DTH vd Merwe scored a try for Canada late in the game to ensure victory for them. The game was played in quite high temperatures and there were a few water breaks during the game.
Glasgow Warriors have signed winger Junior Bulumakau from the British Army on a 1 year contract.
The 24-year-old, who has been training with the Warriors for the last couple of months, played in the 28 / 10 defeat to Clermont in the pre-season fixture in France last Friday and scored a spectacular try from the halfway line.
Junior was born in Fiji and moved to Scotland at the age of 10 with his parents. He has served as an infantryman with The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland since February 2010, deploying on overseas training exercises to Kenya and Cyprus.
He has played for Heriot’s in the BT Premiership, while in May he scored a try for the British Army and was named man of the match in their 36 / 18 win over the Royal Navy in front of 80 000 supporters at Twickenham.
He becomes the 2nd winger to join the club ahead of the new campaign, along with Taqele Naiyaravoro from the Waratahs, while Scotland 7s wingers Mark Robertson and Nyle Godsmark are training with the squad.
Glasgow Warriors have confirmed their pre-season schedule, which will see the Guinness PRO12 champions travel to play Clermont Auvergne and the Canadian National Team, ahead of the new season kicking off in September.
The Warriors will begin a week-long training camp in France on Saturday 8 August, which will conclude with a game against Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne on Friday 14 August (kick-off 20:00 local time).
The match with the European Rugby Champions Cup runners-up will be played in Issoire, which is located 25 miles south of Clermont-Ferrand on the Couze River and the game will be the showpiece event at the 2015 Auvergne Challenge.
Scottish Rugby has confirmed Glasgow Warriors assistant coach, Shade Munro, will be the new head coach of the Scotland Women’s team.
Munro will move into the role over the summer and is charged with progressing the women’s national side in line with the forthcoming National Strategy for Women & Girls’ Rugby which is being developed by Head of Women & Girls’ Rugby, Sheila Begbie MBE.
The 48-year-old former lock, capped 7 times for Scotland, has worked his way up the coaching ladder since retiring from playing in 1997 and will bring 18 years of coaching experience to the role.
After coaching initially at club level with Glasgow Hawks, Munro moved on to Glasgow Warriors as assistant coach in 2002, was part of the Scotland coaching set-up in 2006 and, as head coach in 2013, helped Scotland A to victory over England for the 1st time south of the border.
Gregor Townsend had the following to say:
If Carlsberg did rugby weekends… well it was very much a Guinness weekend for us and I’m sure our supporters enjoyed some of the sponsor’s product in Belfast and in the many pubs and rugby clubs throughout Scotland after the final whistle last Saturday night.
It was a joy to watch our players perform so well in such an important game and as a coaching group we were immensely proud of their efforts. Even better was the reaction to this performance from our sizeable travelling support. Their constant noise and some new chants made it a great occasion at the Kingspan Stadium – a venue that will now forever have fond memories for Glasgow supporters.
Over the past few weeks I’ve written about the culture of Glasgow Warriors and how this has been the foundation for our success. The on-field development over the past 3 years also tells a story of how the players have improved to become a much stronger team. The following games illustrate this progress.
Finn Russell inspired Glasgow Warriors to their maiden Guinness PRO12 title with a solid kicking display and a 2nd-half try to sink Munster in Belfast.
But there was to be no repeat of last year’s defeat to Leinster, as Glasgow showed their superior cutting edge to clinch a 31 / 13 victory and give retiring captain Al Kellock the perfect send-off.
A blistering 1st half saw Rob Harley, DTH van der Merwe and Henry Pyrgos each cross over for the Warriors, but Andrew Smith’s score just before the break sent Munster in just 11 points off the pace.
That deficit was cut to 8 early in the 2nd half, but Russell flew over on the hour and the Warriors expertly saw out the contest to ensure Munster’s wait for a 4th PRO12 crown goes on for at least another year.
Glasgow were let off when Ian Keatley’s early long-range penalty fell short of the posts but they almost stole a march towards the Munster line soon after, only for a heroic tap-tackle from stand-in captain Denis Hurley to halt van der Merwe’s charge.
