Glasgow Warriors: A Look Forward to the 2018/19 Season

After a disappointing end to their previous campaign at the hands of old foes the Scarlets, the last thing the Warrior Nation needed was a turbulent preseason.

The weeks have rolled by and with little activity on the incoming signing front aside from Aussie 9 Nick Frisby, there has been a lot of decidedly negative rhetoric flying about. There were season ticket price hikes and then there was ‘Silver Saturday-gate’ forcing the official supporters club to intervene and enter discussions with the Warriors management. The SRU were forced into an embarrassing change of plan regarding their end of season money spinner in order to restore the Warriors to the promised two out of three home 1872 Cup legs this season, Edinburgh having received that last season.

However, the ill feeling towards the blazers has not diminished, with some suggesting the East coast is getting preferential treatment – a theory not helped by the Super 6 franchise awards.

With all this happening off the field, Dave Rennie must be glad to be able to focus on the team. So how are Glasgow shaping up on it for the 2018/19 season?

Pro 14

With the now correct number of ‘home’ games against the Burnt Orange and Blue Army, and the conferences staying the same this season, Glasgow will be expecting another play-off place.

The run of fixtures at the start of the season is certainly favourable and could allow another winning streak if things go well. Getting the South African ‘tour’ out of the way early is a huge plus. Leinster up second last might be a problem however. With a full preseason and some key men back Glasgow should be a match for anyone.
Prediction – Losing Finalist

Europe

Finally! A respectable group, with a good chance of best runners-up spot behind Sarries. The other participants are Delon Armitage’s Lyon, who finished 5th in the Top 14 last season, and Cardiff Blues, who will be without their recently retired captain Sam Warburton. Concerns about the pack will need to be alleviated as Glasgow have often struggled to resist domination by power, but as Exeter at home last season showed, if this side can get the ball out wide then they can cause any team huge issues.

The big question though comes at 10….
Prediction – 2nd in Group, Losing QF

Recruitment (or lack of)

It’s been a rather bad summer for the Warriors fans, so let’s get the rubbish bits out of the way.

Finn is off to play his brand of mad rugby with “Uncle Naknak” at Racing, Richard Cockerill got his wish for a scrum-half and now has ‘Hooray Henry’ Pyrgos to lead his Edinburgh back line, Sarto has been released and King Ritchie of the House Vernon is off to London Scottish (along with Lewis Wynne).  Additionally, you have the long-serving Pat MacArthur and Ryan Grant retiring.

It is no surprise that fans were highly expectant when Rennie announced ‘around 7 or 8 signings’ at the end of last season.

What we didn’t expect was that DTH returning last season would count, as would George Turner turning his loan from Edinburgh to a permanent switch. We also didn’t expect that Nairn, Flockhart and Nicol from the BT Academy would be an additional 3 out of that 8. Or that Kevin Bryce would return from Edinburgh – as a Hooker once again.

David Tameilau and Nick Frisby are the only international additions that have been made, with the view perhaps that the southern hemisphere signings of last season like Kebble, Halanukonuka and Huw Jones are as good as new players this time around with a full preseason under their belts.

The key question though is simply this – who replaces Finn?

Adam Hastings? Pete Horne (out of position)? The aforementioned Frisby (also out of position)? Brandon Thompson? Stuart Hogg? World class 10s do not come cheap, and Rennie will need to hope that one of the above hits the 4G running. It could be a breakout season for Hastings if he can hold a spot down.

In Rennie we trust… for now.

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Originally from the Isle of Bute, John is a Glasgow Warriors fan and retired crash ball specialist. John still enjoys the occasional rugby 'social' with his former team mates at Bute and Bishopton RFC

36 comments on “Glasgow Warriors: A Look Forward to the 2018/19 Season

  1. KAC on

    Thanks for the article John. I know all the contributors on this site do this for the love of the game and it’s appreciated. So that’s all the signings announced then? I was hoping there might be a couple marquee signings once the Super Rugby seasons finishes.

  2. Not rocket science on

    Last year the European campaign was fouled by the fixture list. This year is different. In the two weekends before each pair of European fixtures, Glasgow face, respectively:
    Rounds 1 & 2 (Dragons (H), Zebre (H)).
    Rounds 3 & 4 (Cardiff (H), Scarlets (H)).
    Round 5 & 6 (Edinburgh (H), Benetton (A)).
    Quarters (Zebre (A), Cheetahs (H)).

