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Gregor Townsend

Mike Blair

Mike Blair

Glasgow Warriors scrumhalf Mike Blair has retired from playing with immediate effect and will take up a new coaching role at the club next season.

The 35-year-old will remain with Scottish Rugby as an assistant coach at the Warriors.

Blair joined Glasgow this season and has made 12 appearances for the club and was voted Player of the Month in October.

The 85-capped former Scotland international has had an illustrious career, representing Edinburgh Rugby, Brive, Newcastle Falcons and the Warriors.

Blair enjoyed 10 years with Edinburgh Rugby, playing his first professional game in 2001. Highlights included being runners up in the Magners League in 2009 and reaching the semifinals of the European Cup in 2012.

Scotland’s most capped scrumhalf captained his country on 14 occasions before retiring from international rugby at the start of 2013, aged 31.

He was named Scotland’s Player of the Year in 2008 and was nominated for the IRB World Player of the Year that same season. He toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009.

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Ali Price

Ali Price

BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy scrumhalf Ali Price has signed a professional contract with Glasgow Warriors.

The 22-year-old, who is the latest Stage 3 player to graduate from the Scottish Rugby academy system, will be staying at Scotstoun until at least May 2016.

Kings Lynn-born Price has made 9 appearances for the Warriors and was part of the Guinness PRO12 title-winning squad last season.

The Scotland Under 20 scrumhalf was also in the Glasgow squad which won the Melrose 7s earlier this year.

He previously played for Bedford Blues and was part of the Saracens Storm ‘A’ league set-up.

Ali Price said: “It’s a huge honour to sign my first professional contract and I’m looking forward to continuing my career in Glasgow with the Warriors.

“I’ve developed a lot as a player over the last 12 months, having had the opportunity to train and play with the first team squad.

“I’m always learning and it’s great to be able to work closely with the likes of Mike (Blair), Henry (Pyrgos) and Grayson (Hart).”

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Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend

Llanelli Scarlets host Glasgow Warriors tonight in a European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 3 match.

The teams met for the first of their two games in the round robin stage of Europe’s top rugby competition last week at Glasgow’s home ground, Scotstoun Stadium. Glasgow won that match comprehensively with a final score of 43/6 in their favour, picking up a bonus point in the process. The big Fijian Australian winger Taqele Naiyaravoro was in devastating form arguably putting in the performance of the weekend in scoring a hat trick of tries and having one dot down perhaps harshly ruled not a try.

The Scarlets had many players missing last week due to injury and with various of these players returning today it should be a much closer affair at their home ground, while the fact that it could be a very damp day could also help as a leveller.

Today’s game will be the 100th game for Gregor Townsend as head coach of Glasgow Warriors and also coincidently the Warriors’ 100th game in European Rugby competitions. To commemorate the milestone of Gregor Townsend (Toony) a big Glasgow Warriors fan has been running a series of articles this week with all sorts of detail about the club. This Spreadsheet Warrior is a very gifted numbers analyst who highlights all sorts of interesting facts about Glasgow Warriors and it is always very interesting to read the latest offerings on the blog. Some of the analysis this week goes into such minute detail which is great especially for the dedicated Warriors fan and highlights just how well Gregor Townsend has done with the Warriors. We bring you the final part of the “Tribute to Toony”.

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Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend with the PRO12 trophy Glasgow Warriors won last season

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension with Scottish Rugby, which will keep him at Scotstoun until June 2017.

After leading Glasgow Warriors to the 2015 GUINNESS PRO12 title in May the former Scotland international has committed his future to the club he has coached since 2012.

Having previously coached in the Scotland national team set-up Gregor led Glasgow Warriors to the PRO12 semi-finals in 2012/13, his first season in charge at Glasgow, before making the PRO12 final the following year.

To acknowledge these achievements Townsend was named the GUINNESS PRO12 Coach of the Season in 2013 and 2015.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson said: “We are delighted to have retained Gregor’s services up to the end of the 2017 season.

“After Glasgow Warriors became the first Scottish team in the professional era to win a major trophy it was only natural Gregor’s talents would be of interest to other clubs.

“We maintain a constant dialogue with our coaches and believe he remains the right person to take the Warriors forward and consolidate their recent success.

“He has created a consistent winning culture at Scotsoun and that is benefitting both the club and the players he works with.”

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Jonny Gray

Jonny Gray

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.

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Glasgow WarriorsGlasgow 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.

