'I think it's something the league's really needed' - SA influx welcomed
Glasgow co-captain Fraser Brown is relishing the fresh dimension the four new South African teams will bring to the revamped United Rugby Championship.
Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers have been added to the former PRO14 set-up for the upcoming campaign, which kicks off next weekend.
Brown said: “As far as the league is concerned, the most exciting thing is having the South African participation increased from what it’s been the last couple of years.
“We’ve always had some of the best teams in Europe, the likes of Leinster, Munster, ourselves and some of the Welsh regions, so to now add South African teams who are littered with World Cup-winning stars and Lions Tour winners is good for the whole league.
“It’s exciting, it raises the quality and raises the profile of the league. I think it’s something the league’s really needed.”
Brown, a regular for Scotland, is glad the league has introduced an extended break in the season which completely aligns with the international calendar.
He said: “As someone who may be involved in international windows, it’s great because it means you can give your all for your club knowing you can get a run of games and really contribute to your club. And then, if you’re lucky enough to be selected by your international team you can go away, put in 100 per cent then come back and reset.
“There’s always going to be a club v country sub-struggle in countries like Scotland, Wales and Ireland who are centrally contracted but this is a good thing for clubs like Glasgow because they know they have access to all their players.”
After an underwhelming campaign for Glasgow last term as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic took its toll throughout the sport, Brown is hopeful that his side will assert themselves at the top end of the URC this term.
He said: “The start of every season is relatively unpredictable. From our point of view, we’ve had a good summer with a couple of new signings coming in, both in the squad and in the backroom, so they’ve bedded in really well.
“That’s about eight weeks we’ve been together and we’ve had a good couple of hit-outs in the last couple of weeks. We’re in a pretty good place.
“We’ve got a tough first three fixtures with Ulster away and then two South African teams coming to Scotstoun so the proof will be in the pudding.
“We have a lot of high-quality players and very good coaches here and we’re a club that expects to be up at the top of the table competing for honours, so there should be pressure on everyone in the squad and we should welcome that.
“We’re not here just to make up the numbers. Every single year since I’ve been at Glasgow we’ve aimed to compete and be at the top end of the league when the play-offs come around, and that’s no different this year.”
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