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?
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
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.