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champs

Glasgow Warriors captain Alastair Kellock with the PRO12 trophy

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.

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Sean Maitland

Sean Maitland

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.”

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Duncan Weir

Duncan Weir

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.”

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Glasgow WarriorsRichie Vernon will start at outside centre for Glasgow Warriors, when they host French Top 14 side Toulouse at Scotstoun Stadium tomorrow lunchtime (kick-off 13:00 BST, 15:00 SA Time).

Vernon impressed from the bench in the narrow 19-11 defeat at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday and replaces Peter Horne for the European Rugby Champions Cup encounter, with Alex Dunbar moving to inside centre.

There are two other personnel changes with Tim Swinson coming in for Leone Nakarawa in the second-row and Ryan Wilson replacing the injured Chris Fusaro in the backrow. Wilson starts on the blindside, with Rob Harley moving to openside.

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EdinburghGlasgow WarriorsEdinburgh head coach Alan Solomons believes that his squad has got through the worst of an injury crisis which threatened to engulf the team just a few short weeks ago.

Edinburgh flew to Milan ­yesterday then took a 75-mile bus ride to Parma, ahead of ­facing Guinness Pro12 strugglers Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile tomorrow afternoon.

It may have been an arduous trip but Solomons was in good fettle – despite Edinburgh still being without several leading players, including Grant Gilchrist (broken arm), Hamish Watson (knee) and Cornell du Preez, who is set to miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.

Solomons said that the ­Autumn Tests came at just the right time for other leading players to recover and he is ­excited about his team’s chances of climbing into the top six of the Pro 12 table, which would qualify them for the Champions Cup next season.

Edinburgh returned to action in fine style last Sunday when they defeated Cardiff Blues at home, and they will fancy their chances against a Zebre side which was hammered 43-3 by Connacht on Friday night.

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Nigel Owens

Having been involved in the professional game for the best part of 20 years now, I fully appreciate the hard work that goes in on a daily basis for players to perform and the challenges they face mentally and physically throughout the season.

Since becoming a coach, I also know the hours, which all those that support the players put in behind the scenes, whether they are coaches, medics or performance staff. However, I reckon that the toughest job in professional rugby might not be that of the players or management, but that of our referees.

The game’s officials often perform a thankless task and don’t get the chance to share a victory with others like we do. And, in the context of our fast-moving collision-based sport, which has a number of intricate laws, it is very difficult to get everything right.

Coaches and players make many mistakes during 80 minutes of rugby, so it is understandable that referees will also make errors. A lot of these errors are frequently viewed as great decisions by the opposing team, which makes things even more difficult for the man in the middle to get things right.

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Rossouw de Klerk

Rossouw de Klerk

Glasgow WarriorsGregor Townsend has named a 26-man squad for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Aviva Premiership side Harlequins at Scotstoun (ko 15:30 BST / 16:30 SA Time).

James Downey, Rossouw de Klerk, Connor Braid and Alex Allan are all in line to make their debuts for the Warriors.

Prop Euan Murray and scrum-half Murray McConnell are also included in the squad after returning to the club in the summer.

The Warriors will confirm the starting line-up on Saturday.

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glasgowlogoGlasgow Warriors will host Harlequins in a pre-season friendly at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday 23 August, kick-off 15:30 BST.

Gregor Townsend’s squad will take on the Aviva Premiership side two weeks before the start of the new season.

Harlequins hosted the Warriors at Twickenham Stoop last summer and this year travel north after finishing fourth in the Aviva Premiership.

Conor O’Shea’s squad includes the likes of Mike Brown, Danny Care, Ugo Monye, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter.

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glasgowrugbyWe brought the news last week of two of Glasgow Warriors loose forwards, Tyrone Holmes and Rob Harley, extending their contracts with the Scottish club. Both players signed two year extension to their contracts which will see them featuring for the Scotstoun based team until at least May 2016.

It has since been confirmed that two more back rowers who were approaching the end of their contracts have signed on for further terms for Glasgow.  These players are Ryan Wilson and James Eddie.

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glasgowrugbyWinger Lee Jones has been added to the Glasgow Warriors squad for the forthcoming RaboDirect PRO12 matches, to provide injury cover until the end of the season.

The 25-year-old returns from Scotland 7s duty in New Zealand following his agreed loan from Edinburgh Rugby and will be available for this Sunday’s game against Connacht at Scotstoun Stadium.

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