This week Nick Grigg earned his first Scotland call-up – and before that SCRUM Editor Stuart MacLennan interviewed him for SCRUM 94:
Antipodean centre Nick Grigg has been stationed on these shores long enough to consider Scotland his home now. Having advanced through the BT Sport Academy system to become an increasingly important part of Glasgow Warriors’ squad, his stock is set to rise further next term with the arrival of new Head Coach and fellow Kiwi Dave Rennie.
Grigg’s journey to Scotstoun has very much been off the back of his own determination to succeed in rugby, having realised relatively early that any professional path in his homeland had been shut off. Explaining how his move across the world came about, he said: “I was playing club rugby in Wellington and was part of the youth development programme that leads to the Hurricanes but I never actually played for the full team. I did pull on the shirt in a charity match but that was as far as it went.”
“Because I was playing good rugby and not getting an opportunity to go further, I made a highlights reel and stuck it up on YouTube where it was picked up and passed on to [Warriors Lead Performance Analyst] Gav Vaughan. I was then invited over for a four-week trial and it went from there.”
Such a life-altering decision was arrived at down to the fact that Nick couldn’t shake a determination to play rugby at the highest level possible, and he is very grateful to have seen his nig move turn out rosy, adding: “I was working back home and playing rugby was secondary to that, so it was a big change going over to Scotland and going from working 9-5 to training every day, but the development I’ve been seen in my ability has been huge and I owe Gregor [Townsend] and the rest of the coaching staff so much.”
Centres are used to alternating between outside and inside as standard in the modern game, with the vast majority of them malleable enough to perform with either the number 12 or 13 on their back. Glasgow’s Kiwi import is no different, although he perhaps has a slight preference: “If I had to choose I would probably say 12 as in the modern game it has a bit more of the playmaking responsibility, whereas at 13 you’re expected to attack more on the outside shoulder. Both are great though and these days it helps to be able to play both in order to get into the matchday squad.
“I’ve been delighted to have featured as much as I have this season and with Huw Jones heading here, the competition for places is going to be as tough as ever. He seems like a nice bloke and he’ll hopefully raise the level even higher. It’s sad to see Mark [Bennett] leave and Richie Vernon get injured but I think we have some real options going forward.”
Before fellow New Zealander Dave Rennie takes up the reins at Scotstoun, though, the Warriors squad will get to enjoy a few weeks of down time now that the season has essentially drawn to a close.
Speaking prior to his Scotland call-up,for Nick this was set to present a great opportunity to make the long journey home to see loved ones, although he admits it might be a bit odd if he’s there at the same time as the British & Irish Lions: “You get a week here and there during the season for breaks but to have three or four weeks will be great and I’ll likely be heading home to catch up with friends and family. It will be odd being there when the Lions are facing the All Blacks and I’d love to make it along to one of the Test matches; I think both sides will aim to play attacking rugby and although the All Blacks are still the top team in the world, the Lions definitely have a chance over there.”
It’s one of the toughest countries in the world to play rugby, and making the grade as a player over there is equally daunting. After putting in some solid displays this term though, it would appear New Zealand’s loss is turning out to be Glasgow Warriors’ – and Scotland’s – gain.
‘Keep It SCRUM’ for the news and views from all areas of the game – view SCRUM 94 here
To subscribe for FREE click here