Danny Wilson distances himself from Harlequins link

It has been a tough first season for the Glasgow Warriors head coach but calls for his head are premature

Danny Wilson has had a tough first season as head coach at Glasgow Warriors. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

DANNY WILSON has distanced himself from a possible move away from Glasgow Warriors to take over as head coach at Harlequins – but did not explicitly rule out the possibility of a switch to The Stoop.

It was reported over the weekend that the English Premiership side have compiled a four-strong list of candidates to replace Paul Gustard, who departed the club abruptly in January, with Wilson named alongside New Zealander Tabai Matson (recently released as assistant coach to the Chiefs Super Rugby franchise), South African John Dobson (currently head coach of the Stormers) and perhaps Scotsman Clark Laidlaw (son of Roy and cousin of Greig, who is currently preparing the New Zealand Sevens team for this summer’s Olympics).

“All I can say is that I am under contract with Glasgow and concentrating on the job in front of me, which is a long-term project that we’re all working towards and committed to,” stated Wilson. “That’s all I’ve got to say on it. It’s not often I’ll do that – I’m pretty straight – but that’s the situation and that’s all I’ve got to say on it.”


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Wilson has come under fire recently from a vocal section of Warriors’ fanbase who believe the club has gone backwards since he took up the reins last summer. The reality is that he was dealt an almost impossible hand, inheriting a squad which has already hit a downward trajectory during Dave Rennie’s last season in charge, and with Covid meaning that he had no budget and minimal time to put his own stamp on the team ahead of the restart of rugby last August.

He has also been deprived a huge number of his most influential players during this campaign due to a combination of a horrendous injury list and two mammoth international windows.

The table below highlights how many leading players missed more than two-thirds of the 1,520 game minutes in total the team has played this season:

In the circumstances, Warriors did well to finish fourth in their PRO14 conference, and it now looks like that will be enough to qualify them for the enlarged 24-team Champions Cup next season. Wilson has recruited extensively for 2021-22 and will hope that the several youngsters he has blooded this season will push on to become key members of a much deeper squad.

“We managed to win three out of our last four league games to qualify for Europe, and if we can beat Edinburgh on Friday to claim the 1872 Cup for the first time since 2017 then all of a sudden there are small achievements to build on after what we all knew would be a tough year,” said the coach.

There has been mistakes along the way. Signing and then extending the contract of Leone Nakarawa was a waste of time and money, and he persevered for too long with Brandon Thomson after it became apparent that the South African playmaker’s nerves were shot.

Even still, to say that the jury is out on Wilson would be premature because he has not even had a decent chance to properly make his case yet.


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About David Barnes 2390 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

7 Comments

  1. I’m often critical of stuff on here, but I agree 100% with this article.

    Its spot on.
    Covid hit everyone, of course. But Scotland covid bubbles didn’t.
    The budget freeze after Rennie had failed to address obvious rebuilding needs for 2 seasons didn’t hit everyone (ageing backs, loss of Hogg etc.)
    And that injury list didn’t hit everyone.
    Put those 3 together and add in having to overplay Ryan Wilson and Bob Harley and Tom Gordon as last men standing.
    This season was almost inevitable.

    Wilson can be judged when he has had a “normalish” season, with his recruitment in place

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  2. I have mixed feelings since Wilson has not had enough time with most of his players to be too closely judged. The way the young players have come on suggests that they have been both well coached and well managed.

    The new signings give me some hope and we should judge Wilson after the first half of next season. ‘Home’ advantage disappeared during Covid in all sports and results in rugby and football give support to this idea.

    On the other hand Brown’s comments after Benetton suggest that motivation is lacking and that has, in part, got to be down to the coach. We need to recognise that all the players, being in a bubble, have lived a very sheltered life which must have an effect on their mental state. Life has been just as difficult for them as for the rest of the population.

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  3. Did Covid only affect Glasgow then??!! Parachuted in without a proper recruitment process on the back of failing badly as national forwards coach and now getting thrashed off the Italians. Sorry he should never had job in the first place based on his prior performance. Time to properly recruit a coaching team that has some vision and can release the potential of the young backs. Looking at new coaches at Dragons and Ospreys they are seriously moving their sides forwards. Glasgow hurtling in opposite direction.

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  4. Not sure where this is going?

    Wilson has not proved himself, and to be fair, has not had “normal” circumstance to do so. It has been a tough 18 months for everyone.

    I am willing to give him time, as a supporter, to show that he has a game plan that can compete with the rest of the Pro14. Right now the jury is out for me. But Wilson needs to start off with a better season next time round. He has a lot of new faces to fit in and I am not sure we have seen the last of some player exits either.

    It would need to be a productive summer for him and the team.

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  5. Seriously Harlequin’s who are playing lovely rugby since they got rid of Gustard and in with a good chance of the play-offs for the first time in a along time want to recruit our coach, please take him he is yours. I cannot agree with the direction of the article, they do not play like the Glasgow of old, even the Irish commentators in the Last Leinster game could not figure out why they were so poor and unlike the Glasgow of old. There is a lack of development of a range of players , who burst on to the scene and then failed to develop. There has been a range of poor signings, did we break Thomson by never playing him, why do we now have 5 no 9’s all of them excellent and almost no tens, one full back , they have mismanaged Huw Jones , the card master collector Ioane is a poor signing, 4 hookers three of them international grade.
    When I get depressed I can look at the games of a few years back on YouTube and wonder what went wrong, but this last 18 months have been a tough watch and the style of play is not what was great about Glasgow. I do not mind losing to the likes of Leinster even their B team , but to loose to Benetton and the Welsh sides, is not acceptable. If you think the coach makes no difference then look at Harlequins since they got rid of Gustard.

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    • would that be the Glasgow of old with Hogg, Russell, Horne, Horne, Steyn, Hastings, DTH, Seymour, Dunbar, Bennett, Matawalu, and a fit younger Nakawara all, or even most of them available?

      Now, what did the great guru Rennie do to replace these guys or back them up? Masaga?

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