New warrior Swinson wants caps but move is all about his game
GLASGOW’S new second row Tim Swinson has made it clear that international honours with Scotland are in his sights but the former Newcastle player insisted that was not the reason for coming to play here.
The 25-year-old was also quick to scupper the notion that he is a replacement for Sale-bound Richie Gray, remarking that he neither looks like him nor plays like him
Swinson joined up with the Warriors and new head coach Gregor Townsend for pre-season a fortnight ago and has liked what he has seen so far.
But why, when he had nailed down a starting berth, amassed over 100 Premiership games and won the Player of the Season title did he leave a club seemingly set for a new era with new funding?
“My decision was made during the season,” explained Swinson. “I went to Newcastle University to study politics and joined Newcastle, and I’ve played there for six years, so I felt I needed a change.
“The last few years haven’t been what anyone really wants to be involved with, with a lot of defeats and fighting relegation. It’s been tough for the club and I wish them well with the new coaches they have and the plans the owner has, but I’d made up my mind to change and test myself somewhere else.”
Swinson was in the sights of other English Premiership clubs when Falcons seemed set to be relegated, although that has been averted pending an appeal by London Welsh.
Instead, Swinson looked north, to the city of his maternal grandparents. At 6ft 4in and 16 stone, he is relatively small for a lock, especially in England, but it is his ball skills he feels makes the move ideal.
“I am Scottish-qualified but that’s not why I chose Glasgow,” he said. “It was more the reputation that Glasgow have developed, the way they play the game, the quality of players they have here and the competitions they play in. I need something to take me on as a player and I prefer the more open style of game that Glasgow like to play.
“It is very attritional in England, whichever club you play for. I see Glasgow as an up-and-coming team, fast-paced and certainly not attritional, but moving to Glasgow also gives me the opportunity to play in the Heineken Cup. I want to play against the best teams in Europe and, once you are in there and performing well, you can push for a claim for international honours.
“Of course I want to play for Scotland. It wasn’t the reason I came here.
“I would like to think that whatever move I made it would help me push up towards international contention but I think international rugby should be the aim of every rugby player.
“My parents were not born in Scotland but my mum is very Scottish. They have both inspired me a lot to do what I’ve done. Dad worked very hard to get to university and really pushed his career on to become a very successful accountant, and that’s been as inspiring for me as anything.
“They would be delighted if I was to improve to a level where I could be considered for international rugby. It will take time and a lot of work, but they have supported me in testing myself and making this move.”
Swinson has been too busy training and finding new accommodation to see much of Glasgow since arriving but he remembers trips as a kid to visit relatives in Scotland.
And he see similarities between Newcastle and Glasgow – “a vibrant, up-and-coming city with a strong love of culture and the arts”.
It is more the dark arts of forward play that second row forwards are associated with and there is little doubt Swinson has been brought in to provide a bit more muscle and consistency in the Warriors’ forward play. As for filling the sizeable boots of Gray, however, Swinson shakes his head and cuts such talk stone dead.
“I’m not 6ft 9in and, in case you hadn’t noticed, I don’t have long blond hair, so people expecting a new Richie Gray will be disappointed. I’m not here to fill the hole of someone else. I’m here to be myself and make my own impact.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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