Jonny Gray is staying in Scotland with the Glasgow Warriors after signing a new two year contract with the club.
The Scotland lock, capped 38 times already at just 23, had been the target of top English and French clubs as his present contract was expiring at the seasons’ end but a hastily-arranged announcement at Scotstoun ended all speculation.
It’s a big lift for the club ahead of the 1872 Cup first leg against Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield, but also for the longer term. Glasgow will lose stand-off Finn Russell to France at the end of this season but have now signed up most of their other key Scotland players – Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Ali Price and Huw Jones are also fairly fresh into new contracts with the club.
For Scottish Rugby, after the revelation of Russell’s departure a clear statement of Murrayfield’s intent to keep their best players within these borders was needed, and the hierarchy have clearly intervened to ensure that Gray stayed in Scotland.
Gray has played 79 times for Glasgow having come through the Academy system and captained the club for two seasons. He was first capped for Scotland before he was 20 playing alongside his elder brother Richie.
“This club is very special to me,” said Gray. “It’s where I’m from, my family and my friends are here and it’s a city and a club that I love and I care about a lot. I’m very happy to be here and I’m proud to represent this city.
“With the new coaches coming in it has been a very exciting time. Glasgow are a really ambitious club and have been for a few years and I’m delighted to be a part of it.
“When you run out at Scotstoun you represent more than yourself, you represent your club and your city. The supporters follow us all over and we all want to make them proud.
“There are huge benefits of staying in Scotland and I really appreciate the support from Scottish Rugby in helping me stay with the Warriors for another two years.”
Head coach Dave Rennie has kept Gray as part of the leadership group with the team and is in no doubts as to his value to the club.
“Jonny has achieved an enormous amount for a guy of 23. He has 38 caps for Scotland and is playing his 80th game for Glasgow this weekend.
“He’s part of the leadership group here, he’s captained the side before and is a massive contributor about the place week in, week out.
“It’s massive for us, he’s a phenomenal player with a massive work ethic and the boys love him, so we’re rapt he’s going to be here for two more years at least.”
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson said: “Securing Jonny for the next two years clearly shows Scottish Rugby’s determination to keep our best players in Scotland.
“We are delighted for the Warriors and our supporters that Jonny has pledged his future to Glasgow.”