McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month | Gray takes home January prize

McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month | Gray takes home January prize

Glasgow Warriors second-rower Richie Gray has claimed the McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month award for January, after a month that saw the 2013 British and Irish Lion at the heart of a dominant Glasgow pack.

In what was
one of the closest polls in recent seasons, the 31-year-old edged out rookie
sensation Ross Thompson by just 15 votes to take home the club’s monthly award
for the first time in his career.

missed nearly three months due to concussion protocols, Gray returned to
Glasgow colours in rampaging fashion at BT Murrayfield at the start of January;
the 6’10” second-rower wreaked havoc on the Edinburgh set-piece, stealing a
Guinness PRO14-leading four lineouts and earning a place in the competition’s
Round 10 Team of the Week.

The former
Cambuslang player was similarly influential in Glasgow’s 23-22 victory over the
capital side at Scotstoun, frequently disrupting the Edinburgh set-piece in
addition to an industrious performance around the field.

Gray’s form
was rewarded with selection in the Scotland squad for the upcoming Guinness Six
Nations, 11 years after making his debut in the famous dark blue jersey in the
same competition.

“I’m really
proud to have won this award,” Gray told

“To have the
award voted for by the fans is a special feeling. We miss having them at
Scotstoun, and we know that they’re all tuning in and cheering on as loudly as
they would be in the stands.

“I was just
pleased to get back out there after my layoff after concussion against the
Scarlets back in October, so it was just good to be back on the field in a
Glasgow shirt. Thankfully I managed to play quite well, the team played well
and the win against Edinburgh last time out was the cherry on top of the cake.

“I thought
we deserved more out of the game at BT Murrayfield, but we really stood up and
played well at Scotstoun – it obviously got a bit tight at the end, but we
played well for large parts of the game.

“We spoke in
the changing rooms afterwards about using that result as a springboard for the
rest of the season, and it’s great to see the young guys coming through. Danny
[Wilson]’s spoken about the need to bring through the next generation, and guys
like Ross [Thompson], Rufus [McLean], Ollie [Smith] and Hamish [Bain] have been
performing well in training and on matchdays. It’s an exciting time.”

Head Coach
Danny Wilson praised Gray’s performances in the 1872 Cup double-header, saying:
“We’re really pleased to have Richie back with us – it was unfortunate that his
concussion kept him out for so long, but you don’t take any chances with head
knocks and you saw the best of what he brings to this squad in our matches in

“Richie’s a
player that I’d been really looking forward to working with when I first came into
the role, and we’ve been really pleased with his influence on the pitch and in
training so far. He’s been a strong signing for us already.

“He’s a real
menace at the set-piece if you’re an opposition hooker, and the display in
Edinburgh showed the damage he can do to opposing lineouts. He’s a big part of
why our lineout’s been functioning as well as it has been this season.

“Not only
that, but his experience makes him an invaluable resource to us as a young
squad – having him there for young guys like Hamish [Bain] and our academy
second-rowers to learn from can only benefit the club long-term.”

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