Glasgow Warriors sign four academy graduates to first professional deals
Four of Scottish Rugby’s top prospects have put pen to paper on their first professional contracts with Glasgow Warriors, earning a place in the senior squad ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
Each member of the quartet - who will be announced across the course of Wednesday 4 May - graduates from the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy after impressing the club’s coaching team during their time at Scotstoun so far, continuing the club’s proud tradition of developing the next generation of young Scottish talent.
All four players have also been involved in training alongside the Glasgow Warriors senior squad this season, working alongside the club’s established professionals to further their development.
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Head Coach Danny Wilson welcomed each graduate, saying: “We are passionate about developing Scottish talent and it’s great to see four more promising prospects graduate from our academy.
“Angus, Alex, Gregor and Max have all applied themselves well recently and take the next step into professional rugby at Glasgow Warriors.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing these young men continue to grow in our environment and compete for their place in our match day 23.”
Dundonian hooker Fraser completes the quartet of academy graduates, the 22-year-old joining fellow former Dundee Eagle and childhood friend Murphy Walker in agreeing professional terms with Glasgow Warriors.
The front-rower is a former recipient of the prestigious Macphail Scholarship, spending a year at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa to further his development as part of the Scottish Rugby programme.
A former Scotland U18 and U20 representative, Fraser has most recently turned out for Stirling County, first in the 2021 FOSROC Super6 and then in this year’s Sprint Series.
He follows former Scotland U20 team-mates Ross Thompson, Ollie Smith and Rufus McLean – in addition to Walker – in turning professional in recent seasons, and has been involved with the Warriors as 24th man on matchdays across the 2021/22 season.
“I was ecstatic when I got offered the deal,” Fraser told glasgowwarriors.org after signing.
“I’ve absolutely loved my three years in the academy here, and to finally get the chance to be a professional athlete and a Glasgow Warrior is one of those real dream come true moments. I’m absolutely chuffed.
“Playing in the FOSROC Super6 has given me that next step in my development – it really helped bridge the gap between U20 and adult rugby, so that’s been invaluable for me.
“I’ve been in and around the boys on a matchday so it’s given me a taste of what game nights are like here at Scotstoun. To get the chance to pull on the Glasgow shirt and run out in front of a packed house here, that’d mean the world. The crowd here is so good, it’d be a massive moment for both myself and my family.”
Having first linked up with Glasgow Warriors as part of the 2020/21 FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy intake, 19-year-old Williamson now graduates into the senior ranks ahead of the 2022/23 season.
Born in Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde student came through the ranks at Stirling County, having started out at the Bridgehaugh side at the age of five.
He has since gone on to represent County in the FOSROC Super6, impressing with both his dynamic carrying in the loose as well as his work at the set-piece.
Williamson has been an ever-present in the engine room for Scotland U20 since breaking into the squad in 2021, playing 10 successive matches for Kenny Murray’s side.
Like Samuel, he was invited to train with the senior Scotland squad as an apprentice during the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, before representing Glasgow Warriors in the 2021 The Famous Grouse Pre-Season Challenge against Newcastle Falcons.
He was recently included in the 32-man squad that travelled to South Africa for the United Rugby Championship double-header, providing cover in the engine room.
“It means a lot signing for the club I supported growing up,” Williamson told glasgowwarriors.org.
“From watching them play on a Friday night when I was younger to being able to go into the environment and be a part of the squad, that’s a really exciting feeling.
“It’s been a great experience being involved with the main squad this season and I feel like it’s helped improve my game a lot as a player and become part of the group.
“I’m looking forward at continuing to work on my game over the next year to try and get an opportunity and take it.”
One of the standout performers of the FOSROC Super6 Sprint Series so far, second-rower Samuel has shown spectators across Scotland exactly why he is such a highly rated prospect for both club and country.
Standing at 6’9 and weighing in at 115kg, the man from Madras’ form has seen him rewarded with two Player of the Match awards from his three outings for Ayrshire Bulls to date in the competition.
Samuel’s leadership skills saw him named as Scotland U20 captain for the 2021 Under-20 Six Nations, leading the side in all five matches at Cardiff Arms Park.
A powerful ball-carrier and confident set-piece caller, he was invited to train with the senior Scotland squad as an apprentice during the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.
Head Coach Danny Wilson has been a keen admirer of the University of Strathclyde student’s ability, name-checking the second-rower as one to watch during an online Glasgow Warriors Members event.
“It’s a great feeling to sign my first professional deal,” Samuel told glasgowwarriors.org.
“I used to watch the club on BBC ALBA on a Friday night growing up, so to get the chance to represent this club is just amazing.
“Getting to come in here and develop my game with guys like Rob Harley and Richie Gray has been a massive thing for me, and I’ve loved being in and around the senior squad so far. Hopefully the next step is now to push on and challenge for a place in the matchday squad.
“I’m looking forward to running out in front of the Warrior Nation, and I’ll be looking to bring my physicality and a lot of energy every time I’m selected.”
An abrasive carrier in the back-row, Aberdeen-born Brown has agreed his first professional contract 14 months on from his introduction to life at Glasgow Warriors.
The only member of the quartet to have made a full appearance for the club, the 20-year-old made his debut in Glasgow colours when coming off the bench against Leinster at the RDS back in February 2021.
A first start followed the following week against Zebre Parma, before a serious knee injury sidelined the former Scotland U20 star for over a year.
Having completed his rehab under the care of the medical and strength and conditioning teams at Scotstoun, Brown made his return in the opening match of the 2022 FOSROC Super6 Sprint Series, and has represented Boroughmuir Bears three times in the competition to date.
A product of Robert Gordon’s College, the back-rower also spent time in both Nigeria and Egypt during his childhood.
“To sign a professional deal with this team is such a cool feeling,” a delighted Brown told glasgowwarriors.org.
“Glasgow Warriors have been my team ever since I was a kid – dad and I would come down from Aberdeen to come to Scotstoun and watch the games, and to make my debut last season was just an incredible moment. To sign my first contract, it’s hard to put into word just how much this means.
“In a strange way, getting injured in my second game made me even more determined to push on. Getting a taste of pro rugby, alongside guys I’d watched growing up, made me want even more.
“I’m back fit and firing, and I want to say a massive thank you to all of the medical team and all of the boys here – the rehab’s been a slog at times, but they’ve all made it so much more enjoyable!
“Getting the chance to play at Scotstoun in front of a full house would be mental. I honestly can’t wait to get out there.”