Ahead of Saturday night’s third game of the season we get the thoughts of Glasgow Warriors fan @thepenGW, who can also be found at www.thepengw.com, as the Scots prepare to take on Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.
Looking back, how did 2016/17 go for Glasgow?
Ultimately it wasn’t the season we wanted in many ways. While we progressed to the European knock-out stages for the first time in our history, we really wanted to be in the play-offs and in with a shot of the final.
Our squad depth wasn’t strong enough and we were badly exposed at international times. We all wanted to give Gregor Townsend a brilliant send-off and instead we lumped across the finish.
Dave Rennie has come in over the summer, what are your thoughts on his appointment?
Rennie will win us a title, of that I’m absolutely sure. He has the swagger of a man who is all business but it’s not an act. He’s the real deal and two Super Rugby titles testify to that.
He will have this squad fitter and playing better than ever in no time at all. I’m very, VERY excited about his tenure.
Are you happy with your summer recruitment?
Summer recruitment hasn’t heralded a superstar as such, but it has seen a serious drive towards non-Scots qualified players. This may seem like a backward step, but last season proved that we badly need experience and ability when the bulk of the squad is away.
Oli Kebble, Lelia Masaga, Nikola Matawalu and Callum Gibbins will all be available, and there is Scottish youth in Robbie Nairn and Adam Hastings as well to nurture plus there’s the like of Ruaridh Jackson to bolster options.
Our biggest signing is a toss up between Huw Jones and Callum Gibbins. Jones is an outstanding talent and he will one day be world class but having watched him against Ospreys, Gibbins is a man the Warrior Nation will love and the rest of the league is going to fear.
Where would you say the strengths and weaknesses lie within your squad?
This year’s recruitment has hopefully cured our biggest weakness of players being on international duty. We still have a couple of question marks over 10 and 15 and will need to see how Hastings and Jackson deputise for Russell and Hogg.
Our strength is in the forwards and the centres. We could run through so many different combinations and each offers a different edge.
Who is your Glasgow player to watch this season?
That man Gibbins again. He has ability and work rate in his locker and he is a really horrible, nasty bastard on the field (within the laws of the game of course!). He’s going to be in opposition faces at every opportunity and he’s not afraid to mix it up.
What would a successful 2017/18 season look like for you?
After last season we need play-off rugby again. A lot of people believe that Rennie could win in his first season in the league and while I believe it is a possibility, I think it more realistic that could come next year. For me, I think play-offs.
What is your score prediction for our game?
I watched Cardiff against Edinburgh, and I have to say I was pretty unimpressed with the Blues that night. There was a lethargy and struggle that seemed to have enveloped the players.
I don’t want to sound cocky but I’d be disappointed if we don’t win this game. Cardiff can be a difficult place for us though so I expect the Blues to make us work hard for it.