NORTHAMPTON SAINTS lock Lewis Bean, who was on loan with Glasgow earlier this season, is to return to Scotstoun as a full-time Warriors player next season. The 28-year-old was a valuable addition to the squad around the turn of the year and is likely to get substantial game time during future international windows.
Bean, who briefly played for Worcester before joining the Saints, has signed a contract for an undisclosed length of time. “When I came to the Warriors the lads made me feel really welcome and I liked the way they played,” he said. “I was delighted when I heard I’d have the chance to return.
“Playing rugby is my No 1 priority and I know at Glasgow I’ll get good game time. I really enjoyed working with Danny [Wilson] and the other coaches — they’re great to work with and really know their stuff. I’m buzzing to get back up to Glasgow and make some more memories with the boys.”
Head coach Wilson added: “It’s great to be able to secure Lewis’ services for next season. He’s a big 130kg second-rower who’s abrasive in both attack and defence.
“Adding a player of Lewis’ size and power in the pack for next season is a boost and we’re looking forward to welcoming him back to Scotstoun in summer.”
Scarlets loosehead Dylan Evans is also coming back to Scotstoun – in his case immediately, as injury cover. The Australian previously came off the bench against Edinburgh in August.
Wilson has already signed props Simon Berghan and Jamie Bhatti and stand-off Duncan Weir for next season, while another stand-off, Ian Keatley, recently joined mid-season from Benetton. But the head coach still hopes to strengthen his squad further in the coming weeks, both up front and behind the scrum.
“We’ve got a few more to announce,” he said earlier this week. “There’s a couple of really exciting and positive ones that we’ll hopefully be able to announce in the next couple of weeks.
“When I came into the job I had a small amount of budget left from the previous reign, and we’ve made a couple of signings – Richie Gray and people like that – which were important. I still feel we need to bolster our forward pack, and we need to make some back signings too, which you’ll see, hopefully, in the coming weeks.
“So there’s some positive, exciting news to come. We’ll keep adding to that squad. We won’t get it all completed in one recruitment cycle. These things take time. My previous experience [at Cardiff] showed that – it took three years to build that squad. But yes, we’ve certainly taken big steps, I believe, going forward for next season.”
The signing of Berghan has strengthened Wilson’s front-row options, but as the new man and Zander Fagerson are likely to be on Scotland duty at points in the season, the coach plans to recruit again in that area of the team. “We’ll have to have a stock of tightheads,” he continued. “Right now we’re being tested with call-ups and stuff, so we’ll make sure we’ve got a stock.
“I know Simon well enough from my time with Scotland. Simon is a very athletic tighthead prop. He gets round the park and is good on both sides of the ball, he’s a good defender and jackler, he can carry, and he’s a real athlete – one of the most athletic tightheads I’ve come across.
“He can also scrummage – he’s proved that with Edinburgh and Scotland – so to have two like Zander and him will be massive. To have them both available for the bulk of the season will be brilliant for us and something I’m really excited about – and speaking to Simon he’s excited about it as well.”
New arrivals are inevitably balanced out by departures. Bean comes into a position where Leone Nakarawa’s signing for Ulster leaves a gap, while at stand-off, Brandon Thomson has been allowed to leave now that Keatley is on board. But there are also some players whose future with the club has yet to be decided, prominent among them being Tommy Seymour.
“There’s no decision taken there yet, more from probably Tommy’s side than anything,” Wilson said of the winger, who is currently on the injury list. “Tommy has been recovering from a nasty concussion episode that has put him out of the game for quite a few months. We’re desperate to see him back on the field and playing, and hopefully that will happen soon and we’ll go from there.”