Wilson welcomes United Rugby Championship

Wilson welcomes United Rugby Championship

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson is anticipating an exciting and competitive 2021/22 season, following this week’s announcements of the competition formats for the new campaign.

The Scotstoun side will compete in the brand-new 16-team United Rugby Championship which will offer fans more games where international players will be available, with the number of crossover weekends being reduced. The competition will also introduce the top four South African franchises, bringing them into a league that is played across just one time zone for the first time.

It has also been confirmed this week that Glasgow Warriors have qualified for the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup – the only Scottish team to qualify.

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach, Danny Wilson, shared his thoughts on next season’s competitions with glasgowwarriors.org: “The United Rugby Championship will be a little bit of the unknown but I’m looking forward to it. This [coming] season will be much more like what I expected when I took the job. It is the mirror opposite of last season – though understandable – where we clashed with the Autumn Nations Cup and Six Nations.

“Not having those cross overs is a real positive for me, but it will also mean we’ll need to rest and rotate players and manage that more often.

“We know that if we top our table [the regional pool] we will qualify for Europe so that will be our first target going into the competition.”

With Glasgow’s confirmation of reaching the Heineken Champions Cup Wilson has drawn several positives from his first term in charge.

He continued: “It’s pleasing to be in the Champions Cup next season. When I look back and review the year, I knew what we were walking into. The first half of the season was brutal, with 15 players away [with Scotland] and we had to bring in players from the Super6 and Premiership, and COVID had a big impact with games being cancelled.

“There’s no doubt a negative from the year was only winning six games from 16 in the Guinness PRO14. But, then after an awful game against Benetton we began to make progress.

“The positives I’ll take away from this season are qualifying for Europe, finishing third in the Rainbow Cup with four wins from five, finishing with a win against Leinster [the 2020/21 PRO14 champions] and the fact we blooded seven new players and began developing them for the future. Ross Thomson, a player who started the year in the academy ended up winning the McCrea Financial Services Player of the Season, which is an achievement in itself.

With a few weeks of rest and recovery for the Glasgow management and those players not on international duty, Wilson looked ahead to what pre-season will be like following a jam packed international period.

He said: “The challenge with pre-season is considering when the Lions players will return, and the 17 touring players, as well as those in the U20 squad, as they will all need time to rest as well. It’s probably the most individually planned pre-season I’ve ever been involved with, as we’ll slowly filter players back in.

“We have time off now, then we will return for our first three-week block of pre-season followed by another week off and then a four week block that will lead us into our pre-season fixtures.

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