Gray departure hurts Glasgow
November 9, 2011
Richie Gray shone for Scotland during the 2011 World Cup © Getty Images
Glasgow Warriors chief executive Kenny Baillie insists the club will continue to strive to improve on and off the field despite losing star second-row Richie Gray to Aviva Premiership side Sale Sharks.
The Premiership side announced the capture of the 22-year-old on a three-year deal on Tuesday in what signified a major coup for the Edgeley Park side. Gray is widely perceived to be one of the best second-rows in Europe, despite his relatively tender age, and this was supported by Glasgow reportedly offering the lock £300k a year to stay at Firhill.
"We're clearly very disappointed that Richie has decided to move on at the end of the season," Baillie said. "A concerted effort to retain his services has been made across many weeks by a significant number of people within Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby.
"The package we presented to him was certainly substantial from both a playing and financial point of view, and Richie has informed us that this was an extremely difficult decision to make.
"We'll be sad to see him go, but it's important to emphasise that Glasgow Warriors are far from a one-man team, and Richie's departure will not affect our and Scottish Rugby's commitment to ensuring the club continues to grow on and off the field."
And Scottish Rugby's chief executive Mark Dodson concedes Gray's move is a blow to rugby in the country but he has reiterated the organisation's commitment to ensuring rugby grows in both of their Celtic league sides.
"There's naturally disappointment on our side because we're committed to keeping our top players in Scotland and Richie comes into that category," Dodson said. "We did everything in our power to hold on to him, but we respect his decision, and look forward to supporting him as a key component of the national team.
"I'd like to reassure supporters of the professional teams that we will be doing everything in our power to support our coaches in securing the leading players at both Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh on long-term contracts, because we want to consolidate the clubs' position as competitive, regularly winning entities in the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup."
Gray will move to Sale in June 2012 in time for the 2012-13 season and the lock admits it was a tough decision to make. "I was impressed by the efforts that the club and Scottish Rugby made to keep me in Glasgow, and it's without doubt the toughest decision I've ever had to make," Gray said. "This isn't about money: I've always been keen to test myself in England, and I feel this is a good opportunity to do so.
"It's a positive thing for all concerned to have clarity on the situation, and my full focus remains on helping Glasgow continue our excellent recent run."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton