Glasgow Warriors are not short of options in the centre. With Alex Dunbar, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne and Richie Vernon, head coach Gregor Townsend has a wealth of international talent to fill the No 12 and 13 jerseys at the club – and Australian import Sam Johnson has his sights set on adding to the selection headache now that he is fully match fit after a shoulder injury plagued his first year at the club.
The 23-year-old’s quest to become a regular in the team will have been boosted by his involvement in last Saturday’s rampaging Warriors performance in victory over champions Connacht in Galway (when he lined up alongside Dunbar in midfield with Horne deputising at stand-off in place of the still injured Finn Russell).
“We just wanted to lay down a marker and keep looking ahead, and I think we did that pretty well, especially in the second half,” he said.
“The boys have been really welcoming. Everyone just trains hard, and whoever gets picked on the day gets encouraged by everyone else. Because of the competition for spots, you’ve got to be on top of your game all the time.
“I’ve learned so much from the coaches and all the staff since getting here. All I can do now is keep my head down and keep working hard. Personally, I know I am only just scratching the surface – I’ve got so much more to work on.
“I was at the Queensland Reds and I just got a phone call from my manager one day saying that Glasgow were keen. I live in a small town in Queensland and I just wanted to get out of that bubble environment and I thought Glasgow was the perfect fit, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since,” he added.
With Leinster providing the opposition tomorrow, Johnson is hopeful of another opportunity to state his case for a regular starting berth, and he is looking forward to taking part in a free-flowing match on the new synthetic surface at Scotstoun.
“It doesn’t get any easier. They are a top quality side and have been for years. They [now] play pretty similarly to us in terms of being expansive and with the 4G pitch we have, it is going to be a great day for running rugby,” he said.
“We’ve had a few sessions on it now and it’s very quick. It’s quite soft underfoot, so the boys have really enjoyed it.”