Competition for places in the Glasgow Warriors second row is set to intensify even further in the coming months after it was today confirmed that Otago lock Rob Verbakel has agreed a deal to move to Scotland’s number one city.
The 24-year-old forward will arrive in Scotland next week, fresh from helping the Dunedin-based outfit to five wins in the ITM Cup (previously the NPC and Air New Zealand Cup).
Verbakel holds a Dutch passport, with both of his parents having been born in the Netherlands. He came to rugby relatively late, only beginning to play the game seriously while he was at university in Christchurch.
His progress was instant and impressive enough to win him a place in the Canterbury ITM Cup side last season, before he earned a move to Otago for the 2011 campaign. Verbakel scored his first ITM Cup try in their opening match of the season, against North Harbour.
The Nelson-born second row, whose family are farmers and who holds a degree in civil engineering, today told www.glasgowwarriors.org of his excitement at the prospect of joining the club.
He said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to be coming to a side who play in two of the best club competitions in the northern hemisphere, the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup.
“I was thrilled to get the call, and it wasn’t something I needed to think particularly long about. I know I’ll be arriving with the season already underway, but I feel like I’ll be showing up battle-hardened after my involvement with Otago and my aim will be to hit the ground running with the Warriors.
“The talk back home is all about the Rugby World Cup, and it’s obvious from the number of guys Glasgow have involved that I’m coming to a quality outfit. It will be great to learn from these players, and hopefully bring the benefit of my own experiences as well.
“I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in putting this together, especially Glasgow Warriors and Otago Rugby Union”
Warriors head coach Sean Lineen today hailed Verbakel’s addition, confirming to www.glasgowwarriors.org: “I’m very pleased to have Rob signed up, both because he’s a player who will bring a number of very positive aspects to the group and because of the timing.
“We’re delighted to have given so many players to the Scotland squad, but it’s also good to have a bit more depth in our squad and I’m looking forward to seeing Rob challenge the likes of Tom Ryder, Rob Harley, James Eddie and Nick Campbell for a place in the second row.
“He’s a powerful kind of lock, whose basics in the set-piece are very strong and who likes to carry the ball. I’m very confident he will be an asset to the group in what is a vital stage of our season.”
Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 game against reigning tournament champions Munster will see the return of the unique Firhill Friday experience, with plenty to attract supporters on and off the pitch.
Fans can enjoy some of the leading players in Scotland, the next generation of stars, and the most fun, family-friendly night out in the west as they cheer on the pride of Glasgow in one of Europe’s best club rugby competitions.
Supporters who commit to a super-value Warriors season ticket before Friday’s match, thus guaranteeing their spot for all the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup action, will be in with a chance of winning one of five pairs of high-end hospitality at our glamour European opener against Bath at Firhill on Sunday 13 November.
The price of adult (£180) and student/senior citizen (£90) season tickets has been held at last year’s rates, while under-18s will pay just £35. The winners of this great competition will be announced at the Munster match.
Fans can call 0844 800 3490 or visit www.glasgowwarriors.org for more information on season tickets and to stake a claim for this very special Heineken Cup win.