Dave Rennie: New Glasgow Warriors boss targets 'depth, quality & good men'

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
Dave Rennie and the Glasgow Warriors coaching team
Dave Rennie, centre, arrived in Scotland this month, and held his first media conference on Wednesday

New head coach Dave Rennie wants to add depth and consistency to his Glasgow Warriors side.

Rennie has made 11 signings before his maiden Pro14 campaign, which begins away to Connacht on 2 September.

And most of those new recruits will not be lost to Test rugby during the autumn and spring international windows.

"There's no doubt that success here at Glasgow has meant a lot of guys have been promoted to the national side - they can be decimated," Rennie said.

"So we're going to make sure we have some depth and quality in behind that, and the guys you mention will help."

Staying in the race

Rennie hopes to have Stuart Hogg available "around October", with the Scotland full-back recovering from shoulder surgery.

Warriors suffered several defeats last season when bereft of their international contingent, but players such as prop Oli Kebble, flanker Callum Gibbins and winger Lelia Masaga, arrive from teams in South Africa and New Zealand, and will be available to the 53-year-old for the whole season.

Chiefs coaching staff celebrate winning the Super Rugby title in 2013
Rennie, far right, won back-to-back Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013

New Zealander Rennie started his two-year contract at Scotstoun on Monday, after his Chiefs team were beaten in the semi-finals of Super Rugby.

"The key thing initially was we did a lot of recruitment, and a lot of it was around retention," he said. "There were a lot of Scottish international boys off-contract and it was important to keep them here.

"Then, [we needed to] set up a quality management group because ultimately with my commitment to the Chiefs, I was going to arrive last-minute. There's been an enormous amount of work done by the coaches and trainers, to hopefully get us in a position where we can be competitive.

"Ultimately, you've got to be consistent enough to be in the race at the end of it. You don't need to be the best team in the first three weeks, but you need to be hitting form, and when you get to play-offs, you've just got to be the best team for 80 minutes, three weeks in a row."

'Good people, good culture, an aspirational group'

The culture and ethos Rennie fostered during his six years at Chiefs, where the team were encouraged to learn about and engage with the local community, is a key tenet of his coaching.

Jason O'Halloran and Jonathan Humphreys
Former Scotland assistants Jason O'Halloran and Jonathan Humphreys have moved over to work with Glasgow

The two-time Super Rugby champion says a visit from his predecessor Gregor Townsend, the Scotland boss, first piqued his interest in Glasgow.

"Gregor spent a couple of weeks with the Chiefs in 2012, so I got to know him pretty well and I've taken a keen interest in Glasgow ever since," Rennie said. "When I had a look at the opportunity here - good people, good culture, Gregor's done a great job, and an aspirational group of men - it was a really good fit.

"You've got to create a culture where they are going to work hard for each other, and you've got to play for something bigger than yourselves. That's why we're keen to get around the region and get a real connection. I've always found that's been a big part of it.

Dave Rennie's Chiefs record
Rennie was the first head coach coach to win a Super Rugby title in his maiden season

"The competition that I've come out of has been hugely competitive - we haven't always had the best side, but we've put ourselves in the race every time. The hard work that's been done here in previous years and in pre-season puts us in a good place, but we have to keep developing players.

"We're doing a lot of work in regard to the next young guys coming through, some good young kids, so we've set some high expectations of them and hopefully we create a bit more depth in the club."

All Blacks carrot not a factor

Rennie denied, however, that he regarded an overseas role as a necessary stepping stone to taking on arguably the grandest job in rugby, the All Blacks head coach position.

Present incumbent Steve Hansen signed a new deal last year, which will keep him at the helm until the end of the next Rugby World Cup in 2019.

Steve Hansen
Steve Hansen will remain in charge of New Zealand until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup

"I'm certainly not coming here to position myself for an All Blacks role," Rennie said. "Who knows, Steven Hansen might stay there for another couple of World Cups.

"I just saw this as a great opportunity for my wife and me, and a great opportunity to grow. The competition is different; it's refereed differently. It's almost a different type of game at times."

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