    It’s going to be fascinating to see the battle between Horne and Hastings at 10. And Price and Horne at 9.

    As you say, with a full pre-season and year 1 under Rennie’s belt, I’m optimistic and can’t wait!

  3. thebigiam on

    I’ve got mixed feelings about Glasgow this term. I think we have the easier conference, but even so, I’m not feeling as bullishly optimistic as John Anderson!

    I do worry that the forwards won’t dominate many games this year. And, I hate to say it, but I’m unconvinced by Humphries as well, even though Dan McFarland is a hard act to follow. On the other hand, we’ve shown that if the forwards keep the ball and go through the phases before going wide, we can still trouble the top teams. It could even prove to be a blessing in disguise for this approach that Russell has moved on.

    I was expecting a marquee signing or two this summer – I did wonder if Richie Gray might come back. However, onwards and upwards. I’m hoping that some of the young lads (Fagerson jnr, Rory Hughes, Hastings, Cummings, etc.) really step up this term, whilst others (Nairn, Thomson, etc.) emerge. Could (hopefully will) be a big season for Alainu’uese, too.

    • The Chiel on

      A lot depends on Zander Fagerson – will he kick on and be the talent and force he can be, or will he still try to play the “look at me, I’m an enforcer” role which seems to me to be dragging him back ?

    • David on

      It will be really interesting to see the physique of those guys you’ve mentioned thebigiam after a real professional pre-season now they are that little bit older. Fagerson (Matt) for instance may come back quite a few kgs heavier, and be all the better for it!

  4. David McIntosh on

    I hope Hastings will get the nod as starting 10, with Horne the back up plan. Big season for Huw Jones. Grunt up front is still the issue. I’d be surprised if they get to the Pro14 final or qualify in Europe to be honest, but you live in hope.

  5. Stuart on

    Maybe John should come out of retirement could be doing with a few crash ball specialists !. As for the season we need to improve away from home too many defeats and while I can see us in top 2 in conference the play-offs will be very tough with Leinster scarlets Ulster and Edinburgh all giving us some lessons last season.

  6. Jamie on

    Glasgow will easily make the play offs again but I don’t think they have the ability to make the final or the quarters of Europe.

    Still lacking power up front to win the big matches. How Rennie hasn’t figured this out is beyond me. There has to be some islander/kiwi/S African who Glasgow could have got for 5 and 6. South Africa alone it would be easy to find two guys big enough and cheap enough.

  7. Bazz on

    With Finn being an obvious blow I still think Glasgow can make finals.

    We had such a bad run with injuries and form (mainly in the forwards) last season. The following players were injured for a sizeable chunk of last season.

    1. Kebble
    2. Brown
    3. Fagerson
    4. Cummings
    5. Alainuese
    6. Wilson
    7. Gibbins
    8. Ashe

    I’d say almost all of these players if fit make it into the 23.

  8. Iwannabesedated on

    Think we might be lucky to make the final for some of the reasons listed above – lack of forward firepower being the most glaring. Hastings needs to kick on for his career now too. He can learn form Pete Horne who is still a class act at 10/12/13. Sam Johnston if he can stay injury free is another classy midfielder who will be over employed by DR.
    Still looking forward to it and if (big if!) we make Celtic Park on 25 May – yahooooo!

  9. FF on

    Not too impressed that some of Scottish rugby’s media seem to have taken it upon themselves to try to run Mark Dodson out of his position.

    We’ve only just hauled ourselves out of the rank of perennial international whipping boys and they want to make the captain walk the plank. Madness!

    • David on

      I agree it has become noticeable that there is a bit of a vendetta. The Offside Line seem to have a particular bee in their bonnet, which may be understandable, but is a bit beneath them to be honest.

  10. FF on

    Interesting that Vellacott hasn’t made the 40 man extended England training squad, behind Youngs, Robson, Spencer and an injured Care.

    Redpath also long term injured so almost no chance he’ll be capped by England until after the RWC.

    Hope still springing…

  11. Not rocket science on

    Racing short highlights from first two games on youtube. Looks like Finn has had a good start.

