Lambert looking to kick on in front of Warrior Nation
Such was the impression made by Tom Lambert during the 2021 Guinness Rainbow Cup, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the competition accounts for all five of the loose-head prop’s Glasgow Warriors appearances to date.
That in itself pays testament to the nerveless manner with which the 20-year-old has taken to professional rugby, with a string of eye-catching performances in the front-row for Danny Wilson’s men including an all-action display on his first start for the club in a 31-24 victory over Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield.
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Yet, unlike fellow young guns Ross Thompson, Rufus McLean, Ollie Smith and Jamie Dobie – to name but four -, the summer of 2021 is a new experience for Lambert. The reason?
“I only came in at the end of 2020, so this is my first pre-season here,” explained the prop as he sat down for a chat with glasgowwarriors.org.
“It’s a lot shorter than I’d expected – we had two weeks of training, then a week off, and now we’ve got this next two week block before we go into a game week. It’s pretty full on!
“I’ve enjoyed it a lot so far – I know all of the basics and so on because of being involved and getting game time last season, so I’m feeling pretty on top of the rugby knowledge and skills focused stuff we’ve been doing. I’m ahead of some of the new boys, anyway!
“Hopefully it’s just a case of jogging the memory on a few things as we ramp it up towards the Newcastle game.”
Lambert’s excitement as he mentions the visit of Newcastle Falcons to Scotstoun in just over a fortnight’s time is palpable, as preparations continue for the opening match of pre-season.
As well as allowing for some fine-tuning ahead of the inaugural United Rugby Championship campaign, the match-up against the English Premiership outfit will also afford a first opportunity for some new faces to potentially make an impression on the Warrior Nation – something that Lambert himself can’t wait to see.
“Ally Miller’s come in and been really impressive,” said the prop when asked about the new arrivals.
“He’s got a fantastic work rate and his skills are really sharp. He works really well with both Thomas [Gordon] and Rory [Darge] and I’m excited to see him start playing for us.
“Jack Dempsey, too, coming over from the ‘Tahs – I used to live in Sydney [Lambert is a former Sydney University student] so I saw him play for them and I can’t wait to see him pull on a Glasgow shirt.
“He looks in really good shape and he’s got some great skills, he’s going to be great for us.”
There’s another reason behind Lambert’s anticipation of the meeting with the Falcons, however. With Scotstoun set to welcome the Warrior Nation back to the stands for the first time since February 2020, the match is set to be more than your usual pre-season affair.
Having played each of his first five Glasgow appearances behind closed doors, the former Scotland U20 front-rower is ready to use the match as a springboard for his first full professional campaign.
“Being able to play in front of fans for the first time is a big thing for me,” grinned Lambert.
“I’ve never played in front of a packed Scotstoun and I know it’s going to be a really cool experience. I can’t wait!
“I was pretty happy with how the end of last season went from a personal point of view. I got a few games I wasn’t really expecting – I was obviously working towards them because my goals were to get involved in matchday squads, but I was content with last season being a ‘building’ season for me and then aim to kick on this year.
“I just want to get as much game time as I can, really. I know I need to keep working on my scrummaging and continue to develop, and the coaches are really good in helping me to do that. I just want to play as much rugby as I can for Glasgow, though.
“You saw what we could do in those last few games of last season. Everyone really stepped it up a notch and we’re ready to hit the ground running this year.”