Johnny Matthews learns from hooker group at Glasgow Warriors but knows he has to battle past them for place in team

With three international hookers to compete against, Johnny Matthews knows he has to produce something special to dislodge Fraser Brown, George Turner and Grant Stewart from the Glasgow Warriors matchday squad.

Johnny Matthews' early season form for Glasgow Warriors has been impressive. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

But the Scottish-qualified Liverpudlian impressed in pre-season and earned the right to start in the United Rugby Championship opener against Ulster.

Glasgow were edged out 35-29 in Belfast and Matthews found himself out of the squad for last weekend’s match against the Sharks. Danny Wilson’s side take on the Lions this Saturday and Matthews is hoping to return to the fray.

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Although competition is tough, Matthews says the other hookers help each other, singling out Brown in particular for his work with the group.

“Pre-season went well and I’m hoping to build on that and see what happens,” said Matthews, who is now in his third season at the club. “Hopefully I’ll get a bit more game-time in the next few matches.

“There’s a lot of competition there and Fraser, George and Grant are all Scottish internationals. But we’re quite close as a hooker group, already willing to learn off each other.

“Fraser is really good at driving that and Danny is really good with throws as well. It’s a tough group but a close-knit one. We all want to make each other better.

“Even when the guys weren’t involved in pre-season they would still be giving you bits of advice, suggesting you try this or that. It’s about doing what’s best for the team.”

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Matthews worked hard on his game over the summer, particularly his throwing, and looks to be reaping the benefits, with the club’s coaching staff awarded him the Warrior of the Month prize for his performances in the pre-season games against Newcastle and Worcester

“I worked quite closely with Fraser and Danny on my throwing,” said Matthews. “That was something personally I felt I had to work on. And I wanted to make sure I was coming back in as good nick as possible so I wasn’t behind in my fitness. We got a good running programme from the strength and conditioning guys here so it was just sticking to that and getting up sharp and doing it before your day’s started.”

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