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Richie Gray to replace brother Jonny in Warriors second row next season

Richie Gray.
Richie Gray.

Glasgow Warriors have the solution to losing Jonny Gray to Exeter Chiefs in the summer – they’ve simply gone and got another one.

Richie Gray, Jonny’s elder brother and still the most capped player in the family with 55 appearances for Scotland, is returning to his first professional club on a two-year-deal after an eight year spell mostly spent in France’s Top 14.

Currently with Toulouse, the last Scot to play in a test for the British Lions has been four years with the multiple European champions, but has agreed to terms to return to the Warriors, who he played for between 2009 and 2013, making 47 appearances for them.

Gray is new coach Danny Wilson’s first signing and some relief for Warriors fans who were itching to see some arrivals for next season to offset the number of departures. The 6’ 10”, 126kg lock is exactly the kind of forward force the club has been missing.

Although injuries have blighted Gray’s time for Toulouse and Scotland the last two seasons, he is back playing this year and has made himself available to Gregor Townsend again when a minor head injury clears up.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be coming back to Glasgow,” he said. “It’s great to be bringing my family back home, and also to come back to the club where it all began for me.

“I can’t wait to come back. The club were still at Firhill when I left, and they’ve 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) has been 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.”

Gray returned from injury to help Toulouse reach the Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals and win the Top 14 title last year, and he’s looking for more before he leaves the great club.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Wilson, who takes over at Scotstoun from Dave Rennie in May, said Gray was only the first of the club’s new signings.

“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.”

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