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Coach praises young duo

Guinness PRO12 Editor

27 Jan 2010


Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen has praised two of his young guns as they train with Scotland this week.

Richie Gray and Jon Welsh are both enjoying an early taste of international rugby up in St Andrew’s ahead of the 2010 Six Nations.

Second row Gray could win his first Scotland cap against France a week on Sunday having been included in Andy Robinson’s 30-man squad, while Welsh will learn a lot from his call up to an extended party for the pre-tournament training camp.

The pair have been at the heart of Glasgow’s climb to the top of the Magners League standings so far this season and Lineen has nothing but admiration for the difference his younger generation are making to the fortunes of the side. 

“The great thing about both of them is that they are not the least bit bothered about who they are up against, they just want to play,” Lineen told The Herald.

“Jon’s come from quite an interesting background, having been an U14 Scottish boxing champion and with Richie there is a bit of the likes of David Sole or David Leslie. He is quite a relaxed individual, but there is that intensity in the way he plays.” 

Gray has been one of the standout performers from any side in the Magners League this term.

The Warriors youngster has made five Magners League appearances in the 2009/10 campaign, lasting the full 80- minutes on four occasions, including the Christmas double over Scottish rivals Edinburgh.

And Lineen believes there is plenty more to come from a player who has already made such an indelible mark in just his second season with the Warriors.

“He reminds me of Martin Johnson because of his quiet menace,” added Lineen.

“You just have to look at the size of the lad and how he looks when he gets those meaty arms up there at the lineout.

“The difference he has made to us is huge. We were a good lineout team before, but what he has done, especially defensively where he’s nicking a lot of ball, has been exceptional. He is just very aggressive and wants to steal ball.”

Those sentiments have been echoed by Scotland boss Robinson, who is hopeful that the 20-year-old can become an integral figure in the lead up to the 2011 World Cup and beyond. 

“Sean said Richie was the key member of the pack when he rolled up his sleeves like an old player that’s been playing for years and made sure that Glasgow beat the Dragons,” said Robinson.

“That mentality is why he’s got where he has at such a young age and I really look forward to working with him.”