Dell ready for Lions challenge
“I can’t wait to get back out on the field – it’s been a long time!”
The enthusiasm in Allan Dell’s voice is evident as he looks ahead to Saturday’s trip to Johannesburg, underlining the eagerness with which the Scotland prop greets the prospect of a potential Glasgow Warriors debut.
Having signed for Franco Smith’s side during the summer of 2022, injury has thus far prevented the 30-year-old from pulling on a Glasgow shirt – something he hopes to rectify if selected for this weekend’s clash with the Emirates Lions.
“I’m feeling really good and ready to go,” Dell told glasgowwarriors.org ahead of the squad’s departure for South Africa.
“It doesn’t matter how fit you feel though, your first game back is always a tough one! There’s nothing quite like match fitness. It was a disappointing way to start the season for me personally, obviously; I felt really good in pre-season, and then I unfortunately picked up a calf injury just before the season got underway.
“I’ve been back in full training since mid-January, so I’ve been in and around the squad . We’re in a really good space right now, everyone is stepping up and driving us forward. Everyone is getting to contribute in one way or another, so it’s been great to involved and it gives you that hunger to get out there and get stuck into the action on the pitch.”
It’s a Glasgow squad that travels south in the midst of a history-making run of form, with Friday night’s win over Ulster stretching the club’s current unbeaten run to 10 matches across all competitions – a streak unbeaten throughout the professional history of Glasgow Warriors.
Yet that record is one of the furthest things from the minds of Dell and his team-mates, as Smith’s men prepare to venture into the Lions’ den this weekend.
“Every time someone mentions the unbeaten run, you’re reminded of how much we want to keep that run going and defend what we’ve built over the last few weeks, but all of our focus is just on the next job – no one is actually thinking about the run,” said Dell.
“The Lions are going to be tough. Everyone sees where they are in the league, but they’ve got a really good home record and they’re going to be determined to snap the run of form they’re on at the minute.
“We’re under no illusion about how tough it’s going to be – Johannesburg is a difficult place to go and play and they’ll try to dominate the game physically. If you give a team a headstart at this level then you’re giving yourself a lot to do, and we need to be able to match them and impose the way we want to play.”
With just 10 points between third and tenth place in the BKT URC standings, the Warriors know that victory in this weekend’s fixture – their game in hand over several of their fellow playoff chasing squads – could prove invaluable as the season approaches the business end.
“Between now and the end of the season, you need to be putting yourself in a position where you’re picking up points,” said Dell.
“As long as we can do everything we do to the best of our ability, then the results will follow.
“Every game is treated with the respect and merit that it deserves and everyone is playing for a place in the team. You’re just taking each match as it comes and focusing on the next hurdle.
“We know that we need to show the best version of ourselves and then trust in our processes and the work we do on the training field.”