Glasgow Warriors ready to regenerate for next season as 18 players leave club

It was the end of an era at Scotstoun on Friday night as Glasgow Warriors said farewell to some club legends.

The Glasgow Warriors squad get together after the final home game of the season. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Fittingly, they did it in style, defeating four-in-a-row Pro14 champions Leinster with a display full of grit and physicality.

There were emotional scenes at the finish as departing club favourites such as Tommy Seymour, Niko Matawalu and Adam Hastings embraced.

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There may yet be one more game to come but for the Warriors to reach the Rainbow Cup final they will probably require both Munster and Benetton to lose next weekend. They play Zebre and Ospreys, respectively.

Glasgow Warriors' Niko Matawalu and Adam Hastings after the win over Leinster, the pair's final game for the club at Scotstoun. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Danny Wilson’s thoughts are already turning to next season and a big rebuilding job which is well underway.

The Glasgow coach estimates that around 18 players will be leaving in the summer, including Chris Fusaro, Huw Jones, Alex Allan, D’arcy Rae and the aforementioned trio.

“There is a group here that has been together for quite a long time and some of them are, let’s say, at the other end of the age profile,” said Wilson.

“And there are some others who are moving on, like Adam Hastings. We fought really hard to keep him but he’s made his decision.

Tommy Seymour, who has announced his retirement after 48 tries in 150 games for Glasgow, greets Warriors co-captain Fraser Brown after the win over Leinster. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

“I think there always comes a cycle when a group of senior players are probably coming to the end of their days and some of them made decisions themselves to retire and some of them we’ve obviously moved on.

“There were some tough decisions because they’re a great group of boys but that’s the process unfortunately. You’ve got to regenerate and build again.”

The Warriors have already begun the process and the second half of the season has been notable for the emergence of a clutch of young players whose form suggests they could have a big future with club and country.

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Ryan Wilson and Tommy Seymour embrace after the win over Leinster. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Ross Thompson, Rory Darge, Cole Forbes, Rufus McLean, Jamie Dobie and Ollie Smith all have the potential to be big players next season.

Fraser Brown, the club co-captain, has been impressed with the way the team has come together in the final weeks of the campaign, winning four games in a row for the first time this season. The hooker says they used the impending departure of long-serving team-mates as a motivating tool after the stinging 46-19 defeat by Benetton in the opening Rainbow Cup match in April.

“That Benetton game was pretty chastening, but we’ve come together well and used the fact that we are losing a lot of good guys – moving on or retiring – who have given a lot to this club as motivation.

“I think there was a little bit of resetting our priorities and just realising how important this place is to us, and the effort we have to put in every single day of every single week, and I think Friday night was the culmination of the last couple of weeks.

Ross Thompson has made rapid progress since his Glasgow Warriors debut in January. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

“It’s been a very difficult year for everyone, and we didn’t tackle some of the challenges we were faced with in the best way at the time, but like everyone we tried to do what we thought was best at the time, and it was a learning process.

“Over the last six to eight weeks, we’ve really come together as a squad, and just re-energised and refocussed on what our priorities are, and really tried to build for next year.

“With a full pre-season, with the coaching group in and some really exciting guys who came through this year plus some really exciting additions to the squad for next season, the Rainbow Cup has definitely helped us build momentum going into next season.”

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