Everyone at Glasgow Warriors, the players, coaches and support staff, can’t wait for Friday night when we host the first ever game at our new ground, Scotstoun Stadium.
t’s been our training and admin base for a couple of years, but now that we’ll be playing our matches there as well, it’s really going to become the home of Glasgow Warriors.
It’s been great to hear guys like our new forwards Angus Macdonald and Tim Swinson, blokes who have been around professional rugby for over a decade, arrive at Scotstoun and rave about the facilities.
Our new head coach, Gregor Townsend, reckons it’s right up there with any combined training and playing base he’s experience in the game, and that’s coming from someone who has seen the competition up close and personal in England, France, South Africa and Australia.
Our fans have also bought into the excitement surrounding the move, snapping up Season Ticket Memberships in record numbers. The boys are absolutely determined to repay their faith with a fast start to the season, beginning with Scarlets on Friday night.
Our home form last year was the bedrock of the consistency that saw us reach the RaboDirect PRO12 semi-finals for the second time in three years. Nobody enjoys coming to Glasgow now, and we’ve got to ensure that we bring the same intensity on the field and the same partisan atmosphere off it when we run out in our new surroundings.
There’s been a good bit of investment in the squad from Scottish Rugby over the last few months, and the seven new additions the coaches have made have helped increase the competition for places across the board.
The battle for the starting jersey is no more intense that in my own position, stand-off, where I’m fighting it out with two classy customers in the shape of Ruaridh Jackson and Scott Wight.
If you think that’s tough, spare a thought for the back-row boys, who have even more competition to see off just to make it out onto the field of a Friday night.
At blindside flanker, we’ve got a former All Black, Macdonald, and Rob Harley, one of the most consistent players in the RaboDirect PRO12 these past two years, as well as a promising youngster in the form of Scotland 7s man Adam Ashe.
On the other side of the back row, the coaches can choose from John Barclay, long established as one of the best opensides in Europe, and the prodigious Chris Fusaro, who won so many Player of the Year awards last season, he’s probably had to put up extra shelves.
At No.8, it’s great to have Ryan Wilson back in the mix. “Geezer”, as he’s affectionately known by the rest of the boys, was having a storming season last time round before he suffered a knee injury in the win over Cardiff Blues back in March.
He’s chomping at the bit to wow the Warriors fans again, and I’m sure he has a big year ahead of him again.
My own aims for the season are very clear. I want to perform consistently well for Glasgow, driving our attack and helping us fulfill our potential going forward.
I’ve also been working really hard on my kicking to make sure it’s right on the money when the team needs it most.
The RaboDirect PRO12 is such a hard-fought competition with so little between the sides that, frequently, games are decided by a handful of points. We at the Warriors were good at finding ways of making sure we ended up on the right side of those tight matches last year, and we need to ensure that’s the case again this time round.
All the best to everyone for another great season of RaboDirect PRO12 rugby. I hope to see you at Scotstoun in the very near future.