GLASGOW Warriors have signed two hookers on short-term deals – Johnny Matthews, who joins from Boroughmuir, and Pat O’Toole, a former Connacht player who was with the Houston Saber Cats in the USA last season. Both men go straight into Dave Rennie’s squad for tomorrow’s friendly with Ulster in Belfast.
Matthews, 26, is Liverpool-born but Scottish-qualified thanks to his Glaswegian mother. He was the top try-scorer in the Premiership last season.
“I’m absolutely delighted to sign,” he told the Warriors website. “Glasgow is one of the biggest clubs in Europe and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting a few games under my belt while I’m here.
“I like to get my hands on the ball, attack and be physical around the park. My goal is just to keep my head down and work hard, and give my all for the club.”
O’Toole, 24, was capped by Ireland at under-19 level, and is also eligible for the USA. “It’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I’m really pleased to be here. To be going back to Ireland and seeing a few familiar faces this weekend is a great way to start.”
The Warriors need cover for hooker given that Fraser Brown and George Turner have both been included in the Scotland squad for the World Cup, while summer signing Mesu Dolokoto will be there with Fiji. Grant Stewart did not make the cut, but, having made his debut during the warm-up matches, is next in line for a call-up should Brown, Turner or Edinburgh’s Stuart McInally be injured.
“We’re delighted that Johnny and Pat have joined us for the next few months,” Glasgow assistant coach John Dalziel said. “Both men are dynamic with ball in hand and have shown up well in pre-season training, so we’re looking forward to seeing what they can do in a Glasgow Warriors shirt. With Fraser, George and Mesu going to the Rugby World Cup, they will provide healthy competition at hooker.
“Johnny is a Boroughmuir player and in partnership with them we’ve been able to bring him in on a short-term deal. We’d like to thank Boroughmuir for their support in allowing Johnny to take up this opportunity with us.”
Lock forward Lars Morrice, who has just been confirmed as a member of the Ayr Bulls squad for Super 6, has been training with Glasgow and will also be available for the match at the Kingspan Stadium. The 24-year-old New Zealander played ten times for Ayr in the Premiership last season.