Al Dickinson admits Glasgow exits likely as he looks forward to Rory Sutherland reunion

The scrum coach is keen to help the Scotland prop rediscover his best form

Al Dickinson is looking forward to working with Rory Sutherland again © Craig Watson

GLASGOW scrum coach Al Dickinson admits players will likely need to move on from Scotstoun this summer to offset new arrivals.

The long-expected signing of Rory Sutherland was confirmed by the club last week, with the Scotland prop set to move to Warriors in the summer on a two-year deal.

Glasgow are already well stocked in the loosehead department with Jamie Bhatti, Allan Dell, Nathan McBeth and Oli Kebble currently on the books.

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Bhatti is contracted to the club until 2026 and McBeth until 2027 making Dell – whose short-term deal is up in the summer – and Kebble, who signed an extension of unspecified length in 2022, the most likely to move on.

Dickinson believes that the club needs that depth of competition to cope with injuries and players away on international duty but conceded that there will be likely departures come the end of the season to help balance the numbers.

He said: “That’s pro rugby and pro sport. You can’t keep everyone forever. Players will move and players will come in, staff will move and more staff will come in.

“You want to try and keep a core but you never know what’s round the corner. That’s professional rugby so whoever is here in any present time will be who we work with. It’s the good and bad thing of professional sport.

“[Having so many options is a] great problem to have as a coach. Keeping them happy is a different matter but it’s a lot of games now and I don’t think you want to be playing every game.

“It’s how you rotate and how you manage and keep them fresh physically and mentally which is part of the challenge. We usually go from having no props to a lot which is what we need but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Dickinson was visibly enthusiastic about being reunited with Sutherland with whom he played at Edinburgh for four years.

The former Hawick High School pupil has been through some difficult times after Worcester Warriors’ financial collapse, moving on to short-term deal with Ulster and then Oyonnax.

Sutherland is keen to get back to the standard that saw him selected for the British and Irish Lions tour in 2021 and Dickinson hopes he can help get him back there.

He added: “Big Suzz is back! It’s a great signing and he’ll be looking forward to getting back to the homeland.

“It’ll be great to get him back and get climbed into him in pre-season and welcome him back. He’s a great kid. I played with him at Edinburgh and we want to get him back to where he needs to be and where he wants to be as a Lion.

“That’s what his aim is and it’s where we want to get him back to. It’s another good man to get into the mix and I’ll try help him get back to his potential.

“It’s been tough for him at Worcester then the short spell at Ulster and then over in France so he’s bounced about a bit and hasn’t been able to get into his groove where I think he needs to be to perform. So when he gets back here he’ll take off again and the boys around him will do the same.”

A number of Scotland players reported back to Scotstoun today (Monday) following the conclusion of the Six Nations and head coach Franco Smith will decide how many – if any – will feature against Cardiff on Friday night.

Dickinson added: “Johnny Matthews and Jack Dempsey are here, Matt Fagerson is knocking around. Alex [Samuel] and Max [Williamson] too so we’ve got a few boys back.

“They’ll come in dribs and drabs but it’s the good thing about the squad at the moment is the strength in depth. You don’t have to flood everyone back in which is great.

“The guys who didn’t play that much or didn’t play at all [might feature this weekend]. That’s up to Franco. We’ll chat about that later today and see who is available and what the plans are.”

About Graeme Macpherson 36 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.


  1. Hoping that we can slim down experienced prop numbers in both Glasgow and Edinburgh to allow new players to come through. I think a structure like: 2 experienced SQ props on each side then at least 2 developing sq pros to learn and get game time. That is what the SRU should aim for with 2 pro teams. Means 8 props on the books to develop and manage with others obviously playing in other leagues etc.

    • You need more than 8 props, simply for the fact that the front row is an attritional position and what if your 2 senior ones get injured. A callow front row v the SA teams or the Irish teams would get destroyed.

      As is said in article Dell and Kebble look most likely to leave so that opens up opportunities for the young bucks to step up.

  2. With respect to some of the guys there, I’d rather see them moved on and the best young props in the country given the opportunity. Not sure who that is on the loosehead side to be honest, but Murphy Walker needs to be given time on the tighthead to realise his potential.

    • Nathan McBeth is a SQ Loosehead and is young I believe. Him and Walker need to be given as much game time as possible to help them develop.

      • McBeth is 25 and Walker 24, these aren’t young guys (in the rugby world) and highlight the main issue. Walker has played less than 20 pro games McBeth less than 30. Our young guys are years behind other nations because they don’t get game time so they get to mid 20s with minimal experience.

  3. It feels like it would be a high risk strategy to have both Sutherland and Dell on the books. I like them both, but they are pretty familiar with the treatment room.

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