NICK FIRSBY was on a golf course in Australia, enjoying an extended holiday with no clear idea as to where his rugby career was headed after being told to seek new opportunities by the Queensland Reds Super Rugby franchise he had been with for the last eight years, when he received a phone call from Dave Rennie.
Two weeks later, he was touching down in Glasgow, ready to start a new chapter in his career with a team he had only previously heard about in passing but had seen very little of – barring Tommy Seymour’s wonder try against Exeter Chiefs in last year’s Champions Cup.
“I was in a funny position where I was contracted to Queensland but they had told me that I was free to look elsewhere, so I’d done five months in Bordeaux as a medical joker and [after that] I was pretty much on holidays, just sitting back and assessing all the options,” he explains.
“When Dave asked me if I wanted to come over, I pretty much agreed straight away. They sent through the [two-year] contract, I signed, then I just had to wait for my visa and I was straight over.
“I didn’t know too much at all. Probably the extent of what I had seen was that great try against Exeter last year. It was all pretty fast. It was a matter of a couple of weeks and I was here and in the thick of it.
“There was no one else really [looking to recruit] so it’s a nice opportunity to challenge myself and further my experience in Europe. I think the biggest thing was just speaking to Dave on the phone having seen how he coached his Chiefs side and he seemed to think that I would fit in.”
The 25-year-old Brisbanite had a mixed debut in Warriors’ first pre-season hit-out against Harlequins in Perth two weekends ago, scoring a first half interception try but then giving away a score with a loose pass of his own.
A bit more of the rust was shaken off against Northampton last weekend, although overall that match at Franklin’s Gardens did not go the way the team would have wanted. With Ali Price and Academy prospect Kaleem Barreto both side-lined this weekend, Frisby looks certain to be involved in Warriors’ PRO14 campaign opener against Connacht in Galway on Saturday afternoon.
“You’ve always got to back yourself but obviously there are two quality half-backs here, with George [Horne] coming off a really good season last year and he’s had some international experience now, while Ali has been around for a couple of seasons and he’s played a bit more international footy as well,” he says. “But I’m here to challenge myself and play my best footy so I’ll fill in where I need to, and if there is a chance of taking a number one spot then I’ll be putting my hand up for that.”
The Australian also gives Rennie options at stand-off, wing and full-back – having fulfilled those roles during his five-year Super Rugby career – which might come in handy if the squad becomes stretched during the international windows.
“We spoke about it on the phone. We didn’t speak specifically about playing five-eighth [stand-off], but he [Rennie] said it was something he liked about me. I guess it has always been a part of my game, I’ve always filled in different positions. I played my first season of Super Rugby on the wing because Will Genia was a massive roadblock in my way, then played a bit of full-back – I actually played full-back for Australia Under-20s versus Scotland – and played a full season at five-eighth. I just love playing rugby and I’m happy to fill in wherever to get a game.”
That age-grade game he refers to playing in against Scotland was a 67-12 Wallaby walloping at the U20 World Championship in 2012. Three current Glasgow players – Alex Allan, Jamie Bhatti and George Turner – were on the losing side that day. “I’ve not mentioned it so far, I’ll have to rub it in,” Frisby chuckles.
“I’ve really enjoyed my little taste of playing for Glasgow so far and I’m excited for what is to come,” he added. “Rugby in Australia has probably gone away from that style of [expansive] footy, but it is something that really suits me as a player so I’m really looking forward to [playing more of] it.”
- The Malcolm Group has extended their kit sponsorship deal with Glasgow Warriors until 2021. The Malcolm Group has become one of the leading providers of logistics, construction and maintenance services in the UK and have sponsored the Warriors since 2011.