With a new stadium and coaching team in place, there will be a familiar ring to Glasgow Warriors’ on-field leadership in the coming season after inspirational lock forward Al Kellock was today confirmed as the club’s 2012/13 captain.
It will be a seventh year as skipper for the second row, whose renowned marshalling qualities saw him appointed captain as soon as he came home from Edinburgh Rugby in 2006.
He has since made 76 appearances in the RaboDirect PRO12, leading the club to the play-offs in both 2010 and 2012. Kellock was named captain of the tournament’s Dream Team two years ago, testament to the esteem in which he is held across the European game.
He holds the all-time RaboDirect PRO12 record for the most appearances as captain of any team: 70.
The 30-year-old has notched up a further 30 starts in continental competition, skippering the Warriors to a host of notable Heineken Cup wins against such prestigious opposition as Toulouse (2009), London Wasps, Bath and Montpellier (all 2011).
Kellock has furthermore skippered Scotland to victory against Australia (2009) as well as overseeing their first ever series win in the southern hemisphere two years ago in Argentina.
A Glasgow man through and through, the 6ft 8in customer was educated at Bishopbriggs High School and received his grounding in the game at Allan Glen’s before moving to Stirling County.
New head coach Gregor Townsend told www.glasgowwarriors.org it was a “very easy decision” to endorse Kellock’s captaincy credentials, hailing him as a “terrific leader who embodies everything the club stand for.”
Townsend said: “Al enjoys massive respect from everyone in the game: his teammates, opposition players, coaches and supporters. He is rightly seen as Mr Glasgow Warriors, bringing a fantastic mix of inspirational and technical qualities to the table.
“He’s a captain and a player that the whole squad look up to and from whom they take their lead. He knows the club and the competitions in which we play inside out, and is more hungry than ever to drive the team forward to success.
“We’re fortunate at the Warriors to have a good number of players who provide leadership on and off the park, and that reflects very well on the example Al has set over the years.
“Myself and the other coaches are thoroughly looking forward to working with him as our captain as we seek to build on a positive season last year and achieve something special at Scotstoun.”
Kellock said it “continues to be a massive honour” to skipper the Warriors, and expressed excitement at the prospect of leading the side into battle at their great new home.
He told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “Pulling on a Glasgow Warriors jersey is a great privilege and responsibility, and that’s even more the case when you’re captain of the group.
“This season is shaping up to be a special time in our history, with the move to a stadium where we’re sure we can create a real ‘home of Glasgow Warriors’ feel. We showed good consistency in the RaboDirect PRO12 last year and reached the play-offs, and with a number of strong additions to the squad, our ambition is to improve on that this season.
“There’s a terrific buzz around the squad as we head into the new campaign. Gregor has made clear to the team his vision and ambition, and we’re all excited about putting into practice everything we’ve worked on and talked about in the close season.”
The Warriors have two pre-season fixtures in the next fortnight: away to Sale Sharks in the Mark Cueto Testimonial at Heywood Road on Saturday 18 August, and a clash with Exeter Chiefs at Millbrae (home of Ayr RFC) on Thursday 23 August.
The new RaboDirect PRO12 season begins with a visit to Ulster on Friday 31 August, before Scarlets are the first visitors to Scotstoun on Friday 7 September.
A record number of Season Ticket Members have already signed up to back the Warriors in the first campaign at their new home.
Some great seats are still available in both the Main and North stands, but with sales coming in thick and fast, supporters are urged not to delay their purchase.
Season Ticket Members get all 14 regular season home RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup matches for the price of 9 – a saving of up to £145. See www.glasgowwarriors.org or call 0844 800 3490 for full details.
Supporters are invited to Scotstoun this Sunday for our latest Open Day. Fans can watch the team take on Aberdeen Grammar in an opposed training session from 2pm, with players and coaches available for autographs and photos thereafter. Fans can also have a walk round the stadium to get themselves in the mood for the big move!