New-boy Josh Strauss insists he is ready to repay the faith Gregor Townsend has shown in him as the South African prepares to make his Glasgow Warriors bow.
The Warriors shocked many by announcing the signing of Strauss, the No.8 being introduced to his new team with a half-time parade with fellow new signings Niko Matawalu and Ofa Fainga’anuku as Glasgow picked up their first RaboDirect PRO12 win of the season over Connacht last Friday night.
But there is more for the Scotstoun faithful to get excited about in Friday’s clash with Zebre as Strauss is named in the starting XV.
There is pressure on Strauss’ shoulders however with Townsend hailing the 25-year-old as the new Todd Blackadder, the former All Black rumoured to have wanted to bring the young pretender to his throne to Crusaders, the team he now coaches.
But Strauss instead opted for Glasgow, insisting it was the length of the offer Townsend put in front of him that made his decision to come to Scotland an easy one.
“I did have offers from the Chiefs and the Crusaders, and a team in France,” Strauss told The Scotsman.
“I spent a year in France when I was younger and I really enjoyed it there, and so I always planned on playing quite a bit of my career in Europe, so when the Glasgow offer came I saw it as a great opportunity.
“And they offered me a three-year contract, which gives you confidence, where the offers in France and at the Crusaders and Chiefs was just for a year.
“I had never met Gregor before but I knew him from being a youngster watching Six Nations and from being a coach with the Scotland team, and from his time with the Sharks.
“When he gave me a call I spoke to Butch James, the ex-Springbok fly-half who played with Gregor, and then Graham Lowe came to see me and now I’m here.”