Glasgow Warriors left it late but eventually overcame a huge challenge from Ulster to clinch a PRO12 Grand Final place.
The Irish province had much the better of the opening exchanges and took control midway through the opening period with Chris Henry’s try.
But Glasgow came out fired up for the 2nd half and kept themselves in touch before DTH van der Merwe levelled the scores on his final Scotstoun appearance 5 minutes from time.
The score sent the 10 000 sell-out crowd into ecstasy but there was still work to be done as Finn Russell lined up the decisive conversion.
In the early minutes of the 2nd half at Scotstoun there was a lineout on the main stand side of the pitch, a routine set-piece that wouldn’t have mattered a damn except for the light it shone on Glasgow’s mindset at the time.
Ulster were in position 1st. Organised and buzzing and in the lead by 10 / 6. Glasgow trooped into line sluggishly.
Glasgow’s Jonny Gray stopped en route to take some instruction from the sideline and then assumed his place, slowly. Their mission to bank a home PRO12 semi-final was always going to be mountainous, but now, in these bleak moments, it had taken on the look of Everest.
Al Kellock returns to the Glasgow Warriors side for today’s massive Guinness PRO12 match with Ulster at a sold-out Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 15:00 BST, 16:00 SA Time).
The Warriors captain, who replaces the injured Tim Swinson in the 2nd-row, could be making his final appearance at Scotstoun, following the announcement that he is to retire from rugby at the end of the season.
2nd-placed Glasgow can still secure a home play-off, but Ulster are also playing for home advantage next weekend.
With an increased capacity of around 10 000 it will be the club’s biggest home crowd for a regular season game and tickets for this match sold out in record time.
Scotland’s most-capped prop Euan Murray announced his retirement from international rugby yesterday.
The 34-year-old brings down the curtain on an international career that began against Romania ten years ago, included the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa and the 2008 Calcutta Cup victory over England, and ended with his record-breaking outing against Ireland in the final game of the 2015 RBS 6 Nations.
Glasgow Warriors have signed Australian centre Sam Johnson from the Reds and USA international lock Greg Peterson from Leicester Tigers, with the duo set to be at Scotstoun until at least May 2017.
Both players have signed 2-year contracts with the Guiness PRO12 side, subject to visas and medicals.
21-year-old Johnson 1st played schoolboy rugby for Australia ‘A’ after winning the Associated Independent Colleges competition with St Edmund’s College in 2011.
He played Rugby League for the Gold Coast Titans Under 20’s after school, before returning to Rugby Union at the end of 2013, when he joined the Reds wider training squad and returned to his former club GPS.
Glasgow Warriors have won the Ladies Cup for the 2nd year in a row after battling back from behind against fellow guest side, Germany in the final to lift the coveted trophy.
After beating Dundee, Gala and Jed Forest en route to the final, the side coached by Kenny Murray were behind 21 / 12 against the Germans but showed grit and determination to run out 36 / 21 winners!
The Warriors kick-started their Melrose 7’s defence with a 2nd round tie against Dundee who beat Stirling County earlier in the day.
Top guest teams North West University (RSA), Germany, Glasgow Warriors and Wasps will join 20 Scottish club sides to contest the Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens on Saturday.
Warriors, who last year featured Borders duo Scott Wight and Lee Jones, return to defend their title and, following the success of last summer’s Commonwealth Games tournament, organisers have hinted that an influx of new generation sevens players and supporters could be heading to the Borders this weekend.
Melrose Sevens convener Ian Cooper says he is delighted with the calibre of the sides his committee has been able to attract this year.
Glasgow Warriors captain Al Kellock will retire from rugby at the end of the season.
Kellock, who has been the Warriors captain for the past nine seasons, has played 154 games for the club and captained the team for the 150th time in the 34-34 draw with Leinster in Dublin on Friday.
The 33-year-old has led the club to the PRO12 Play-Offs four times since they were introduced in the 2009/10 campaign and last year skippered the team to the PRO12 Final for the first time.
