Rob Harley: Glasgow Warriors' veteran may move to France after being told of release

Rob Harley believes that his future as a player could lie in France after he was told by Glasgow that they will release him in the summer.
Rob Harley is moving on after many years with Glasgow Warriors.Rob Harley is moving on after many years with Glasgow Warriors.
Rob Harley is moving on after many years with Glasgow Warriors.

The 31-year-old has made a record 260 appearances for the Warriors, his only senior club, and was a try-scorer in the team’s 2015 PRO12 final victory. But he has played less frequently both last season and this under Danny Wilson, and the head coach’s continuing attempts to rebuild the playing squad appear to have left him surplus to requirements.

Harley will continue to be an assistant coach with the Ayrshire Bulls for the rest of this season in addition to hoping to turn out a few times more for Glasgow. He spoke recently of planning to move into full-time coaching eventually, but right now is adamant that he wants to continue playing for some time to come.

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“It’s disappointing to leave, but it happens to every player eventually,” he said. “I’m hoping to still be playing. I don’t have any concrete plans in place, but my agent is talking to clubs at the moment. I won’t be retiring.

“I think France would be cool – a different culture and a different language. I studied French in school a fair bit and I’ve tried to keep it up, although I wouldn’t say that I’m fluent. I think having the language, though, would help ease the transition if I was to go there.

“When we’ve played French teams in Europe I’ve seen a hard, physical edge to their game. So if that’s where I end up playing it would be interesting to see that and take on that challenge.

“This is the only team I’ve played for, so wherever I’m going it will be a new challenge for me, whether that’s in England or somewhere else. That’s exciting.

“It is emotional for me. It’s almost hard to remember a time when I wasn’t playing for Glasgow.

“I’ve made great friends from being at this club. It will be hard to say goodbye.”

Harley has seen several former team-mates leave Scotstoun and join Edinburgh, but he admitted that, having had such a long, unbroken association with the Warriors, he would find such a move implausible. “Growing up in Glasgow and playing for the club for so long, it’s hard to envisage,” he said. “I wouldn’t rule it out, but it’s weird to think of.”

Wilson has already made new signings for next season and revealed earlier this week that more are in the pipeline. But he praised Harley for making a unique contribution to Warriors history with those 260 appearances.

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“We need to make sure we celebrate his achievements,” the coach said. “He has achieved something no other player has here. I can't speak more highly of this guy. Unfortunately, there is a natural evolution to things.”

Meanwhile, Glasgow No 8 Matt Fagerson appears set to miss the remainder of the season after needing an operation on a broken arm. Wilson said last week he expected the Scotland international to be out for at least four weeks, but that was before it became known that an operation would be required.

“Well sadly I’ve re-fractured my arm just above my previous plate,” Fagerson tweeted on Tuesday. “Operation went really well though and [I am] excited to make some shifts and come back better.”