The signing of Langilangi Haupeakui was always going to be something of a gamble and, less than four months after the American international was brought on board by Gregor Townsend, it looks like his relationship with Glasgow has come to an end.
The player returned to the US several weeks ago and it does not look like he is returning to Scotland. His last appearance for the club was a league match against Munster on 2 December.
Haupeakui was due back at Glasgow several weeks ago but he delayed his return and it looks as if Warriors will have no option but to cancel his contract. They may already have done so, although a club official insists otherwise. Haupeakui never started a match but the flanker played four times off the bench for Glasgow for a total of 78 minutes.
His departure is a shame because Haupeakui, who grew up in East Palo Alto, one of the most deprived communities in the USA, offered a dynamic, physical dimension that is extremely rare even amongst the ranks of rugby professionals. Against that the American’s discipline on the field was always going to be an issue.
He was carded twice on his Glasgow debut, two yellows becoming an automatic red, and while both cards were rescinded under appeal, Haupeaui’s American football style of tackling, a little too high and not much use of the arms, was a liability in the new environment where player safety is paramount.
He may not be the only breakaway to leave the club. Josh Strauss is said to be looking elsewhere after Glasgow failed to come up with a deal for the big South African. Although Strauss has given good service to Glasgow it is understood that the club feel his wages could be effectively spent elsewhere.
It is something of a surprise if true. Scotland is not awash with big ball-carrying forwards, although the return of Adam Ashe to full fitness will go some way to ease the blow.
Finally, Huw Jones is rumoured to be joining the Warriors after fulfilling his contract with South Africa’s Stormers in the forthcoming Super Rugby season.