  12. JP on

    I think Glasgow are fundamentally weaker this season than last whereas Edinburgh look stronger than last season. The only caveat I can make for Glasgow is that Rennie has a full pre season. Glasgow will make the play offs but they look ill equipped for the European big boys in the ECC and the P14. Fully expect Edinburgh to take the 1872 this season but they could really do without the distraction of ECC.

    • Neil on

      On Paper based of recruiting only JP i agree.

      However, Dave Rennie has a history of developing a squad based on what it has over recruiting and showed this to good effect with the Chiefs.

      Also look at the young players he had more time to work with in there debut seasons. Horne, Hastings etc and i expect alot of youngsters aswell as the current internationals to have improved skill sets and conditioning and the game plan will be in place to good effect now Rennie fully knows what he is working with.

      The lingering concern is the lack of power in the pack so it will be interesting to find out who steps up in that regard, 1 power signing at lock of backrow could of been invaluable to this seasons results.

    • Ben F on

      You ae correct JP, we will get very little from our stars this year as selfishly they are looking to avoid injury and get to the RWC based on past merit.

      You watch who will be missing tackles and steering clear of injury likely situations. I think the best thing for Glasgow is the imports (DTH, Gibbins) and emerging players, Horne,Hastings, Cummings etc and those for whom every cap is a bonus like Jackson. If I were Rennie I would offer them the European games, he will get nothing new from the nailed on Scotlamd intenationalists this season of all seasons .

      Interesting result last night , nothing in it game, Just one to be got through, except if your name is Nico or DTH. They have no aspirations other than playing for their employer.

      • Sean on

        I don’t think there is any need to read too much into last night. Yes the set piece was poor but it was like a revolving door with subs on and off.

        If you look at the Glasgow squad there is clearly a post Townsend project underway. There are a lot of Scottish players under 24 in the squad particularly in the pack.

        If in 2 or 3 years time guys like Matt Smith, Matt Fagerson, Scott Cummings are pushing for Scotland starting places and Fagerson, Turner and Bhatti improve then Rennie has probably done his job. Hopefully with some club success along the way.

        If you add in Fagerson, the Nuke, Kebble, Fraser Brown, JG then there is more ballast in the front 5 than was on display last night.

        Have faith!

        P.S Rory Hughes looked sharp and could have a big role to play during international windows.

      • JP on

        I disagree slightly. I know pre seasons are what they are but that is a Saints side which was a car crash last season. The season starts in a week, those boys should have been putting on a better show. What you saw was one side out to prove a point for the new season and one who didn’t want to be there. I feel increasingly pessimistic about Glasgow. My reading of the pre season has reinforced my feelings on all of the teams involved (yes I realise the bias I have just stated). Edinburgh carrying on an upward trajectory, Glasgow falling away, Quins continuing their downward trajectory, Saints sleeping giants waking up and Newcastle struggling to maintain last season excellent form.

      • Sean on

        Interesting comments. I definitely think Glasgow are at a different phase in development than Edinburgh.

        Glasgow are, in my opinion, working from a stable club and fan base and building a future for Scotland. This could mean a season or two until they are pushing for the title and hopefully European success.

        Edinburgh need to develop as a club and this is perhaps why the SRU have placed so many big names there (Hickey, Scott, Barclay plus the others). Good luck to them.

        As an aside, I was impressed with Frisby’s pass on Friday. I think in the big games he’ll be in the squad with one of Price or Horne. Looks to be a controlling 9 rather than a sniping 9 so a good option.

      • Billy on

        You cant go through a season “looking to avoid injury ” . It wont happen and it would not be allowed to happen . Ridiculous comment.

  13. Ben F on

    Finn wont be missing the divas at Glasgow. He has made a break away from the scottish game and that takes guts , he will benefit in the long term from that. Maybe others should take a leaf out of his book.

    • JP on

      Careful what you wish for. Hogg and Seymour in last year of contracts. A RWC swan song before big money moves I’d expect. Hogg could be a marquee signing in England so outside of salary cap but Seymour would need France for big money.

  14. Slough Massive on

    My thoughts on Fridays game are basically Glasgow seem to be continuing the same way as at the end of last season. Moments of brilliance but overall momentum lost by so many unforced errors, knockons, overthrows etc and a lack of power. A good thing about Friday night was we seemed to win a lot of penalties (even though we could not sustain pressure as a result). Overall kicking I thought was poor. For the season, hoping for more but prediction is playoffs and 3rd in European group.

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