At the end of the season Kellock will take up an ambassadorial role with Scottish Rugby, as well as helping to continue the development of Glasgow Warriors. The main focus of his role will be engaging with the rugby and business communities and learning more about the commercial aspect of sport, enabling him to stay connected with the Warriors.
Glasgow Warriors have today revealed plans for a revolutionary new temporary stadium cover for their Scotstoun Stadium home in the west end of the city.
The club have been working closely with Scottish architecture firm Kettle Collective, to develop the radical new system and it will be in place from the start of next season.
The design was inspired by fishing nets, similar to the Yas Island Hotel at the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 resort.
The stadium roof will be the first of its kind in the world and is an organic form that will enclose the stadium from the elements.
The Warriors moved to Scotstoun in 2012 having previously played at Hughenden and Firhill and with crowds exceeding 6,000 a decision has been made to put a roof over the existing stadium for all home matches from next season.
The Warriors have announced that hooker Dougie Hall will retire from rugby at the end of the season, while prop Jon Welsh and assistant coach Shade Munro will also leave the club.
Shade has been part of the coaching staff at the Warriors since 2003 and will leave his role this summer when his contract expires.
Dougie arrived from Edinburgh in 2007 and has gone on to make 141 appearances for the PRO12 side over an 8-year spell. In the summer he will join one of the club’s sponsors, McCrea Financial Services.
Jon, who joined Glasgow in 2008 and has gone on to make 106 appearances, will join Newcastle Falcons for next season.
Round 15 of the Guinness PRO12 started on Friday night and concluded on Sunday with the position at the top the same as when the Round started, with Glasgow Warriors still looking down on the other 11 from the pinnacle of the table. However, they have increased their lead and are now 4 points ahead of 2nd placed Ulster.
There could have been no greater difference in emotions experienced after the matches than that between Newport Dragons captain Rynard ‘Ligtoring’ Landman and Munster’s flyer JJ Hanrahan. Landman would have been feeling low and filled with nervous anticipation following his Red Card for elbowing Connacht’s flyhalf Jack Carty early in their match. JJ Hanrahan on the other hand would have been feeling on top of the world following his very late try which earned Munster a draw against Llanelli Scarlets.
Scottish Rugby has suspended Ryan Wilson for three months without pay following his conviction for assault.
It was also decided that the 25-year-old Glasgow Warriors loose forward will not be considered for Scotland selection until late August, meaning he misses the Six Nations.
Last week, Wilson, capped nine times, was found guilty of assaulting a fellow rugby player on a night out.
Wilson, who has been with Glasgow since 2010, has the right to appeal.
Glasgow Warriors forward Ryan Wilson has been suspended by the Scottish Rugby Union after being fined at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday for assaulting two men, including Ally Maclay of Glasgow Hawks, in a takeaway shop in the west end of the city in October 2013.
His co-accused Warriors team-mates, Ryan Grant and Rory Hughes, were cleared.
Jake White’s Montpellier bounced back from their comprehensive loss away from home to Glasgow Warriors last week by beating fellow French team Toulouse in their final European Rugby Champions Pool 4 match on Sunday. Montpellier won a closely contested match by the narrowest of margins with a final score of 27 / 26 in their favour.
This victory for Montpellier meant that Saracens qualified for the last eight of the Cup in spite of losing their last Pool 1 match against pool winners Clermont Auvergne. The score in that match Clermont Auvergne 18 / 6 Saracens.
The 5 pool winners along with the 3 best second placed team advanced and Saracens made it through as the last qualifying with the lowest amount of points from their 6 matches (17). Had Toulouse won they would have qualified as Pool 4 winners along with Bath who won their Pool 4 match against Glasgow Warriors. Toulouse also ended the pool stage on 17 points but Saracens got through via a superior points difference, +14 versus Toulouse’s +2.
Scotland international Sean Maitland will join London Irish next season.
Maitland, who signed for the Warriors in October 2012, has made 38 appearances for the club and has scored 11 tries during his spell in Glasgow.
The 26-year-old winger has 15 caps and 2 tries for Scotland.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Sean has played a big role at the club over the last 3 years and we wish him all the best when he leaves at the end of the season.
“There is still a lot of rugby to be played between now and then and I’m sure he’ll want to leave the club on a high in the summer.”
