SCOTLAND Test prospect Finn Russell was celebrating last night after clinching a dream deal with Glasgow.
The 21-year-old playmaker is the latest Warriors recruit from Ayr, which has emerged as one of the country’s top development areas for young talents.
Russell, who has secured a two-year stay at Scotstoun, said: “I’m excited and proud to have signed my first pro contract – especially with Glasgow.
“I’ve learned a lot over the last 18 months while training with them and I want to continue to learn from the coaches and players here.
“Players such as Stuart Hogg, Mark Bennett and Jonny Gray have progressed with the Warriors after coming through the elite development programme, and I’m delighted to be the latest to get that opportunity.
“I know I need to keep working hard at my game, but this is a fantastic place for me to learn and play rugby and I’m looking forward to the next couple of seasons.”
Russell established links with Glasgow in the summer of 2012 after impressing for Falkirk and the Scotland under-20s.
He then went on to play for Ayr, helping them win the league and cup double last season.
He played for Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand over the summer, after becoming the latest recipient of the John Macphail Scholarship. Following a four-month spell in New Zealand, Russell was voted the Club Player of the Year.
After making his Warriors debut off the bench against Zebre last season, he was handed his first start for the club at home to the Dragons in the Pro12 last month. And he is in line to figure in the festive double header with Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Boxing Day and at Scotstoun six days later.
Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend said: “Finn has a very good range of basic skills, and is a tough tackler. That’s an excellent base to build on as a stand-off, and we’re delighted he’s staying at Scotstoun.
“He deserves this opportunity after working hard on and off the field since he came to the club. We had really positive reports on him from the EDP coaches, as well as the coaches at Canterbury in New Zealand, while he was over there in the summer.
“Finn has looked composed when involved with the first team squad this season and that experience will benefit him as he continues to develop.”
Warriors elite development coach, Iain Monaghan, said: “Finn has gradually progressed from his time at Stirling under-18s to Falkirk and then on to Ayr.
“He has a wealth of ability, and this next stage will allow him to build on the foundations laid from his time in the Scotland under-20s, in New Zealand and in the Elite Development Programme.”
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