Young guns impressing Tagive and team-mates
At the age of 29, you wouldn’t necessarily expect Ratu Tagive to be feeling his age.
Yet mention the current youth movement taking place within the Glasgow Warriors squad, and the winger is more than happy to embrace his role as one of the more senior members of the back division.
“Mate, those guys make you feel old!” he laughed.
“We went on one of the away trips last season and I was sat with Jamie [Dobie] for a bit and yeah, you definitely feel like one of the older lads!”
Not that Tagive or the rest of the Warriors squad minds one bit, mind you. Far from it. Whilst the extraordinary 2020/21 season has seen Glasgow play just two fixtures since the turn of the year, there’s a crop of young players looking to follow in footsteps of their peers and nail down their place in the senior Warriors setup.
It’s something that not only excites the Glasgow flyer, but that he believes stands the club in good stead for the rest of the season and beyond.
“The exuberance of youth definitely applies!” smiled Tagive.
“It’s great to see the younger guys coming in hungry for their opportunity. You can’t substitute that type of energy and what they bring to the squad.
“Ross [Thompson] was excellent in his first game for us over at BT Murrayfield when he came on to direct things in the closing stages there, and then for him to step up in his first start in the way that he did was outstanding. Ollie [Smith] and Rufus [McLean], too, have huge futures ahead of them.
“The club’s in a really good place with the talent coming through right across the field – guys like Tom [Lambert] and the forwards are all stepping up in training. They’ve slotted in pretty seamlessly and it speaks volumes about their capabilities and what they bring to the team.”
Whilst their performances on their first outings for the club have caught the eye, it’s easy to forget that Thompson, McLean, Smith and many of the club’s FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy players have been without regular club rugby since the COVID-19-enforced suspension of the FOSROC Super6 last March.
With Head Coach Danny Wilson and his coaching team overseeing their development in the last few months, however, the hard work is starting to pay off.
“It’s such a unique situation for them to come into – some of these boys haven’t played competitive rugby for almost a year now,” said Tagive.
“To be training as well as they have been, it’s a testament to them.
“It’s an interesting challenge for them because there’s obviously no club rugby for them to go and play if they’re not selected for the weekend, but the work they’re putting in off the field is fantastic. Fans might not be able to see that on a regular basis, but the coaches are giving them the opportunities their efforts deserve.
“A massive amount of credit has to go to those boys for overcoming the challenges they’ve faced this season. They’ve really impressed the coaches and the senior players.”
Whilst the postponement of this weekend’s fixture against Benetton means that Tagive and his team-mates will have to wait that little bit longer to get back out onto the Scotstoun pitch, the winger’s enjoyment for the sport and his job is clear.
In amongst the continued uncertainty, the privilege of representing the club, its fans and the city remains at the forefront of the squad’s mind.
“Everyone’s excited to be back in the club environment, as well as being able to continue training and playing in the middle of all the lockdown restrictions and so on,” said Tagive.
“We’re pretty lucky to be able to come in and see each other, and have that degree of normality.
“Everyone’s in a good space and we’re keen to kick on for the rest of the season.”