Why Ali Price had the Glasgow Warriors break he needed

Ali Price believes he benefited greatly from being a part of the British & Irish Lions to South Africa this summer, and wants to prove as much with his contributions to Glasgow Warriors this season.
Ali Price is back in training with Glasgow Warriors.Ali Price is back in training with Glasgow Warriors.
Ali Price is back in training with Glasgow Warriors.

The Scotland scrum-half played in all three Tests against the Springboks in late July and early August, and has been on an extended break since then after being in action almost continually from the time that the PRO14 season resumed back in August 2020. But now, having begun training at Scotstoun a few weeks ago, he is certain that he is ready to play again, starting on Friday when Leinster visit in round five of the United Rugby Championship.

“I learned a hell of a lot in the summer,” Price said on Tuesday. “And being involved in the three Test matches at the end against the world champs - they’re tough games, you have to find different ways of playing, and it’s good to pick other guys’ brains from other nations and hear what they’ve got to say.

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“I just want to pick up where I left off in the summer, really, and push on from there.

“You kind of know when you’re ready to come back in. In September when the friendlies were starting and the Premiership was beginning, I’m sat there watching these games on the weekend at home and I’ve not even started training yet.

“I was ready. I was keen to get back in and get myself up to speed. I felt like I did it right. I had the break I needed, that’s for sure.”

The necessity for that break is likely to become all the more apparent over the coming months, as Price takes part in a heavy programme of games at both club and international level. His next call of duty after the Leinster match, for example, is likely to be Scotland’s first of four Autumn Internationals, against Tonga, on Saturday week. Scotland coach Gregor Townsend will name the squad for that series today.

“It’s been a couple of months since I played,” Price added. “I’m ready to go. I want to go out there and get the ball back in my hands, be a part of the team again, and contribute to the team effort.”

Glasgow have made a very promising start to the URC campaign, and lie fourth in the 16-team table after winning three of their four games. Even the one they lost did not end too badly, as they picked up two bonus points in their defeat by Ulster in Belfast. But Price knows that playing against Leinster will be their toughest test so far.

“Leinster on Friday: that’s the benchmark for me in this league. They’ve won the last four titles and they’re always a great way of seeing where you are as a team, how you perform against a side like that who will always be competitive, front up and be a challenge.

“You can’t be at 80 percent and expect to eke out a win. Everyone has to turn up and perform. I’m excited to be in the mix and contribute towards that.”