It’s not often that journalists are required to don hi-vis clothing to attend an interview but Australian scrum-half signing Nick Frisby was made available at the Motherwell headquarters of the Malcolm Group, long-term supporters of the Glasgow Warriors, who yesterday announced a three-year extension to their current sponsorship that will run to 2021.
While some Wallabies might arrive with all the attendant brouhaha expected this unassuming Aussie was ushered in the tradesman’s entrance without any attendant fireworks.
Reading between the lines Frisby may not have been inundated with offers which is one reason he grabbed at Dave Rennie’s lifeline. While he boasts five Wallaby caps, every one of them was off the bench and the scrum-half has spent a large part of his rugby career as bench bunny behind Will Genia in Brisbane.
With Henry Pyrgos gone to Edinburgh, Rennie was looking for a replacement, especially during the international windows, and the former Wallaby’s dance card was less than full as he explains.
“I was eight years at [Queensland] Reds,” he says. “I finished up then did five months in Bordeaux as a medical joker. I was still contracted to the Reds but I was free to look at other options. I got a call from Dave Rennie who asked me if I wanted to come over for two seasons and it went from there, so, yeah, here I am. I was playing golf and got a call from him. He asked me if I wanted to come over and I pretty much agreed straight away. They sent through the contract and I signed off and I just had to wait for my visa and I was straight over. It was all pretty fast and it was a matter of a couple of weeks and I was here and in the thick of it.
“I was in a funny position where I was contracted to Queensland but they had told me that I was free to look elsewhere so I was pretty much on holidays really, just sitting back and assessing all the options.”
Rennie suggested that Frisby would get his chance during the Test windows but it seems likely that his first opportunity will knock a little earlier than expected, when Glasgow play Connacht tomorrow, if only because Ali Price and Kaleem Barreto are both injured leaving just two Warriors scrum-halves standing (plus Niko Matawalu if Rennie wants to roll the dice).
It is not fair to judge him on one rusty, outing against Harlequins when Frisby had an interesting 80 minutes. He scored an interception try, from England scrum-half Danny Care’s pass, he conceded an interception try and, bizarrely, he passed the ball straight to one bemused Harlequins player in open play. Frisby was reportedly much improved against Northampton Saints even if the scoreline went against the Warriors.
As things stand right now the Aussie is probably third-choice scrum-half behind Price and George Horne, pictured, not that he has to accept the status quo.
“You’ve always got to back yourself,” insists the Aussie, “but obviously there are two quality half-backs here with George [Horne] coming off a really good season and he’s had some international experience now, and Ali has been around for a couple of seasons and he’s played a bit more international footy as well.
“But I’m here to challenge myself and play my best footy so I’ll fill in where I need to and if there is a chance of taking a number one spot then I’ll be putting my hand up for that.”
Still only 25 years old, Frisby is not only keen to show what he can do but also offers versatility.
Back in 2012 he appeared at full-back for the Wallaby U20 side that beat Scotland 67-12, playing against the likes of Finn Russell, Alex Allan and Jamie Bhatti. Fast forward to his first Super Rugby season and Frisby spent most of it playing on the wing. He also had one entire season at stand-off and, should injuries and internationals intervene, he could yet get a run in the Warriors ten shirt.
For now, you imagine, he is just happy to be playing anywhere.