Glasgow v Bulls: Ryan Wilson ready to fight for his jersey

Former Warriors skipper missed start of the season because he was at a wedding in New York

New signing JP Du Preez gets to know the colourful Ryan Wilson during training last week. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
New signing JP Du Preez gets to know the colourful Ryan Wilson during training last week. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

RYAN WILSON was living the high life in New York when this season kicked off, but the veteran back-rower insists that he is as committed as ever to the Glasgow Warriors cause, and stresses that he is fully focussed on reclaiming and then cementing his place in the starting XV. He also believes he has another four-years left at the sharp end of the game.

“I missed the Treviso game as it was my best mate’s wedding in New York,” explained the 33-year-old. “But I’d spoken about it with the coaches from quite early and when Franco [Smith] came in as head coach I had to check with him and he was happy with it. I’ve missed plenty of important occasions over my 13 years here but that was a special one, best man at a wedding.

“Then it was a nightmare getting back actually, delayed and missed flights and all sorts. And then I was meant to land but it was the day of the Queen’s funeral and that had a knock-on effect on all flights. So, I ended up getting back on the Tuesday and the way that we train we have big days on Monday and Tuesday so missing those had an effect on the Cardiff game that I missed.”


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Wilson returned to the match-day squad for last weekend’s away match to the Ospreys and while he had no problem being behind up-and-coming 21-year-old Gregor Brown on that occasion, he doesn’t plan to make a habit of it.

“I realise the transition we’re in and Franco needs to see players play as well,” he said. “Gregor hasn’t played a huge amount of games at this level but I know what he can do, and I think he’s going to be a fantastic player

“But I’m not ready to step back yet. I always joke about it that I’ll go for another four years, easy. There’s four years in this old body yet. So, I’ll be pushing and trying to be in the team as much as possible this season. And when I get my opportunity, hopefully I take it.”

Wilson along with Fraser Brown were replaced as Warriors co-captains by Kyle Steyn this season but says it hasn’t significantly changed the way he operates.

“Over the past five years I’ve always been skipper,” he reflected. “Dave Rennie came in and made me captain, and then it was co-captains with Callum Gibbons, and also under Danny Wilson (alongside Brown).

“So, after all those years as captain in some form this has been very different for me. But the way that I approach it is the same way as I did when I was captain. There’s no difference in me trying to lead and as you go on you develop different roles.

 

“One of those [roles] that we’ve chatted about is definitely me pushing and helping the younger guys. But that’s something that I’ve already naturally developed into, a leader that tries to help people grow. I see it as part of what I do already.

“In terms of the way I led as captain, it wasn’t so much the rugby. I left that more to Fraz. It was more stuff off-field which suits me as I can carry on doing that. And then helping Steyn-o. It’s tough for him as he got injured early on which is frustrating, but it’s so important just to let him be and not have an effect on how he leads for the first three or four months. He needs to find out for himself what works and what doesn’t. It’s leaving him to see what his style is and then giving him some advice as we go along.”

As it happens, an early injury suffered by Jack Dempsey on Saturday meant that Wilson played 70 minutes on a demoralising night for the Warriors when they suffered 32-17 defeat. He’s hoping to be involved again this coming Saturday when the Bulls will provide the opposition at Scotstoun.

“It’s a big old Bulls team and they’re tough to go over there and play against but we’ve got that little added bonus when we’re at home with the crowd behind us,” he added. “Hopefully we can sell a few more tickets again and get this place sold out and jumping.”

 


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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

2 Comments

  1. I think Ryan’s main contribution last week was cuddling Osprey’s players on the fringe of mauls.
    To think that Murrayfield were happy to allow Rob Harley to leave and keep the ” diamond geezer” Wilson is utterly bewildering. I guess all the professionalism he can bring to bear off the pitch will help Steyn-o’s leadership on it, or some such nonsense.

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