In some news that is sure to please and frustrate in equal measure, Glasgow Warriors have announced two new foreign signings today. Australian centre Sam Johnson comes in from the Queensland Reds and USA Eagles international lock Greg Peterson comes in from Leicester Tigers with the duo set to be at Scotstoun until at least May 2017, subject to medical.
21-year-old Johnson first 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 U20s 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.
Johnson impressed the Reds coaching staff in 2014 as a regular in the midfield for Reds ‘A’ and GPS, which led to him making his Queensland Reds debut off the bench against the Western Force in Perth. He then went on to play five matches for Queensland Country in Australia’s National Rugby Championship.
To date he has made two Super Rugby appearances for the Reds and has been named on the bench a further three times.
24-year-old Peterson has been capped three times for USA and joined Leicester Tigers in December from Super Rugby side, NSW Waratahs. He has played three times for the Aviva Premiership side.
The Australian-born lock, who was with the Waratahs for five years after joining their Academy in 2009, has made one Super Rugby appearance.
In 2010, he made his Shute Shield debut for Manly, making his mark by winning the 2010 Shute Shield Rookie of the Year award in his first year out of school. The towering forward, who stands at 6 foot 8 and weighs more than 19 stone, represented Australia U20s on eight occasions.
Peterson comes from a strong athletic background with his father having played American Football for Northwestern University in Chicago and his grandfather having played in one of the first ever rugby union games in the United States.
While he’s picked up a couple of caps, Johnson may well have been selected with one eye on the dreaded qualification on residency.
With Alex Dunbar and Mark Bennett currently injured and more than likely away with the Scotland squad during the World Cup should they recover in time, it is a sensible move from Townsend to sign up some cover, even with Fraser Lyle and Richie Vernon continuing to impress. Likewise Peterson may well be designed to fill the hole left by Jonny Gray and Tim Swinson in the second row which will also be without the retiring Al Kellock next year.