Danny Wilson promises Glasgow Warriors fans more new signings
When Danny Wilson was confirmed as Dave Rennie’s successor as Glasgow Warriors head coach at the end of last year he would have expected to be in the thick of pre-season at the moment but instead is trying to navigate the current extraordinary time we find ourselves in and looking to finish off a season left in stasis by the pandemic.
The former Scotland forwards coach is finally seeing some kind of reality emerge as the players drift back for voluntary conditioning with a view to a training build-up towards a 22 August resumption of the Guinness Pro14 with back-to-back derbies against Edinburgh. The Warriors’ chances of progressing beyond those to the semi-final stage are wafer-thin which means Wilson has half an eye on next season, which is slated to start in October.
There had been some disquiet among Glasgow fans about the lack of recruitment to shore up a squad that will now be without international stars like DTH van der Merwe, TIm Swinson and Ruaridh Jackson, along with the high-profile loss of Jonny Gray to Exeter Chiefs.
The return of his big brother Richie to Scotstoun, and the retention of Leone Nakarawa’s services, are two huge boosts but the new boss admits more work needs to be done.
“We’ve got a couple more announcements to make and that will be forthcoming,” said Wilson. “Due to the current and understandable situation we were paused in terms of recruitment. There were plans to finish a bit more.”
Richie Gray and Nakarawa bring some experience and star power to the engine room and Wilson said of the latter: “He was someone we worked very hard over a period of time to keep at Glasgow. Obviously he came over for a short period at the start of the year.
“That was cut short for obvious reasons but I’m really excited about Leone’s re-signing. A couple will be made to deal with that back-five area and then we’ll see how the future lies when we come out of this period and see what the plans are.
“There was interest from elsewhere in a man of his calibre, a world-class player. He’s a fans’ favourite at Glasgow and a players’ favourite at Glasgow. I’ve experienced coaching against him and he’s a real handful to prepare against.
“Some of what he does, his offloading, is undefendable. We were competing against others but there is a fondness of Glasgow and he’s had real positive experiences so that certainly played into our favour. We’re thrilled to have got there.”
Wilson is now champing at the bit to get on with the job he was hired to do.
“Obviously things have changed massively with Covid,” he said. “The honest situation is the first thing you do when you come into a club is get in front of your players and speak to them as a group. I’ve not been able to do any of that.
“My plan had been to go on with Dave [Rennie] for the last couple of months of the season and be a fly on the wall and obviously that went out the window. So I’ve had to do my research from afar.”
The 43-year-old Wilson is an English former hooker who found himself forging a career in Wales. He coached three of the regions – Dragons, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues. He was most successful in the principality capital, where he won the 2018 European Challenge Cup in Bilbao.
That attracted Gregor Townsend to appoint him as his forwards coach and, while looking forward to being a head coach once again, Wilson said he had benefited from working in the Test arena.
“I learnt a huge amount from the Scotland experience,” he said. “I enjoyed parts of it and needless to say maybe didn’t enjoy other parts. Obviously coming out of the World Cup like we did.
“I take learnings from it, from the people and the environment and that will mould how I do things in the future.”
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