The log-jam of Glasgow Warriors’ three Scotland scrum-halves has been solved with Henry Pyrgos the man who moves along the M8 to Edinburgh.
Scottish rugby’s rumour mill had been ruminating all summer about which of Dave Rennie’s three international 9s – Pyrgos, Ali Price and George Horne – might transfer to Edinburgh to cover their deficit in the 9 shirt since Sam Hidalgo-Clyne left for Scarlets.
The capital club’s head coach Richard Cockerill had publicly suggested that one of Glasgow’s three 9s should come across, resulting in an indignant response from Rennie, who stated at the end of the season that as far as he was concerned, all three were – and would remain – contracted to Glasgow.
However with only Nathan Fowles and newcomer Charlie Shiel on the books after Hidalgo-Clyne failed to agree on terms and signed instead for the PRO14 runners-up, it seems Murrayfield has backed Cockerill and the Warriors have been forced to give up one of their international trio.
Pyrgos (28) is the most experienced of the three, with 29 caps and 147 appearances for Glasgow since he joined them eight years ago. Glasgow’s starting 9 when Chris Cusiter left four years ago and the back-up to Grieg Laidlaw for Scotland, he was passed first by Price and then last year by Horne’s outstanding debut campaign.
However his role as “change of pace” at 9 off the bench for Glasgow – he’s also the best kicker from hand of the three – and the similarity of Price and Horne’s styles makes it a surprise he’s been the one making the change.
“Henry is a proven leader and comes with bags of experience which will add real strength in depth to our scrum-half group,” said Cockerill. “He’s a winner and has captained Scotland, so it’s great that he feels Edinburgh is a place where he can compete for further honours with both club and country.”
Pyrgos had one year left on his contract at Glasgow and will see out that year at Edinburgh instead.
It leaves Horne and Price battling for the 9 shirt at Scotstoun, a battle the young former Howe of Fife player has been winning recently, playing in the key games of the PRO14 finale and two of the three summer test matches for Scotland.
And Glasgow’s need for a third scrum-half may see further chances for another player from Courier country, Kareem Baretto. The former Glenalmond College pupil was on an Academy contract last year and saw some action off the bench.