Glasgow line up more summer signings

Danny Wilson plans to recruit a couple more key players in addition to the already-confirmed Du Preez and Vailamu

Glasgow squad
The Glasgow squad has been strengthened this season but Danny Wilson believes that further recruitment is needed for the coming campaign. Image: © Craig Watson.

DANNY Wilson plans to add two more big names to his Glasgow squad for next season in addition to the already-confirmed signings of JP du Preez and Sione Vailanu.

The Warriors squad has been significantly strengthened this season by the recruitment of Josh McKay, Jack Dempsey and Sebastian Cancelliere, and the head coach is confident that South African lock Du Preez and Tongan No 8 Vailanu will also be valuable additions. But, after seeing his team slump to another avoidable away defeat at the weekend, Wilson appears to believe that further recruits are required as they try to take the next step from being there or thereabouts in the URC to mounting a genuine challenge for the title.

“We’re certainly looking to strengthen our squad,” Wilson said earlier today. “I think we’ve done that to an extent with the ones that we’ve announced – Du Preez and Vailanu are two big impact players in the forwards. We’ve got a couple more that we’ll perhaps be announcing at the relevant time as well.”

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Although loath to give away too much about the identity of those potential signings, Wilson hinted that only one of the two would be Scottish. “I would say there is a bit of both,” he continued.

“In this period now, even though our  international players are back, we have to manage and look after a few of them. We can’t keep playing them – and rightly so. We need a squad that can deal with that.

“We need to be able to get Scottish players out there and to develop Scottish rugby players, internationals and the next crop of internationals. That is 100 per cent our responsibility. But you have to do that with a sprinkling of talent that is here all the time – you’re not going to lose it, you don’t have to manage it, you’ve got it here playing when you need it. We need players like Josh McKay to bolster us when our internationals are away.”

McKay was on excellent form in the first half against Cardiff, while Dempsey was also impressive in spells and Cancelliere scored a try either side of the break.  But the team as a whole once more proved unable to see out an away game, allowing Cardiff to fight back from 13 points down to win 32-28.

Glasgow can be relied upon to keep fighting to the death at Scotstoun even in games when they are below their best and end up losing, but they have wilted too often on the road  for  Wilson’s liking.  “It’s very frustrating, to be honest with you, that away from home we score a bonus point, four tries, by 42 minutes,” he continued. “You have to come away with a win there.

“The yellow card [for Cancelliere] hurts us then, in terms of taking a bit of momentum out of us on 50 minutes, and we don’t really get back into the game – we keep giving Cardiff field position and opportunities. And when you’ve got quality players like Jarrod Evans and Willis Halaholo, they’re going to score, and that’s what happened.

“So really disappointed in the final 30 minutes, and on the road that’s three times that’s happened to us. Scarlets I can see illness and an issue there that perhaps affected us physically; I think Exeter and this Cardiff game you’ve got to ask serious questions about going on the road and bridging the gap between being contenders and being a championship team.

“We spoke about it as a group – we did things a bit differently today and got opinion from senior leaders and from the playing group generally. We said a couple of times now it’s got to the point where we struggled to find a positive outcome from a series of negatives.


“As an example, after we concede a try, we get the ball back off the kick-off, we get turned over. Next thing we give a penalty away, next thing we give a penalty away, next thing we give a penalty away … So without Cardiff really having to do anything, they’re five metres away from our line, and they score.

“Away from home it’s eradicating those doubled-up negatives. We only gave nine penalties away in the game, but I’ve just given you three that were on the bounce, on top of each other. It’s those small situations where we need to quickly stop the rot as opposed to letting the rot set in.

“And there’s a whole host of things that we’ve talked about. There’s the technical and tactical side of that and there’s a mental side as well. We discussed that today and it’s the next part of us achieving what we want to achieve.”

Glasgow should return to winning ways at Scotstoun on Friday when they play Zebre, who are bottom of the table without a win to their name. But the expected five points from that game will not be enough to determine whether they stay in the URC top four at the end of the regular season – something they need to do to get a home quarter-final. Instead, that will depend on how they perform in three consecutive away games – against the Stormers, the Bulls, and Edinburgh. 

