Glasgow bring in Argentine prop German Araoz to boost ailing scrum
GREGOR Townsend has underlined his determination to establish Glasgow Warriors as credible contenders in both the Rabo Direct Pro 12 and the Heineken Cup by signing Argentine international prop German Araoz on a three-month contract.
The 27-year-old will provide much-needed cover in this most specialist of positions while Ed Kalman, John Welsh and Moray Low all recover from injury – but he is not eligible to play in this Friday’s crucial Heineken Cup match against Ulster.
Araoz’s international experience comes from relatively low-level matches against Brazil and Chile earlier this year, and he also represented the Pampas, an Argentine team, based in South Africa and currently playing in the South African second domestic competition, the Vodacom Cup.
It is not the same sort of playing pedigree as is boasted by other recent arrivals to Glasgow, such as former Super XV star Josh Strauss and Fijian international Niko Matawalu, but Townsend is confident that his new recruit can still play an important role in Glasgow’s quest to reach the play-offs for the second season running. Glasgow are currently third in the table, behind Ulster and the Scarlets.
“We’re very happy to be bringing on board another international prop at what is an intense juncture in the season. German is a strong scrummager and tackler who will give us an additional option in an area of the team where we have sustained a significant number of injuries,” he said.
“Ofa Fainga’anuku [the Tongan loose-head prop] has given us a boost by coming in and hitting the ground running, making an immediate impression, and we’re looking forward to working with German to help him do likewise.”
Aaroz had a quick look around his new Scotstoun playing base on Monday night before passing a medical and he is now focussing on the team’s next league match against Treviso on 27 October. But his new team-mates have a rather more immediate challenge on their minds, with a home win over Ulster on Friday an imperative if the Warriors are to keep alive their hopes of reach in the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup for the first time in their history.
Glasgow earned a lot of credit for their performance against Northampton Saints on Sunday, especially during a highly impressive first half-hour when they charged into a 15-0 lead. But Northampton bullied their way back into it and the Aviva Premiership giants eventually went on to win 24-15.
It was a painful experience for Townsend’s men, but Ryan Grant – who was one of the stand-out performers for the Scottish side – insists that they can come back stronger from it.
“It is hard to have gone down there, made such a good start, and still come away without even a bonus point. The boys are pretty gutted but there were plenty of positives to take. We will review the game and look to fix the problems before we head into Ulster,” he said.
“If we look at the whole game, there are a lot of positives we can take from the first 35 minutes into the Ulster game. There is also a lot of stuff from either side of half-time that we need to fix if we are to beat a quality side like Ulster.
“All the boys are pretty disappointed. It is tough to go down to Franklin’s Gardens and get a win but to give away a massive lead like that was really disappointing. They are a tough team and we will aim to fix the problems.”
Ulster swaggered to an impressive 41-17 victory over Castres at the weekend and, with one of the most formidable packs in European rugby, they already look like a good bet to emulate their achievement of last year when they reached the final. But Grant says Glasgow have nothing to fear.
“We are confident, we have a good pack. We took on Northampton. We knew that they would try to target our scrum and they did not have any success there. We have a weapon there, and are aiming to use it,” he said. “They are a good pack and have good scrummagers there in Tom Court and John Afoa, and a couple of other lads. We are by no means going to underestimate them, but we are by no means going to shy away either.”
Those are confident words from the prop, who has emerged during the last few months to be heir apparent to the Scottish number one jersey. Glasgow are going to have to live up to the billing he has given them if they are to have any chance of keeping their Heineken dream alive.
“This is our first home game against one of the contenders to go through. We need to put a marker down,” acknowledged Grant. “We saw last season that we finished a close second in a very tough group but we lost that home game to Leinster and, if we had won that, it would have put us through. So we know we need to win our home games and that starts on Friday night.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west