RICHIE Vernon will lose any envy he has for his Scottish team-mates this summer when he leaves Sale in the English Premiership and returns to former club Glasgow.
The 25-year-old back row was released by the Warriors two years ago and, although initially disappointed, he now admits now it was a good move for him.
He will return north of the border a more complete player after signing a three-year deal as part of Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend’s bid to strengthen the depth of his squad.
Vernon insisted it was the attraction of trying to win silverware rather than a desire to leave struggling Sharks which prompted the move.
He said: “It has been tough this season at Sale but I have thoroughly enjoyed it down here and I’m confident that we’ll get out of the relegation zone and the club will go on to better things.
“Looking back it’s been a good move for me. Off the field I have experienced a different set-up, trips to places like Leicester and Northampton, week in week out, and the pressure and expectations that go with that. On the pitch there has been the understanding of different styles of rugby, and the importance of skills at scrum and lineout, and mauls, particularly.”
Vernon’s move is also aimed at re-igniting his international career and he added: “I have been a bit envious watching a lot of my old mates doing well this season. They had a good season last year and I’ve been impressed with how Gregor has taken it on this season. They have recruited well, have a lot of depth and it is a squad that can challenge at the top of the league.
“And I have signed a three-year contract that takes me past the next World Cup because that’s a big focus of mine. I know the coaches watch your games in England but I feel that I will have a better chance playing for Scotland if I’m in Scotland.
“When you’re competing against guys at Glasgow that you’re competing against for Scotland places, and are playing well under the coaches’ nose week after week, then it’s bound to make it harder for them not to pick you. “But, I’m under no illusions about how hard it will be to get a place with the strength in depth that Glasgow have.
“I’ll have to play better than I have ever played to get in the team and hold down the jersey, and that is something to look forward to.”
Vernon will join a pack that includes a talented array of back rows but, with Vernon one of Scotland’s quickest forwards, he will add competition for Ryan Wilson for the No 8 jersey. With John Barclay and Chris Fusaro the genuine opensides and Josh Strauss, Rob Harley and James Eddie real blindsides, Vernon’s arrival strengthens the ball-playing depth in the back row.
“Richie is a great signing,” said Townsend. “He has a game that will fit very well with the style of rugby we’re developing.
“He has a lot of international experience and has played at a high standard over the last couple of years in the Premiership, so we’re very pleased.”