Glasgow Warriors announce six end-of-season leavers

Scotland duo Sam Johnson and Simon Berghan will move on this summer

Sam Johnson is one of six players leaving Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Sam Johnson is one of six players leaving Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND internationalists Sam Johnson and Simon Berghan are among the five players who will leave Glasgow Warriors at the end of this season. It has already been announced that Ryan Wilson is moving on, while head coach Franco Smith confirmed two weeks ago that Lewis Bean and Cole Forbes are on their way out.

Cameron Neild, who joined the club in November on a short-term deal to the end of this season, will also not return next season.

Speaking at the end of last month, Smith indicated that all of this summer’s departees are doing so on their volition. “Nobody here is being let go,” he said . “Everybody has a choice. I don’t want to go into it too much, but it’s sad to lose them. It wasn’t the intent of the club to lose them at all, but the players also have a choice.”


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It has been reported that second-row Bean will join Montauban in French rugby’s Pro D2 (second-tier) next season, but it is not clear at this stage where any of the other leavers are headed off to.

The departure of Johnson is the biggest eye-brow raiser given his service to the club in 104 appearances over the last eight years. At 29, he should still have a few good years left in his playing career and the no-nonsense. hard-running centre is bound to attract suitors, either in Europe or back in his native Australia.

With a combination from Sione Tuipulotu, Huw Jones and Stafford McDowall expected to populate the Warriors midfield during next Friday’s Challenge Cup Final clash against Toulon in Dublin, it looks like Johnson will not have an opportunity to bow out in front of the club’s supporters.

Berghan also has international pedigree and has played regularly this season – he’s been involved in 19 out of a possible 26 matches – but with Zander Fagerson, Murphy Walker, Lucio Sordoni and Enrique Pieretto all on the books, Warriors are fairly well stocked at tight-head prop.

In the club statement announcing the departure, Smith said: “Thank you to Ryan, Sam, Lewis, Cole, Simon and Cameron for their contributions to the club this season, I am grateful for their hard work, and wish them all the very best in their new challenges.

“After a season like this it is difficult to say goodbye to players that bought in and contributed the way they did. They have all played a valuable part in helping us to reach the league quarter-finals, and will keep doing so as we continue preparations for our first ever European final.

“I sincerely thank these players for their commitment to the Glasgow Warriors team and the club’s values.”


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About David Barnes 3995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.

12 Comments

  1. Wish them all the very best, some really good players moving on. SJ will be a real loss – hope he finds somewhere really good. I guess at 29 you want more game time than he might get at Glasgow though with RWC having him on board would be awesome. I think Bean will be back. Good for a young guy to try another culture – we may see him in the Top 14 in a couple of seasons!! Just a pity it wasn’t announced sooner so the crowd could show their appreciation at Scotstoun.

  2. Sorry to see SJ and Forbes leave. SJ has been good when playing this term, and Forbes is extremely reliable and consistent.

    Reading the above, it sounds like the players chose to move on rather than Glasgow releasing them. Its a short career, and I’m sure they want to play more, or try different leagues, or just live somewhere different. Good luck to them all.

    Glasgow will need to find at least one more winger, I reckon. Cordero might well see his short-term contract extended, but there is space to add another.

  3. I don’t think this is necessarily the last of the moves, we could still potentially see some shifts between Gla/Edi and potential retirements, and some pedigree coming in – I am ever hopeful….

    It will be interesting to see who comes in and in what positions – budgets inevitably will be tight! Where are our priorities and what drives that for next season and beyond?

    Centres although potentially a real problem during RWC wouldn’t be my initial concern longer term, with both Steyn and Jordan very capable in that area, so although Jordan has had a great breakthrough season, I think him at 12 with a more rounded 10 (ie balanced running/kicking game for those tight Munsteresque games) to compete with a hopefully fit Thomson would serve us better than a new centre longer term. I like Miotti, but he is also running focussed like Jordan (it is telling that the two players most likely to put through a grubber are Sione and McDowall!)

    Shame that Bean has chosen to move to France, but his emergence has given him the opportunity so best of luck to him, but lock is a concern once big Richie eventually hangs up his boots, and we really need a plan for his replacement. Du Preez has improved, but we need someone who masters those lineouts and can compete like Richie – even when he jumps without lifters!!

    A wing plus utility back for RWC/6N cover although we should recognise that most teams (except you know who!) will struggle with both of those next season, and we couldn’t resent Seb if he’s picked for the Pumas. Expect to see some Academy players blooded during RWC and dare I say Super 6? Hopefully both McKay and Cordero are fit – did Cordero only come in short term?

    9 will be covered by Kennedy and Dobie (not enough game time to go to RWC plus took a knock). Back row already got additional cover coming in plus Brown (Fraser and Gregor), Ferrie, Gordon, Vailanu (will he be away with Tonga?) Lock ok with DuPreez. Samuel, Manjezi (if fit?). Props ok with McBeth, Dell and Walker (don’t expect him to make RWC). Johnny will make the No2 shirt “HIS”.

    Other views are available – but 10 and Lock and some Back cover would be my priorities….

  4. Must be some incomers to replace these guys. SJ a big loss and I can’t think who else we have at centre beyond the top 3 who are all in Scotland squad. I also thought Bean had really improved into a good solid 2nd row and was a regular when Cummings and Gray not around

  5. Shame about Sam Johnson. Top bloke and fine player for Glasgow and Scotland. Also thought Cole Forbes had his moments. Both could have been retained. Good luck to all 6.

  6. That means Sean Kennedy, Duncan Weir and Ally Miller are all being retained which is interesting as they have struggled for game time this season, but may well have important roles to play especially in providing experience when world cup players are not available

  7. What has caused this? Budget? Player frustration at insufficient game time? Not sure if Glasgow can afford to lose Sam Johnson – what a player he’s been for club and country. Tuipo, Jones and McDowall may be in the box seats right now, but with international call-ups and injury part of the modern game you need quality and squad depth. Cole Forbes was a peripheral team member and likewise a useful part of the rotation system. Berghans departure puts the squeeze on tight head, while Big Lewis was a solid citizen, although Samuel may be deemed ready to step up. Sorry to see them go, but hopefully Franco has something in mind and there will be some good pedigree to replace them.

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  8. Very surprised by this announcement. Success this season has been built around squad depth and rotation. All of these guys have played a huge part this and previous seasons and will need replaced in the close season to maintain the system. Must be contractual for aomemof them.

  9. Sorry to see SJ go, good servant to the cause for both Glasgow and Scotland and would still have been excellent cover for RWC and 6N. He was never the fastest in the centres but seems to have lost a few yards of pace over the last season or two? Watching him struggle to get back for Fifita’s run in v the Scarlets was difficult watching.

    Wish him and the others all the best wherever their next steps are in or out of Rugby!

  10. Johnson certainly raised my eyebrows given that the other 3 centres are likely to be off with Scotland and managed for a significant chunk of next season and that leaves the cupboard pretty bare.

    I suspect there may be a bit more going on than Smith is letting on about. For example were they offered an extension but on reduced terms and given that choice?

    • could be, esp in Johnson’s case. He has gone from 1st pick to 4th, no longer in the Scotland squad so his offer would no doubt reflect that. Or like Forbes he may be homesick.
      Bean probably just was offered way more than Glasgow could or were prepared to pay. With Samuel and Williamson coming through and Manjezi back to fitness shouldn’t be a huge issue.
      Bergan rumoured to be retiring. Sordoni and Pieretto plus Murphy backing up ZF, again not a big issue.
      I wish them all the best whatever they do next

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