Glasgow have secured Fraser Brown until 2020 ahead of today’s first leg of the 1872 Cup while Richard Cockerill has made his “poaches” from the Scotland 7s squad permanent for Edinburgh.
The capital club have signed James Johnstone and Dougie Fife on permanent deals starting next season. Both players are set to line up in the derby meeting tonight at BT Murrayfield.
Meanwhile Brown, the 29-times capped hooker, signed a new two-year deal admitting he hadn’t really considered moving from Scotstoun where he’s made 69 appearances for the club.
“I wanted to stay here,” he said. “I’m very happy with the rugby, and it’s been really good working with the new coaching set-up at the start of the year. Jen, my fiancé, and I talked at the beginning of the year about how we wanted to stay here and it’s just about getting things right to make that possible.
“We’ve got a really good set-up here which combines with the set-up at the national team, on how well guys are looked after and how the season is planned out for us in terms of the number of games we play and the training we do.
“But I enjoy this club so much and I appreciate not just Gregor (Townsend) and the coaches that were here before, but how much the club did for my rugby career, and how much it did for my personal life.”
Brown’s contest with Stuart McInally may be the biggest man-to-man battle of then all, McInally having claimed his international place in the autumn while Brown was recovering from ankle and knee injuries.
“It’ll be fun,” added Brown. “I thought Stuart played really well in the autumn and the internationals. It was disappointing for me but I think Stuart grasped his chance with both hands.
“I thought the whole 36 guys who were involved in that squad did magnificently; when I went back into camp for the last couple of weeks the atmosphere around camp and the tempo and style of play they were trying to execute was brilliant.
“These next games are going to be really good as a head-to-head. I always think it’s dangerous when people come into these two games and say ‘it’s selection on the line’ because they forgetting that there are another 28 games in the season, but it’s a good challenge and it’ll be good to see where I am in terms of coming back from fitness.”
In the Edinburgh camp, Cockerill identified both Johnstone and Fife as players he wanted during the summer and has prised them away from the 7s set-up where they were both contracted.
Fife played for Edinburgh on a full-time contract from 2013 to 2015, before being let go andf signing with the 7s squad for the last two seasons. Johnstone, also 27, played with the 7s for four years making intermittent appearances for Edinburgh before getting his chance under Cockerill this season.