Glasgow Warriors head to Bath this Sunday with a number of outcomes still possible in Pool 4 of the European Rugby Champions Cup with quarter-final places at stake.
The Warriors will be looking to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time in their history.
Toulouse are currently top of the pool with 16 points while Bath are second with 15 and the Warriors have 14. Montpellier are out of the running for a quarter-final spot with three points.
Hugh Blake has become the latest player to join the Kilted Kiwi brigade, joining his fellow countrymen Blair Cowan and Sean Maitland in the Scotland squad. It came as a big surprise to see Blake’s name on the team sheet as the Junior All Black and Highlander, now getting his first call up to a Scotland squad, only joined Edinburgh in December last year.
He played in an ‘A’ team fixture for Edinburgh against Glasgow Warriors on 22 December and had to leave the field injured, suffering from concussion following a knock to his head which knocked him out for a bit. Flanker Blake (1.87m and 102kg) has yet to appear for the senior Edinburgh team and what makes his inclusion even more baffling is that he was introduced as being recruited for a trial period on his arrival in Edinburgh.
Jerry Yanuyanutawa says the Warriors will face a highly motivated Montpellier team in Sunday’s European Rugby Champions Cup match at Scotstoun.
The French side have lost all four of their Cup matches so far, but those defeats were sustained while Fabien Galthie was in charge. Galthie was replaced by Jake White at the end of last month, and the South African put down his marker by guiding them to a 16-12 victory over European champions Toulon in his very first game.
Jerry’s knowledge of the coach is based on their season together with the ACT Brumbies in Australia and he is convinced that White is a formidable and inspirational character.
Duncan Weir has been ruled out of this year’s Six Nations tournament with the 23-year-old set to undergo surgery on his arm.
The Glasgow Warriors flyhalf, who gave Scotland a last-gasp victory over Italy in last year’s competition, took a knock on his arm during the 1872 Cup clash with Edinburgh at Scotstoun last month, with subsequent examination showing that he had severely damaged his bicep.
Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said that the injury suggested that Weir would be out of international action for the next three months.
Townsend added: “I would like to think it won’t be the end of his season, but I think it rules out the Six Nations.
“With a bicep injury you are talking months rather than weeks.”
The festive season continues with derby matches in Round 12 of the Guinness PRO12. Some of the matches are the return leg of derbies played around the Boxing Day period. The attention in Scotland will be focussed on BT Murrayfield on Friday night where Edinburgh will host their rivals from the west, Glasgow Warriors, in a PRO12 fixture that doubles up as the second leg of the 1872 Cup.
Glasgow Warriors go into the game with a 10-point advantage following their win over Edinburgh on Boxing Day and will be looking to retain what is said to be the oldest cup in club rugby, yet again. There was only 1 try scored in the first leg of the 1872 Cup last week and with blustery conditions likely for Friday night the game may be a low scoring battle of attrition that could go the way of the team that makes the least errors.
Considering the relative positions of the 2 teams on the PRO12 table and the fact that Glasgow go into the game with that 10- point cushion one should expect at the very least that they maintain their grip on the 1872 Cup.
Round 11 of the Guinness PRO12 kicked off on Friday night and ended with the final fixture on Sunday, with big derby matches being played between the teams from all four countries who have teams in the competition. South African players made a big impact during the Round, earning Player Of The Match accolades in 3 out of the 6 fixtures.
Rynard ‘Ligtoring’ Landman started it off with a Man Of The Match performance for Newport Gwent Dragons against Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday afternoon. CJ Stander added a Man Of The Match accolade in a comfortably victorious Munster effort against Leinster, while Rob Herring completed the trio of South African Man Of The Match performances on Friday for Ulster who scraped home against Connacht. Josh Strauss was pipped to the award by skipper Alastair Kellock for Glasgow Warriors against Edinburgh, but Strauss put in a fine performance for the Scotstoun-based outfit outshining his opposite number David Denton and scored the only try of the match, late in the first half.
Head coach Marius Goosen’s Benetton Treviso picked up their first win of the season in the competition in their Italian derby match away to Zebre.