“A championship team wins regularly on the road and that’s the next step for us,” Wilson concluded. “We’ve taken huge steps this season from last season, but the final steps are about being more consistent on the road.”


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About Stuart Bathgate 1430 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. How many coming from S6? I did a count of the recent 6N Scotland squad – less than half born here!

    • I also did a recent count and got different answers. More than half the full squad was born in Scotland. And in every single game of the six nations more than half the 23 were born in Scotland.

      Im not overly concerned where our players are born, Scotland has a large diaspora.

    • after a season and a half, how many did you expect from the S6?

      As to your other point, is John Barclay Scottish in your opinion?

  2. Having gone down to Cardiff I was really impressed with Glasgow in the first half in what was a cracking game. With practically an international team I thought that there was a disappointing lack of leadership. Also I think the international players looked tired and that is understandable since they have come away from a very disappointing 6 Nations.
    Darge (for who I have great admiration) is still very young but he did not get one turnover all game so far as I can recall and losing the breakdown was key to Cardiff’ revival.
    We won a lot of Cardiff’s lineouts but one bad kick from Thompson (another great prospect)resulted in a Cardiff try.
    A Martin Johnson or a Jim Telfer character in their playing days would not have allowed the last 30 minutes to have happened, which gets me back to leadership.
    ‘s resurgence.

    • interesting comment re Darge. Sort of agree, sort of disagree.
      Ref was very odd at the breakdown, very SH (as he was at scrums). Glasgow player 3 times (at least 2 times it was Darge) made a clear lift when jackalling, then eventually cleared out. Reg allowed the ball carrier to hang in for support much longer than NH refs. Glasgow backed off a bit after that, no point at all risking a pen when there is no chance of a reward.
      Pretty much the same for both reams but hit Glasgow hard as we lost more, and I think explains lack of turnovers by Darge.
      He was still top tackler with 17 and none missed, 2nd top carrier in the pack, gave away zero pens. Lad is absolutely top drawer

  3. Oh dear some people apparently not happy with some of my statements. For the sake a good going argument please clarify.
    (a) Is your name Wilson or Dodson?
    (b) Are you happy with the continued inability of Glasgow to close out games from winning positions?
    (c) Has the rationale behind these capitulations been explained.
    (d) Has the decision to continually make substitutions at critical points in matches been adequately explained.
    (e) Do you think Glasgow will now struggle to obtain a home playoff game?
    Interesting to see if various apologist’s agree with the above or not.

    • a) mine isn’t either
      b) nope
      c) I’m sure its a huge worry for all concerned. It ain’t being ignored
      d) if they knew and could fix it they would. Sadly no magic wand
      e) Yes, I suspect they will struggle

      oh, and
      f) I live in the real world, not one where Glasgow are entitled to win every game. A world where than are better this season than last. One where I recognise that the Glasgow squad is not all powerful. One where I recognise the shambles Rennie eft leading into covid shutdown. One where I recognise next season is the big test for Wilson, it will be absolutely his squad; but it may not be able to compete with the big money across the water

  4. There’s definitely a psychological issue here. Do the players actually believe they can win a tight game away? The fade in the last 30 Minutes was really poor. Sport is a combination of skill determination and mind. Rather than a change in coach maybe they need a really good sports psychologist. Also puzzled what does Vailanu say about Dempsey? 2 possibles 1) He’s leaving or 2) He will opt for Scotland and Glasgow need cover. If not either of these Scotland are desperately in need of a true No 8 and all the roles are being filled at both Pro teams by non scots to the great disservice of the national team.

  5. Would tend to agree with angrygala here – there tends to be an over reaction to a bad display on this site. We were all disappointed with the Cardiff fade and yes not for the first time. You’ve to got to look at the players on the pitch for this as they are the ones making the mistakes and poor decisions when we fell away at the end. For example the Weir drop out after the try that goes straight into touch is just criminal. Instead of getting some territory the balls straight back to them on half way. So do you blame the coach for players making mistakes – you can blame him for the subs of course.

