Matthews extends deal with Glasgow Warriors
Johnny Matthews confirmed there was no hesitation in putting pen to paper on a new deal with Glasgow Warriors, after the hooker agreed to extend his stay at Scotstoun until at least the summer of 2026.
The 30-year-old has caught the attention of supporters and pundits across the BKT United Rugby Championship so far in 2023/24, his 10 tries in the competition seeing the hooker sit clear at the top of the try-scoring charts at the halfway mark of the campaign.
A landmark 2023 saw Matthews write his name into the Glasgow Warriors history books on more than one occasion courtesy of his try-scoring exploits; having become the first player in club history to score five tries in a single match in April’s demolition of the Dragons at Scotstoun – notching the fastest-ever hat-trick by a Warrior in the process -, Matthews then became the first player in club history to register 20 tries in a calendar year when crossing in a 22-10 victory over Edinburgh at Scotstoun last month.
Having come through the ranks at Sedgley Park, the Liverpool-born hooker first linked up with the Warriors ahead of the 2019/20 season, his performances under Dave Rennie earning him a full-time contract for the 2020/21 campaign.
The hooker had also previously impressed for Boroughmuir in the Tennent’s Premiership, as well as representing Scotland Club XV during his time at the Meggetland outfit.
Eligible to represent Scotland courtesy of his Glaswegian mother, Matthews was first called up to a senior Scotland representative squad in the summer of 2022, representing Scotland A in their victory over Chile.
He then made his Scotland debut in unforgettable fashion, coming off the bench against Romania at the 2023 Rugby World Cup and marking his first appearance in the dark blue shirt by finishing off a flowing team try in front of the travelling Scottish supporters in Lille.
His tally of 34 tries in 60 appearances to date puts him fifth in the Glasgow Warriors all-time try-scoring charts, while the hooker also currently tops the BKT URC in lineouts won courtesy of his 72 successful throws to date this season.
“It was a very easy decision to renew, to be honest,” Matthews told glasgowwarriors.org.
“It’s a great group to be a part of, both on and off the pitch, and I’m just delighted to be able to commit my future to the club.
“We try and play a brand of rugby that’s attacking and fits the tradition of Glasgow rugby, and everyone wants to be involved in a team like that during their careers. Franco and the coaches make it a really easy team to fit into, and you can see the hard work everyone puts in by the results we’ve been picking up over the season so far.
“We’re a really tight-knit playing squad, too, which makes coming in to training each day that much more enjoyable. We all really get along, from the players to the coaches to the backroom team – everyone from top to bottom is all reading from the same page and it’s a great place to play.
“I just want to keep playing well and keep putting my hand up for selection – anything that comes after that is just the icing on the cake.”
Head Coach Smith added: “Johnny is someone who, from day one, has fully bought into everything that we are looking to build at this club.
“We firmly believe that good people make good rugby players, and Johnny embodies this; his work ethic and determination to be the best version of himself, as well as to drive standards in those around him, are attributes that both we as coaches and his team-mates value.
“He works hard to earn each opportunity and he contributes both on and off the field to our environment, and we look forward to continuing to aid his development for the next couple of seasons.”
Matthews’ journey through club rugby at Boroughmuir then the Warriors on to the national team, has made him an ideal candidate to take on the role of ambassador with Scottish Rugby’s own charity, the Murrayfield Injured Players’ Foundation (MIPF).
He said: “MIPF is about rugby looking after its own.
“Everyone I’ve come across in Scottish Rugby, whether at club level, with the Warriors, right through to the national team, takes player welfare and well-being very seriously.
“The Foundation is there to provide support when a player can be at a low ebb, perhaps after an injury.”
Ian Rankin, MIPF chair, said: “We are delighted to welcome Johnny on board as our ambassador.
“We look forward to working with him and hearing his ideas on how we can increase awareness of our work and encourage more people to support the Foundation through fund-raising.”