Bennett’s Warriors deal but Barclay poised to go

Glasgow's Mark Bennett tackles Ulster's Michael Allen in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Friday. Picture: PA

Glasgow's Mark Bennett tackles Ulster's Michael Allen in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Friday. Picture: PA

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GLASGOW have acted swiftly to secure the long-term services of promising centre Mark Bennett but now seem certain to say goodbye to openside flanker John Barclay.

Bennett, who turned 20 this month, left the Glasgow academy to join Clermont Auvergne in 2011, and after overcoming a serious knee injury went on to become a key figure in the French club’s under-23 squad. However, with a host of French and foreign internationalists vying for the centre berths in the senior team, Clermont agreed to loan Bennett back to the Warriors in November. Glasgow have now reached agreement on a permanent move, Bennett signing up at least for 2013-14 with a view to a longer-term deal if he continues to realise his promise in Glasgow’s first team. Since returning Bennett has played mainly on loan at Stirling County, making just three appearances in the RaboDirect PRO12, but scoring a debut try against the Dragons in the Warriors’ record 60-3 victory earlier this month. He has also starred for Scotland Under-20s and returns to their camp for the final two championship matches against Wales and France. The Ayrshireman said: “I have really enjoyed the last few months in Glasgow and I am very happy to have been able to make this move permanent. I learnt a lot over in Clermont but this is an excellent opportunity to continue my development in Glasgow and to be involved at an exciting time for the club.”

Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend added: “Mark has shown a great deal of maturity since arriving back in Glasgow and we’re really pleased that he’s signed up for next season.

“Since breaking into the team, he has not only shown his attacking threat but also his defensive qualities. He had to be patient before earning his first start and did that by impressing at training and working hard.

“When he did get his chance he seized it, and that’s a valuable quality to have.”

Glasgow have made a number of re-signings in recent months but Scotland flanker Barclay now appears to be heading out of the club this summer. It is unclear where the 26-year-old internationalist may move to but, with Richie Vernon being signed to add cover across the back row, Rob Harley now slotting in at seven and another talented under-20 cap, Adam Ashe, pushing through, it appears that Barclay’s days at Glasgow will end this summer.

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