Having fallen behind George Horne in the pecking order at Glasgow Warriors, Price also found himself usurped as Scotland’s first choice scrum-half in the Six Nations, by Ben White. All three were named by Townsend in his World Cup training squad earlier this month, along with Jamie Dobie, with the bulk of the group scheduled to go into camp for a four-week block on May 29. The Glasgow contingent have been given two extra weeks off as their season only ended on Friday with the Challenge Cup final defeat by Toulon in Dublin.
Price played just the final 27 minutes of the match at the Aviva and the Warriors were already 24-7 down when he came on. “It was incredibly frustrating,” he said. “You can have no impact on the game when you’re not on the pitch. It is what it is. Toulon were pretty clinical in seizing their opportunities and we struggled to convert our chances, especially towards the end of the first half. We got told at half-time that we had been in their 22 seven times, and we didn’t make that count, to get a bit more parity in the score. We made things difficult for ourselves.”
The 43-19 defeat was a tough end to an encouraging season for Glasgow. They didn’t do themselves justice in the final, making too many errors and paying the price for a sluggish start, but their form over the course of the campaign suggests there is much to be optimistic about for Franco Smith’s second year in charge. “Someone pulled a stat out that 96 per cent of the squad will still be here next year so it’s the same group, we’ve got the hurt from this and we know what we can achieve if we get it right,” added Price. “That’s the challenge, that’s the exciting thing. Friday was gutting, you don’t make finals every year and this one has passed us by. The challenge is to get to another one next season.”
Price, 30, will now turn his attention to Scotland as they begin preparations for the tournament in France where they will also face Tonga, Romania and Ireland in Pool B.
“I have a little break of two weeks,” said the scrum-half. “Franco said he’s incredibly proud of the whole group. He knows a large number of us are going into World Cup camps for various nations, and he said to represent ourselves in the best way possible, show how we work day-in, day-out at Glasgow and put that same work ethic into our national squads. He told us to play to our potential, try to shine on the brightest stage then come back fit and ready to take on next season.”
By then, the 61-times capped Price will hope to have re-established himself as first-choice No 9. “I don’t think anyone likes sitting on the bench,” he said. “The more minutes the better, that would be the goal.”