Quartet of partnership contracts confirmed

Quartet of partnership contracts confirmed

Four of Scotland’s brightest young prospects have put pen to paper on partnership contracts with Glasgow Warriors ahead of the 2023/24 season, as Franco Smith’s men return to pre-season ahead of the new campaign.

The contracts see each member of the quartet assigned to one of the three FOSROC Super Series clubs aligned to Glasgow Warriors, with each player representing their respective clubs alongside their Glasgow commitments.

So with the quartet looking to follow the well-trodden pathway to the professional arena at Scotstoun, get to know the four newest members of your Glasgow Warriors squad…

Gregor Hiddleston

The ‘elder statesman’ of the group, Stirling Wolves hooker Hiddleston is the sole member of the quartet to have already experienced a partnership contract with Glasgow Warriors.

Having been a part of the squad for a memorable 2022/23 campaign, the former Dumfries Saint is ready to kick on in season two at Scotstoun.

“I feel like I’ve developed a lot over the last year, definitely,” said Hiddleston.

“To be in this environment with some top-class players, especially at hooker, and with such an experienced and detail-oriented coaching team – it’s the perfect place to develop. I’m buzzing to be back again.”

“Getting to run about with the boys up at Bridgehaugh has been class, too. It’s so good to be back playing rugby, and to be able to take what I learned here over the last season and put it into action in the Super Series is the ideal test for me.”

Gregor Hiddleston in action for Stirling Wolves in FOSROC Super Series

Hiddleston isn’t looking too far ahead, however, as the exciting young crop of prospects at Scotstoun get stuck into pre-season.

“You’re obviously meeting new people all the time when you come into this environment, but to have a core of boys that I’ve come up through the age grades with is a really special feeling,” said the hooker.

“To have your mates around and be paid to play rugby is just such a privilege.

“I just want to keep my head down, keep working hard and keep developing really – if I can do that, then I’ll be happy.”

One word on…

Duncan – “Talented” (editor’s note – this was originally “messy”, which almost led to Gregor and Duncan falling out on the spot… Don’t worry – the flatmates are all friends again)
Ben – “Electric”
Richie – “Smart”

Duncan Munn

A product of Loch Lomond RFC, to say Scotland U20 centre Munn is proud to have the chance to represent his hometown club would be putting it mildly.

“I used to come along to games at Firhill with my dad, so to sign for my boyhood club is just an amazing feeling,” he smiled.

“I’m really excited to make the step up. I was in the academy last year, but to be able to train with the senior squad really gave me an insight into the level demanded of me, and I can’t wait to get stuck in again this year.”

A standout for Boroughmuir Bears during the FOSROC Super Series during his outings to date, the former Kelvinside Academy pupil is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, yet is by no means resting on his laurels as he looks to improve his game.

Duncan Munn makes a break for Glasgow Warriors A

As he eyes a return to Boroughmuir blue and green in the next stage of his rehabilitation, Munn is all ears when it comes to pointers from the coaching team at Scotstoun.

“From training to the A games, the detail the coaches go into here in order to help you improve is just immense,” said the centre.

“I remember spending so much time with Pete Horne going through clips for the A games last season, and to get the experience from guys like Pete, Pete Murchie, Nigel [Carolan] and Franco, who have been there and done it, that’s just invaluable to me.

“The coaches and senior players at Boroughmuir have really helped me out and helped me develop my game, so I’m massively grateful to them.

“I just want to get back fit first of all! I feel like I’ve been out injured forever, so to get back out for Boroughmuir and then hopefully for Glasgow is something I’m really looking forward to.”

One word on…

Ben – “Intelligent”
Richie – “Rocketman”
Gregor – “Hard-working”

Ben Afshar

A livewire on the pitch, scrum-half Afshar is not someone who could ever be accused of taking the summer slowly.

Scotland U20 co-captain at the World Rugby U20 trophy in Kenya, the Stirling Wolves number nine – where he will work with Glasgow team-mate and Wolves backs coach, Sean Kennedy – is prepared for his first taste of professional rugby on his first-ever partnership deal at Scotstoun.

“I had a couple of injuries last season that prevented me from playing as much as I’d like, but I was up at around 15-20 games last season which is brilliant for my development,” said Afshar.

“It was just a great year all round, really – it was my first season playing for Scotland U20 so to run out at home in the Six Nations was unreal, and to get so much game time in the FOSROC Super Series, too, was just brilliant.

“To get the chance to co-captain the boys in Kenya was amazing, too. It was a huge honour for me and a real privilege to lead such a great group of boys.”

Ben Afshar training with Glasgow Warriors

One of a highly-talented cohort of scrum-halves at Scotstoun, the former Edinburgh Accie is full of enthusiasm for the opportunity to train with Scotland’s best – including one more than familiar face whose footsteps Afshar is hoping to follow.

“I don’t think there’s a club anywhere who has a group of nines as strong as we do,” he said.

“I’ve known [Jamie] Dobie for years – he was coaching me at Merchiston when I was maybe 13 or 14, and you knew then that he was going to be something special.

“Sheba [Sean Kennedy] has been brilliant with me, too, and then you’ve got Ali [Price] and George [Horne] with Scotland too – it’s just the best place for me to develop as a scrum-half.”

One word on…

Richie – “Electrifying”
Gregor – “Bloodhound”
Duncan –

Richie Simpson

Whilst it might have been a tricky season for Scotland U20 on the whole, the emergence of fly-half Simpson was one aspect of the U20 Six Nations to excite the Scottish rugby community going forward.

Handed the keys to number 10, the Ayrshire Bulls fly-half now has a chance to continue his development under the watchful eyes of Franco Smith and co, having bypassed the senior academy to put pen to paper on a partnership deal with the Warriors.

“It’s really exciting, aye” grinned Simpson.

“This time last year I’d only just started playing Super Series for the Bulls, so to have experienced as much as I’ve been lucky to experience in the last year is something for which I feel really lucky. I’m looking forward to getting back out there when I’m given the all clear by the medics [Simpson is currently working through concussion protocols] and taking the next step in my development.”

Richie Simpson kicks for Ayrshire Bulls

Simpson has some familiar faces helping to shape him into a professional fly-half, with fellow Millbrae products Tom Jordan and Ross Thompson amongst the options available to Smith and his coaching team.

With a grin on his face and the skills to succeed, the Irvine-born pivot is ready to keep on building on an impressive debut season.

“It definitely helps having those familiar faces, for sure,” said Simpson.

“Not just TJ and Ross, but having guys like Ben, Duncan and Gregor around that I’ve played alongside for Scotland U20 and grown up with really gives you that extra sense of how special this is.

“I like to run with the ball and play on the front foot, but I also like to get stuck in – I might not be the biggest but I’ll give my best every time I’m out there!”

One word on…

Gregor – “Hard-working”
Duncan – “Composed”
Ben – “Flair”

Spread the word

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign up to our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Glasgow Warriors.