GLASGOW WARRIORS have re-signed Scotland and British & Irish Lions international Richie Gray on a two-year deal ahead of the start of the 2020-21 season, as a near direct replacement for younger brother Jonny who is joining Exeter Chiefs next season.
The 30-year-old second-rower becomes incoming head coach Danny Wilson’s first new signing for the Warriors, with the former fans favourite re-joining the club from reigning French Top14 champions Toulouse, subject to medical.
Gray originally came to prominence with his hometown club over a decade ago, making his Glasgow debut off the bench away to Ulster in March 2009 before getting his first start two months later in a 30-9 victory over Connacht at Firhill.
He went on to make 47 appearances in his first spell with the Warriors over four years before moving to English Premiership side Sale Sharks in 2012 for one season. He then spent three-years at Castres and is now in his fourth season with Toulouse.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be coming back to Glasgow,” said Gray, who has been capped 55 times since his debut in 2010. and is also the most recent Scot to take to the field in a British & Irish Lions Test, coming off the bench in the third Test victory over Australia on the 2013 tour. “It’s great to be bringing my family back home, and also to come back to the club where it all began for me. It’s certainly something very exciting for me.
“I can’t wait to come back. We were still at Firhill when I left, and the club has obviously made big moves forward since then. Scotstoun is a great place to play rugby – it’s packed every week and I can’t wait to be a part of that.
“Danny (Wilson) is great – he’s really enthusiastic about the club and is very ambitious. We’re both on the same page and we’re both really looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“My focus until the end of the season is fully on Toulouse – I want to try and add a couple more titles to this club’s trophy cabinet. I’ve learnt a lot and gained a lot of experience, and been part of a successful side over the last couple of years. I want to bring that experience back to Glasgow and win titles with the Warriors.
“To come back and play at Scotstoun in front of my family, friends and the Warrior Nation was a huge factor in my decision. The club’s had so much success in recent years in getting to the knockout stages of the Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup and I want to come back and be a part of that.”
Gray has had an injury-ravaged couple of seasons but Wilson says he still has a lot to offer the club “During my conversations with Richie it was clear he was very passionate about the club and he’ll be an excellent addition to our squad,” he said.
“He brings a wealth of experience from his time playing in England, France and internationally with Scotland and the British & Irish Lions. It’s great news that he has decided to come home to Glasgow next season and we’re looking forward to him joining us in the summer.
“Richie is our first new signing for next season, following the announcement of a number of renewals recently and we hope to be able to make further announcements in relation to next season’s squad over the coming weeks.”