NLY ONCE does he need a question repeated. But then Nick Frisby is clearly learning new voices. “Getting the Glasgow accent has probably been the hardest part,” the Aussie scrum-half says merrily, just three weeks into his stay in Scotland. “I am slowly finding it better, though. It’s not too bad. I’ll get it quickly – and my Aussie accent is probably just as hard for them to understand!”
One of only a few new recruits at Glasgow, Frisby arrives to add
Oto the Warriors’ already impressive stocks at nine. The five-times Wallaby will vie with Scotland’s Ali Price, the unpredictable Niko Matawalu and last season’s breakout star George Horne. While those three are hungry, though, they may not have the same motivation as Frisby.
In 2017 the scrum-half and a Queensland Reds team-mate chose to go out drinking after a Super Rugby loss to the Hurricanes. After failing to show for a recovery session the next day, they were stood down by then coach Nick Stiles.
When no-nonsense Brad Thorn then came in as Reds boss, he told Frisby and Quade Cooper that they had no place in his plans and could play club rugby.
The half-back is philosophical as he reflects on the circumstances that led to him arriving in Scotland.
“I’ve had that time at the Reds that was tough and for a while it was a possibility that I might not play footy again,” Frisby reveals.
“At the time it was hard, not playing footy for a team I’d spent so long with. But there was poor form from me on the field and that led to poor decisions off the field – I had that alcohol-related thing – and I was told that I was free to look elsewhere.
“It hurt at the time, obviously. It’s always hard to be told that you’re not wanted. But as I look at it now, it was the best thing to happen to me. I was due for a change – in my attitude, in my work, where I was. I was not going all-in for my team and it was not fun… It was good to get my attitude changed.”
Some say it can be equal parts grounding and motivating to drop down a grade to play club rugby. But after a little time with Brisbane Premier side GPS – who were the ones to break the news of Frisby’s move to Glasgow on social media – Frisby went to Bordeaux in the Top 14 for a short stint.
“Going to France was really good fortune,” he continues. “I loved France. It was a beautiful city, the footy was really enjoyable and I was enthusiastic to take on that dominant role as a half-back, trying to get guys playing. In a different language too, which was a good challenge.”
When the move to Glasgow was made public, Frisby said in a statement that he couldn’t wait to get “ripped in” to pre-season. Now amongst it at his new home, he has been caught in the cycle of hammering the work, then going home to “get the toes up”.
That has meant he hasn’t seen much of the country yet. He has made it to a few cafés and spied a bit of Glasgow, but spare time and energy are rarely at a premium during the pre-season months.
Frisby has enjoyed the support of his new team-mates. He is appreciative for any added help. After all, elite-level pre-seasons are tough enough without you learning a new system, taking in new surroundings or even figuring out your place amongst all the new faces – “I’m slowly but surely remembering everyone’s names at the club,” he says.
He jokes about the fact that Aussies can get everywhere, saying that “there are more people I know playing here (in the UK and France) than in Australia”. He already knows Glasgow’s Sam Johnson from their time together at the Reds, while he actually went to the same school as steady Edinburgh and Scotland lock Ben Toolis.
What he still needs to get to grips with is the Warriors’ way of playing the game.
“The whole set-up here is one of the best I’ve seen in rugby,” Frisby explains. “I’ve been really impressed. I had spoken to Dave Rennie about the way they play and I know it will be a really enjoyable style. You only have to be here one day to see the different dimensions.”
When Glasgow unveiled the signing, Rennie himself said of Frisby: “Nick has an outstanding skill-set, he is quick and has a quality pass and kick.
“He’s also incredibly versatile. While he’s predominantly a nine, the Reds sometimes played him at ten and as a younger player he played a lot at 15.”
Most expect Frisby to be the go-to nine when others are on Test duty. But he will want to show his worth amongst the young and unpredictable players here.
“I guess initially I want to find my feet,” he calmly suggests. “But I also like to think I can play outside of the box too…”
Age 25( 29 Oct 1992) Born Brisbane Club Glasgow Position Scrum- halfHeight 6ft Weight 13st 3lb Australia caps Five Instagram@ nickfrisby
Spin doctor Frisby says Glasgow’s set- up is “one of the best I’ve seen”