Guinness PRO12: Warriors sign Sam Johnson and Greg Peterson
Australian-born duo heading to Scotstoun Stadium in the summer as the league leaders continue their recruitment for 2015/16
Glasgow Warriors have signed Australian centre Sam Johnson from the Queensland Reds and USA lock Greg Peterson from Leicester Tigers.
The duo, who will arrive at Scotstoun Stadium in the summer, have both agreed two-year deals with the current Guinness PRO12 league leaders, subject to visas and medicals.
Both Sam and Greg will be great additions to our squad next season and we’re looking forward to them joining us.
With the exception of Italian international lock Simone Favaro, who will join from Benetton Treviso, the Warriors’ recruitment for 2016/17 has so far seen head coach Gregor Townsend stay relatively close to home.
Edinburgh scrum-half Grayson Hart, London Irish lock Kieran Low, and 34-year-old former Scotland scrum-half and captain Mike Blair have all been snapped up.
While fans wait patiently for the club to sign marquee names to fill the void when record try-scorer DTH van der Merwe, mercurial scrum-half/wing Niko Matawalu and wing/full-back Sean Maitland leave in the summer, Townsend believes his new acquisitions will bring something different to the club.
“Both Sam and Greg will be great additions to our squad next season and we’re looking forward to them joining us,” Townsend said.
“Sam has played very well since his return from rugby league, producing some eye-catching games in the NRC and at club level.
“He has been a regular for the Reds back-up side this season and his impressive performances have seen him break into the first team.
“He is a strong running ball carrier that can cover both centre positions and we believe that he will continue to improve within our environment.
“Greg has picked up some great experience already in his rugby career and played well for the USA in the November Tests. He is determined to make the most of his opportunity with us.
“He has a real physical presence and hits hard in the tackle. He will give us something different and add to the competition for places in the second-row.”
Johnson, 21, hails from Dysart in Queensland – a town known for its links to mining and rugby league.
I’ve been watching the European Rugby Champions Cup this season and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to test myself at that level against some of the best teams in the world.
After spells with the Queensland Schoolboys and Australia Schoolboys A side, he switched to rugby league for the Gold Coast Titans U20 side before switching back to union in 2013, joining the Reds’ wider training squad and former club GPS in Brisbane.
He made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds against Western Force in 2014, making a total of two appearances for the franchise. Queensland Reds debut off the bench against the Western Force in Perth. He then went on to play five matches for Queensland Country in Australia’s National Rugby Championship.
To date he has made two Super Rugby appearances for the Reds and has been named on the bench a further three times.
“Glasgow play free flowing rugby and I really like the way they attack, which is a bit different to typical European teams and defensively their structure is second to none,” Johnson said.
“I’ve been watching the European Rugby Champions Cup this season and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to test myself at that level against some of the best teams in the world.
“Hopefully I can make a contribution at the Warriors and learn as much as I can over the next couple of years.”
Sydney-born Peterson, 24, has spent much of his career playing in the National Rugby Championship with Manly and North Harbour Rays.
I like the style of rugby Glasgow play and everybody works hard for each other, which is how I think the game should be played. The harder you work the more opportunities you get.
Finding his options limited with the Super Rugby-winning NSW Waratahs franchise after five years with the club, the 6ft 8in forward moved to England in December 2014 for a trial with Leicester Tigers.
Peterson impressed the Welford Road outfit enough to earn a short-term contract until the end of the season, making his only Aviva Premiership appearance off the bench in a win against Sale Sharks on 27 December.
His only start for the Tigers to date came against Northampton Saints in the LV=Cup at the end of January, with his only other appearance coming from the bench against Cardiff Blues in the same competition a week later.
Despite representing Australia U20s on eight occasions between 2010 and 2011, Peterson chose to switch allegiances to the country of his grandfather’s birth and made his international debut for the Eagles against Romania last November, winning a further two caps on their European tour.
“I’ve learnt a lot at Leicester Tigers about northern hemisphere rugby and I’ve loved my time there,” Peterson said.
“I’ve always given 100 per cent and I’ll do the same for Glasgow.
“I like the style of rugby Glasgow play and everybody works hard for each other, which is how I think the game should be played. The harder you work the more opportunities you get.
“Talking to Gregor about the values of the team and the way the team plays almost feels like a perfect fit, so when I get up there I’ll grab the opportunity with both hands and show the supporters the kind of player I am.”