Pyr­gos wel­comes the ar­rival of young guns

Evening Times - - SPORT - By KEVIN FERRIE

HENRY PYR­GOS’S own chance of play­ing in the big­gest matches may be un­der threat, but the scrumhalf has still wel­comed the emer­gence of a group of tal­ented young play­ers at both Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh.

Pyr­gos and Ali Price have been joined at Glas­gow by Niko Matawalu, and with George Horne, younger brother of mid­field play­maker Peter, break­ing through last sea­son, War­riors now have more op­tions at scrum-half as they seek to be com­pet­i­tive in both the Pro14 and Europe this sea­son.

“It’s what you want for Scot­land,” Pyr­gos said. “We’re a small coun­try in terms of player pool so it’s great that there are a lot of good nines at Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh as well as a cou­ple of guys play­ing abroad.

“Ob­vi­ously in­di­vid­u­ally you want to con­cen­trate on your­self and get bet­ter, but it’s a good place for Scot­tish rugby.

“It’s prob­a­bly why you’re see­ing an im­prove­ment in the na­tional team over the last cou­ple of years, be­cause there’s im­prove­ment in a lot of po­si­tions and scrum-half’s def­i­nitely one of them.

“We’ve got a lot of tal­ented young guys com­ing through who have done re­ally well in pre-sea­son and had a cou­ple of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the early games and I’m sure they’ll con­tinue to get that.

“It’s great for the squad and it’s re­ally good to see it at Ed­in­burgh as well with a lot of good young guys com­ing through push­ing for places.”

It is also a sit­u­a­tion that should al­low the Scot­tish sides to re­main com­pet­i­tive through­out the sea­son, some­thing they have strug­gled to do.

Pyr­gos ac­knowl­edged that in Gre­gor Townsend’s last cam­paign there had been ex­tra at­ten­tion paid to Europe when they made their first ap­pear­ance in a Euro­pean Cup quar­ter-fi­nal, but missed out on the Pro12 play­offs. How­ever, the 28-year-old be­lieves there is no rea­son they can­not be com­pet­i­tive on both fronts.

“It is def­i­nitely some­thing we can do,” he said.

“We put a lot of em­pha­sis on Europe last year be­cause it was some­thing we hadn’t achieved. We just didn’t play well enough in the league when we needed to re­ally.

“We lost a lot of games dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional win­dows and there were other times at the end of the sea­son we didn’t per­form in the league. It does test the squad, but it can be done.”

Henry Pyr­gos be­lieves Glas­gow can chal­lenge in the Pro14 and in Europe

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