Glasgow Warriors: Stafford McDowall seizes rare opportunity with Sam Johnson and Sione Tuipulotu absent

Stafford McDowall has had to be patient this season but when the chance came on Friday the Glasgow Warriors centre seized it with both hands.

Stafford McDowall enjoyed a rare start for Glasgow Warriors in the win over Edinburgh.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Stafford McDowall enjoyed a rare start for Glasgow Warriors in the win over Edinburgh. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Making his first start of the campaign, the former Scotland Under-20 international played the full 80 minutes as Glasgow defeated Edinburgh 30-17 at Scotstoun in the first leg of the 1872 Cup.

It was a satisfying night’s work for the 24-year-old who has found himself behind Sam Johnson, Sione Tuipulotu and Kyle Steyn in the pecking order. It can be tough going trying to compete with three Scotland internationals but McDowall has stayed positive and channelled his frustrations in the right way.

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“Towards the start of the season the word was the team was going well,” he said. “Sam and Sione had formed a good partnership. I had a couple of games off the bench but it was just tough to break into that team when they were going well.

“Then the [autumn] internationals came and there weren’t really any games in that period whereas in previous years you’d look to use that window to get a footing in the team and get some game-time.

“In the last few weeks I’ve made a few more cameos off the bench, 15-20 minutes here and there. And then I got the chance to start the game on Friday night.

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“There was a lot of nervous energy beforehand! It was a big game in which to get your first start of the season. I was happy with how it went and getting the win was the main thing.”

McDowall made sure he left his mark on the game by setting up Thomas Gordon for his second try.

The win sets up Glasgow for the second leg at BT Murrayfield on May 21 and has lifted them into third place in the United Rugby Championship.

For McDowall, the challenge now is to try to get more gametime.

“It’s tough,” he said. “The inner competitor inside you wants to play every week and you train as hard as you can.

“I tried to look at it as a chance to develop areas of the game that the coach was telling me and do specialist work in the gym. So I just tried to channel my anger and frustration into training well and working on things.”

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