Exclusive: Andy Newman

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Andy Newman
Andy Newman's birth certificate may show his birthplace as Leicester, but his Welsh roots are the strongest and he sees himself very much as a Welshman.

As Wales completed the Grand Slam at the weekend, defeating France to lift the RBS 6 Nations title, there was at least one member of the Warriors squad with a smile on his face.

"It was absolutely beautiful," he said not holding his emotions back, "I"m thrilled to bits to be honest. I didn't want Scotland to do bad obviously, but in the end, I am Welsh.

ImageAndy Newman's birth certificate may show his birthplace as Leicester, but his Welsh roots are the strongest and he sees himself very much as a Welshman.

As Wales completed the Grand Slam at the weekend, defeating France to lift the RBS 6 Nations title, there was at least one member of the Warriors squad with a smile on his face.

"It was absolutely beautiful," he said not holding his emotions back, "I"m thrilled to bits to be honest. I didn't want Scotland to do bad obviously, but in the end, I am Welsh.

'some of my best mates were playing, although I haven't spoken to many of them yet.

"Adam Jones [one of the two perm-haired Wales props] is my son Alfie's godfather so I spoke to him yesterday and he was singing the praises of [Warren] Gatland and Shaun Edwards. I always give him plenty abuse about his hair, but that's all par for the course."

Despite his enthusiasm surrounding Wales" achievement, Newman is able to take a step back and see the bigger picture for Glasgow.

"Wales winning the Grand Slam is great for the Magners League. I don't think the teams in the Magners League get the credit they deserve. The Irish, the Welsh and the Scots have got some great players."

During the break for internationals, as all bums were in stadium seats or eyes on television screens, Newman was on his feet putting in the hard yards as the Warriors coaching staff seized the opportunity to prepare the remainder of the squad for the final six games of the season.

"Pretty much all the boys who haven't been lucky enough to get picked for their country have been getting thrashed.

"Because there are longer breaks between each game, we get the chance to work in the gym a lot more and get our bodies right.

"We can also continue to develop our game and the boys who are struggling with injury get the chance to have more rehabilitation.

"We have a lot of good quality sessions because you can afford to. If you don't have a game at the end of the week then you can do a lot more contact work.Image

"People seem to think we get a nice long holiday, but it's probably the hardest training we do all year so I'd like to dispel that rumour right away."

The Warriors" last home game was against Newman's old club, the Ospreys, from whom he joined Glasgow in summer 2006.

His elation after the win was obvious.

"It was priceless. I"m up there with the world's worst winners. All the Ospreys boys know that as well.

"I"m really competitive. And I always say if you win, take the chance to gloat about it. But if you lose, you accept it.

"It just gives me bragging rights for a while, at least until next season."

In anticipation of his move north, he admits he knew some of the characters at Glasgow, but it's the younger players that have made the biggest impression on the 6ft 7in, 19st lock.

"When I first arrived in Glasgow, the people I associated with the team were JP [John Petrie], Bevvy [Graeme Beveridge] and Donnie [Macfadyen], but it's the younger lads that have impressed me most at this club.

'they"re just going to get better and better. I spoke to [Johnnie] Beattie and [John] Barclay when they re-signed and basically said "you are Glasgow boys and it's great that you can play here". And you"ve got Moray Low who's come on loads this year. From that point of view, it's great to see the development of these talented young players.

"It's these boys who, when given a sniff of international and A team rugby, can show that they"ve really got it.

"Also, Graeme Morrison is not old and he showed during the Six Nations that he can handle any of the England centres who get the plaudits every week.

"Glasgow can only get better if these boys push on."

The next task for Newman and his team-mates is Friday's encounter with Leinster.

'the biggest challenge for us is that it's an away game and we"ve not performed on the road.

"It's a challenge for us to show that we can do it away from home as well as Firhill.

"Firhill has been pretty solid but it's our away record that's been disappointing."

Beyond this weekend, supporters are eyeing the return leg of the 1872 Challenge Cup when Edinburgh enter The Arena on Friday 11 April (kick-off 8pm).

Although Newman isn't starry-eyed with the prospect of silverware, bragging rights is reward enough for him.

"I think wherever you are, and whoever your local rivals are, you want to beat them.

"It's all about bragging rights. When all the Glasgow boys turn up to Scotland training again, they need to have that win over Edinburgh.

"If there was a sell-out crowd, then that would just make it even better."