History-making homecoming for Gray

History-making homecoming for Gray

Saturday 22 August saw Richie Gray make his first appearance since re-joining the club over the summer. As resident stats guru Kevin Millar (@topofthemoongw) explains, it was a significant homecoming in more ways than one...

No less than 3,024 days (or eight years and three months if you prefer) after his last game for the club, Richie Gray once more took to the field in a Glasgow jersey.

That gap in appearances is the longest for any player in Warriors history. In between playing against Leinster at the end of the 2011/12 season and versus Edinburgh at the denouement of the 2019/20 campaign, Richie has:

  • Played 16 times for Sale; 63 times for Castres; and 50 times for Toulouse.
  • Added 56 Scotland caps to his tally, including five games at the 2015 World Cup.
  • Been the only Scottish player in the last 10 years to make a Test appearance for the British and Irish Lions

The big man is number one, but what of the other players in the top five with lengthy gaps in their Warriors' careers?

Kenny Logan

Warrior #15
Last game of first spell:
Caledonia Reds at BT Murayfield, January 5 1997
First game of second spell:
Connacht at the Sportsground, September 4 2004
Gap between games:
2,799 days (seven years and eight months)

Kenny Logan was already an established Scotland international when he played in Glasgow's first season as a professional outfit in 1996/97. At the end of that campaign though, he moved on to play for a Wasps' side that won the English Premiership, Heineken Cup and two Anglo-Welsh Cups during his seven seasons down south.

A try-scoring return to Glasgow colours against Connacht, added to the double he scored versus Newbridge back in 1996, mean that Logan is the only player in Warriors history to score tries in both his first and second debuts. In all, he scored a remarkable six tries in his first six games for the club broken across those two spells.

Euan Murray

Warrior #86
Last game of first spell:
Leinster at Hughenden, April 6 2007
First game of second spell:
Leinster at Scotstoun, September 6 2014
Gap between games:
2,710 days (seven years and five months)

Euan Murray became one of the cornerstones of the Glasgow pack during a challenging period for the club before leaving during the early days of the Kellock era. The big prop had spells with Northampton Saints, Newcastle Falcons, Agen and Worcester Warriors during his time away. He was also Scotland's first choice prop for almost all of that period and was a British and Irish Lion for the 2009 tour to South Africa.

An entire dissertation could probably be written on the differences the tight-head would have noted at the club between his games against Leinster in 2007 and 2014! That second spell saw him return to play for the Warriors just in time to be a member of the 2014/15 PRO12 title-winning squad. It also meant he was one of just two people to be teammates of Al Kellock in both the skippers' first and last seasons with Glasgow - the other was James Eddie.

Sean Lamont

Warrior #115
Last game of first spell:
Leinster at Landsdowne Road, April 29 2005
First game of second spell:
Ulster at Kingspan Stadium, August 31 2012
Gap between games:
2,681 days (seven years and four months)

Sean Lamont burst onto the scene in 2003 and bagged 21 tries in his 46 games for Glasgow across the next two seasons. Those performances brought him to the attention of Northampton Saints, where he would spend the next four years before moving on to join up with Scarlets.

His return to Glasgow came at the very start of the Gregor Townsend era and allowed him to finally play a season at the same club with younger brother Rory, although sadly injuries meant they were never in a matchday lineup together during that campaign. The winger remained in town long enough to bulldoze his way into the Warriors' top five try scorers of all-time, as well as become the oldest back to appear for Glasgow in the Champions Cup.

Chris Cusiter

Warrior #100
Last game of first spell:
Swansea at Hughenden, May 10 2002
First game of second spell:
Munster at Firhill, September 4 2009
Gap between games:
2,674 days (seven years and four months)

Chris Cusiter was, by his own admission, basically a student when he was asked to provide scrum half cover from the bench for Glasgow late on in the 2002/03 season. After a couple of games as an unused sub he made the first and last appearance of that brief spell when he played out the final few minutes of a season-ending match against Swansea.

Glasgow may have regretted their decision not to pick him up on a more permanent basis, as he went on to play four seasons for the Borders, becoming a Scotland regular and British and Irish Lion along the way, before finally taking his chance for a second game with the Warriors in 2009 after a couple of years with Perpignan. Fortunately, he stuck around this time, putting in five high class seasons at scrum half as the club became real playoff contenders.

At the other end of the scale...

The shortest break between two spells for a Warrior - excluding loans- was 305 days (10 months) for Ryan Grant, who departed for Worcester after playing against Edinburgh in December 2016 but pulled on a Glasgow jersey in anger once again versus the Southern Kings in October 2017.

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