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Warriors in a strong position for 2022 despite Covid disruption believes Danny Wilson

Danny Wilson felt a Covid break was "inevitable".

Glasgow Warriors remain “in a decent place” in the season despite the disruption of Covid-19 over the festive period, believes head coach Danny Wilson.

The Warriors were forced into a “firebreak” closing Scotstoun for two weeks as the Omicron variant swept through the squad and requiring the postponement of both 1872 Cup match against Edinburgh.

However the less serious effect of the variant infections and the place the squad were in prior to the cases make Wilson optimistic for 2022 as a whole. The securing of both the squad’s British and Irish Lions sent a strong signal, he believes.

Price’s signing ‘a massive statement’

“Ali Price’s re-signing to me is a massive statement from the club,” he said. “As you can imagine, Ali had plenty of options on the table as the best nine from a British & Irish Lions point of view and possibly more.

“Zander (Fagerson)’s re-signing is another one. It is a balancing act getting all those things right. If you look at Jack Dempsey, at Sione (Tuipulotu), at Josh McKay recently, those three guys coming in have made a massive impact.

“They are the types of players we identified and went after. I think they’ve been successful so far and there are more of that calibre we want to bring in.

“Obviously at the same time we have our responsibility to develop and bring through young Scottish players. You look at the likes of Rory Darge and Ross Thompson are coming through.

“I still think you’ll see Gregor Brown and another couple of young Scottish second rows and props I am excited about.”

‘We are sticking to our identity’

The win over Exeter in their last game before the Covid outbreak underlined the direction the team were headed, he added.

“I certainly think we are making really good steps forward,” he continued. “You’re seeing some exciting rugby and we are sticking to our identity as Glasgow Warriors.

“The Exeter game was an outstanding defensive display to hold those guys to seven points and shut them out from areas of the game where they are strong.

“Our set-piece is functioning well; we are getting scrum dominance against those types of sides. Our driving lineouts are functioning both sides of the ball.

“So I feel we are in a decent place. The key thing we are striving for is consistency – doing it five, six, seven weeks out of seven, not two weeks out of three or four.

“It is important we build and find that. My current remit – alongside winning games of rugby – is building a squad. You have seen some of the recruitment announcements we have made already and there is more to come.”

‘You almost feel it’s inevitable’

Glasgow Warriors closed Scotstoun for over a week to stem Covid cases.

Monday (January 3) is the key date in emerging from the Covid issue, as the squad will need to train fully to be safely ready for the Ospreys game scheduled for the weekend.

“We did really well to get our two European games played,” said Wilson. “We were as strict as possible but you almost feel it’s inevitable. We’ve all got kids at school and families – you don’t know where and how it comes into your environment.

“The last time we had problems with Covid, people were far more ill than they are now. Our boys seem healthy and not particularly symptomatic.

“But we have enough positive tests. What has to come first is player welfare. We can’t be bringing players into an environment that’s not safe in terms of them catching it.

“Although most people aren’t ill, there are still examples of people that are, or that have secondary issues.”

Like his opposite number at Edinburgh Mike Blair, Wilson hopes that the 1872 Cup games can be rescheduled for when both sides are not depleted by international calls.

“They’re the biggest games of the season. Yhey’re the games that the crowds and the supporters want to come and see,” he said.

“I hope that they’re done when both teams can play their best sides. The exciting, physical derbies are what we all look forward to.”