    Regards new players coming in – we’ll see who they are but I doubt it will be major marquee players. I hope meantime the players can learn to manage these winning positions. A lot is said about psychology but I’m not sure how you fix that. I think the trip to South Africa will make or break their campaign as I think they will require one win on the road to make top 4.

  6. Leadership is the issue… and it looks as though there isn’t a succession plan in place for Wilson/Brown in that role.

    In my humble view – club leaders are better when born and bred there, so although big “signings” are welcome, I’m struggling to see how this fixes our main issue – unless it is a stop gap to buy time for Darge and Dobie provided we can keep them.

    Credibility would improve if the comms were better and a plan was in place…. But hey, that isn’t the SRU way….

    • I think you will find the my use of the word pathetic relates to the poor attempt at diversion after yet another calamity. For what it’s worth I think Danny Wilson comes across as a genuine guy but at best a bang average coach who has been foisted on Glasgow by the SRU to prevent a costly recruitment when Rennie departed.
      No one from Glasgow has addressed the reasons why Glasgow have lost the games I have highlighted from winning positions, the most we get is Townsendesque drivel. Why has this happened and what are you doing about it Danny?
      Glasgow are 4th in the table however they should be above Leinster if they hadn’t binned 3 league wins. We would have been guaranteed a home play off spot and could have rested key players and be favourites to make the semi’s or even the final. After Fridays tryfest against Zebre we are away against tough opposition who are also in the hunt for a home semifinal. If we fold when lower table Welsh teams apply some pressure what do you think will happen when the Stormers or the Bulls, resplendent with all their returning Springbocks, do the same.
      I think a home playoff is now beyond us and we will at best visiting Edinburgh again or be back on the plane to South Africa for a drubbing unless we get a lucky monsoon like Edinburgh did.
      All so unnecessary but never mind it doesn’t matter because some non specified players will be coming next year. Cake tomorrow, mince today. Ohh look a squirrel……… as I said pathetic.

  7. Not sure if Wilson was involved in Glasgow’s last round of recruitment but I’d say across Glasgow and Edinburgh the quality of recruits really stepped up a notch last summer from the very poor recruitment under Rennie and latterly, Cockerill. Only really Domingo Miotti hasn’t really had any impact I think.

    We definitely have to concentrate on high quality in problem positions and make sure we aren’t just blocking opportunities for younger players – it’s a fine balancing act but I think Glasgow do need to clear out some deadwood from the squad as it isn’t the younger lads letting down the side generally, it’s maybe some veterans whose best days are well behind them.

  8. Well Danny why four times now have we fallen off a cliff from winning positions against Exeter, Benetton, Scarlets and Cardiff, what answers do you have and what are you going to do to prevent it happening again?

    Ehh. Ehh……………… look a squirrel.


    • Yeh so pathetic… says the couch potato (Balls Up)

      Glasgow are 4th in the table… only Munster, Ulster and Leinster are marginally ahead with either the same win/loss ratio (Munster), 1 win ahead (Ulster) or 2 wins ahead (Leinster).

      They are ahead of the other 12 teams… yet Wilson is pathetic for placing us in title contention…

      Are all the coaches below/equal to us in the league pathetic? Is Dan McFarland of Ulster? They are only 5 point ahead of us.

      Have a word with yourself.. this is sport, and unfortunately upsets happen to us, teams are constantly evolving to beat us and vice-versa.

      There is massive progress in this team, and yes more to go, but we’re headed in the right direction.

    • Well, I’m going to persuade The Junta at Murrayfield to sanction the recruitment of more average non-Scots, and give less game time to young Scottish players.

      That is Danny’s probable answer.

      • better if you could persuade them to splash out on a DE Allende, or a Fekitoa or a Ngati or a Snyman or a Vermuelin or………………..

        If only because I’d enjoy the outrage on here about a scottish side trying to compete with an Irish one financially

      • Which average non Scots you on about? Josh McKay or Jack Dempsey?

        Funnily enough the Scottish players competing with McKay and Dempsey (Oli Smith and Matt Fagerson) have been in really great form for Club and/or country this season… coincidence?


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