Trio sign contract extensions with Glasgow Warriors
Three young talents have put pen to paper on new deals with Glasgow Warriors ahead of the new season, after Ollie Smith, Stafford McDowall and Tom Jordan all agreed to extend their current contracts with Danny Wilson’s squad.
The news was
announced live as part of the club’s Open Training Session at Scotstoun,
brought to you by SP Energy Networks, as preparations continue for Saturday’s
massive United Rugby Championship quarter-final clash with Leinster at the RDS
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Head Coach Danny Wilson welcomed the news, telling glasgowwarriors.org: “We’re delighted that Ollie, Stafford and Tom have re-committed to the club.
“We’re really pleased with the way Ollie had developed physically with our strength and conditioning staff and how the has transferred that to the pitch with some brilliant performances recently. It’s great to see another young Scottish player come through.
“Stafford is a great leader, really popular member of the squad, and has a great worth ethic. He has improved his performances this season and we’re looking forward to having him for upcoming campaign.
“Tom’s work ethic and drive is impressive. He’s continued his outstanding form in the Super6 and his drive to continue to learn and develop is clear for everyone to see.
“All three are great young talents and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with them in the seasons ahead.”
A new contract caps off a breakout season for full-back Smith, who has rocketed himself into the national conversation after stamping his authority on the Glasgow backline in the second half of the 2021/22 season.
Having initially made his professional debut off the bench in a 23-22 victory over Edinburgh at Scotstoun in January 2021, it was on his European debut that the 21-year-old gave the Warrior Nation notice of what was to come, crossing for a brace of tries in a seven-minute cameo against eventual champions La Rochelle in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Formerly a standout for Ayr, Smith has crossed for five tries in his 19 appearances for Glasgow thus far, including a sublime take and finish from a Domingo Miotti cross-kick at BT Murrayfield last time out.
A balanced runner with ball in hand, only Jack Dempsey has made more metres in Glasgow colours than Smith’s tally of 532 in the URC this season.
The full-back’s scintillating campaign was recognised at the club’s 2021/22 Awards Dinner, sponsored by The Malcolm Group, as he picked up the Land Rover Young Player of the Season prize at the Hilton Glasgow.
“This is my boyhood club and I never even considered moving anywhere else,” Smith told glasgowwarriors.org.
“It’s a brilliant environment here. I love working with the coaching staff, the playing group is a great mix of boys and I’m really loving my rugby.
“This season’s been a massive one for me, personally. I’ve just tried to make the most of every opportunity that’s come my way, and the coaches have been great with me, from pointing out the areas I need to work on to giving me the freedom to play my own game.
“There’s a real onus on giving us licence to play and express ourselves – Nigel [Carolan] is big on that with the backs, and having someone like Pete Murchie to pick the brain of as a former back-three player is massive for me. Those two and Danny [Wilson] have really helped me to advance my game this year.
“It’s also brilliant to have guys like Rory [Darge], Rufus [McLean], Murphy [Walker] and Ross [Thompson] that I’ve come through the age grades with now as team-mates at Glasgow. It’s a really special feeling and it’s a really cool thing to be a part of.”
Still only 24 himself, centre McDowall is the most experienced member of the renewed trio, having pulled on the Warriors jersey on 38 occasions to date.
Having represented Scotland at both U18 and U20 level – captaining the latter at the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship -, he made his professional debut by coming off the bench in a win against the Isuzu Southern Kings at Scotstoun in October 2017.
Standing at 6’5”, the former Ayr man provides a physical presence in the midfield that is allied with a subtle distribution game and a cannon of a boot.
His form in his first full season as a professional in 2018/19 saw him collect the Land Rover Young Player of the Season award, dove-tailing well with Kyle Steyn in the centres in Glasgow’s run to the 2019 Guinness PRO14 Final at Celtic Park.
10 of McDowall’s appearances have come this season, which have also seen him pick up three turnovers in addition to his work in attack.
“I couldn’t be happier,” the centre told glasgowwarriors.org.
“This is my home club and it means a lot for me to play here and get the chance to represent my family and my hometown and local club of Stewartry every time I pull on the jersey.
“I’m excited for what’s to come at the club and this squad is only to get stronger. Everyone would agree that the signings we’ve made this year have made a massive impact and I think the all the ones coming in next season will do the same.
“I’ve really enjoyed my rugby recently. I believe the only way to develop and get better is to get on the pitch so for Danny and the coaches to have the confidence in me to put me out there in some big games has been great and I’ve really enjoyed it.
“My goal is always to get on the pitch as much as possible. I want to play every week, maximising my game time and reaching my potential.”
Having signed a first-ever professional deal with Glasgow Warriors back in November 2021, FOSROC Super6 standout Jordan has been rewarded for his continually high-quality performances in the competition with an extension on his current deal.
Whilst yet to make his debut in Glasgow colours, the 23-year-old from Auckland has been in irrepressible form for Ayrshire Bulls since arriving at Millbrae, with only two players having beaten more defenders than Jordan’s 26 as he helped his team to the 2021 FOSROC Super6 title.
That form has continued into this year’s Sprint Series, with Jordan having scored three tries from his five starts for the Bulls in the competition so far.
Equally comfortable at fly-half as he is at inside centre, Jordan is a former student at the University of Waikato where he studied finance and accounting.
“I’m really excited to be staying with the club and I’m looking forward to pushing forward next season and really making an impact at Glasgow,” Jordan told glasgowwarriors.org.
“I want to push my rugby as high as possible and I believe Glasgow is the best place for me to do that – It’s an awesome environment and a great group of guys.
“I’m happy with how I’ve been going down at the Bulls this season and want to keep building on that this summer to prepare me ahead of preseason and the upcoming season.
“My whole focus is on earning my chance to play for Glasgow and I can’t wait to get the opportunity.”