Samuel fulfills boyhood dream
Making your professional debut for your boyhood club is an experience unlike any other.
Having it within your grasp and then taken away by something outwith your control? That’s simply gut-wrenching.
Yet for Alex Samuel, it was just another step on his journey to an inaugural outing in a Glasgow Warriors jersey. Having been selected to start against the Emirates Lions last weekend, only for the game to be postponed due to the gastroenteritis outbreak within the squad in Durban, the 19-year-old duly set about making up for lost time as soon as he stepped onto the field in last night’s 37-0 victory over Benetton.
“It feels great,” a smiling Samuel told glasgowwarriors.org following the full-time whistle.
“I’ve been a fan of this club all my life, from coming to games here as a fan to travelling to away games, and to finally be able to pull on the shirt and represent this team is a massive honour.
“I was gutted when the game got called off [last weekend], I won’t lie. I knew if I kept my head up and kept working hard, though, then an opportunity would come my way at some point.
“The speed of the game is the most noticeable step up [from FOSROC Super6]. Even though that wasn’t the fastest game ever, I was definitely noticing it! The physicality, too, was huge tonight and I’m proud to have been a part of that with the boys tonight.”
An impressive debut from Samuel saw the man from Madras make his mark both at the set-piece and in the loose, providing a reliable target in the lineout for in addition to a physical presence in defence.
With the Warrior Nation embracing the former Scotland U20 captain as one of their own, it’s an experience that Samuel will never forget.
“I was trying to just focus on the first kick-off to be honest!” he laughed when asked of his feelings as he ran out ahead of the match.
“I had a feeling Benetton would send it my way!
“It’s impossible not to notice the atmosphere when you run out, though – the fans were incredible and it was such an amazing experience.
“It was a bit stop-start, but we showed tonight that we can play the Glasgow way. Our backs were firing really well tonight, I thought they were outstanding throughout. Up front, too, we were dominant all game – our scrum towards the end, in particular, was so impressive.
“We got after them at the lineout really well, too, and it was brilliant to see it all gel together so well.”
Samuel wasn’t the only new Warrior to take to the field at Scotstoun last night, though. Fellow Scotland U20 standout Euan Ferrie made it a brace of debutants under the Friday night lights, as the East Kilbride product came off the bench to turn in an all-action cameo for the final 25 minutes.
“I’m really good mates with Fez, so to make our debuts on the same night was just class,” grinned Samuel.
“I know how much it means to him and how much he wanted it, so to see him get his opportunity was really special.
“Hopefully we can go on to play many, many more times together at Scotstoun for this club.”
With the BKT URC taking a back seat for the next three weeks to the Autumn Nations Series, Samuel and company will now have some valuable time to recharge and recover before it all kicks off once more.
There’s no danger of Samuel losing sight of the end goal, however. This is just the first appearance of many that the second-rower plans to make.
“We’ll take a wee bit of time away from rugby over the next week or two, but it’s all about continuing to work hard,” he said.
“Whether it’s with the S&C team in the gym, or out on the training field, we’ve got a big series of games coming up when we come back from the break.”