ANALYSIS | Bradbury and Wilson to skipper pro sides

Scotland back-rows Ryan Wilson and Magnus Bradbury have been confirmed as captains for Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby respectively.

News of Bradbury's appointment came earlier today (Monday) as the club prepared for their opening fixture in the Guinness PRO14, while the appointment of 28-year-old Wilson came last Wednesday at the championship launch (23 August), the same day Bradbury turned 22.

While 28 caps and six years separate the two players, they are both - skippering appointments aside - undoubtedly critical to their side's fortunes this season, however both are at very different stages in their careers, with very different challenges ahead of them.

Glasgow, under the direction of the new Head Coach Dave Rennie, are seeking to repeat and surpass the club's first foray into the knockout rounds of the European Champions Cup they achieved last season, while at the same time secure a return to the PRO14 play-offs - a feat that evaded them last season for the first time since 2011.

Edinburgh are also seeking improved fortunes under a new Head Coach - Richard Cockerill - as they look to develop a culture and calibre in their young crop that's capable of climbing out of the lower reaches of the - now PRO14 - table and, ultimately, back into the top tier of the European competition for the first time since the days of automatic qualification.

We profile the appointments below, with some expert insight into their selection by former Scotland and Edinburgh Rugby captain, and national team record points' scorer, Chris Paterson.

Ryan Wilson
Glasgow Warriors

Magnus Bradbury
Edinburgh Rugby

Position: Back-row (6/7/8)
DOB: 18/05/1989
Test caps: 30
Club appearances: 127
Club tries: 5
Height: 6'4" (1.93m)

Key characteristics:

  • Tenacity
  • Speed / agility
  • Passing / link-play

Position: Back-row (6/8)
DOB: 23/08/1995
Test caps: 2
Club appearances: 31
Club tries: 6
Height: 6'4" (1.93m)
Weight: 114kg

Key characteristics:

  • Power
  • Ball carrying
  • Work-rate


Magnus Bradbury (22)

Bradbury earned his first international cap for Scotland starting at blindside flanker in the second 2016 Autumn Test match against Argentina, contributing to their 19-16 win.

Previously of Oban High School, he was a mainstay of Scotland age-grade sides, captaining Scotland to a 17-10 defeat of Ireland in the final game of the 2015 6 Nations Championship, and again in his second World Rugby U20 Championship when the side defeated Argentina, the age group's first ever defeat of the South American side.

He made his senior debut in the club's starting XV against Leinster in 2014, and scored his first try for the club in the European Challenge Cup defeat of Agen at BT Murrayfield, maintaining and impressive one in five return on that front.

The young back-row put pen to paper on a three year deal back in December that starts from this summer, so he's in it for the long haul, with all the hallmarks of a club stalwart in the making.

Paterson's verdict...

"Magnus is a real workhorse. When people say workhorse they think it's just the straight up and down stuff but I don't mean that at all. He will always put his hand up to carry, he is so brave and determined, and every time he carries it's to the maximum.

"He uses his footwork, bursts tackles, offloads and is very rarely stopped in the first tackle. That's because of how hard he runs and how powerful he is but also how clever he is with his feet, which he's worked on really hard.

"He's captained before at a younger age and I think it's a brilliant statement and appointment in terms of the stage of career that he's in and the make-up of Edinburgh at the moment. He will not take a backward step.

"The fact that he has his future at the club secured and ahead of him is important and will no doubt be in the thoughts of the club. It'll be a big lift to the number of quality young players coming through at the club.

"For so long the captain has been one of the older guys and there's a possibility that, subconsciously, you can be reserved as a leader when you're younger because you can feel inferior to the older guys in the squad - whereas the message here is that it doesn't matter how old you are, if you've got the raw materials, the intelligence and the power within the group and in the game to be captain then you can achieve that.

"That will inspire the other young players to say 'you know what, we're really important to this team', while the older players will do that anyway, they have natural ability and are natural leaders, while maybe some who aren't might think 'right, well there's a young guy captain, I could do that or I could contribute more'. So it may also inspire the older guys to be more conscious of their responsibilities."

Richard Cockerill on Bradbury...

"I want to build this squad around the young players, and we've got some good senior players but Magnus is on a long-term contract. He's a local man who wants to play for the club.

“Part of this is about developing leadership around a young man who has committed to the club, and building for the future.

"We have to create some foundations for the club, and making sure young Scottish guys are in the team.

"Some captains lead by what they say and some lead by their actions. Magnus is probably more the latter. He leads well by how he behaves professionally and how he plays.

“There will be other leaders alongside him – nines, 10s, 12s and lineout callers – but Magnus leads the team on to the field.

“The senior group all agreed that this was a good choice, that Magnus will be a good leader, and that it’s the best thing for the club moving forward. I thought Magnus was the right person within the group and the group’s dynamic.”

Ryan Wilson (28)

Wilson arrived at the club in the summer of 2010 and went on to become a key member of the Glasgow Warriors playing squad, helping the club to a first Guinness PRO12 title in the 2014/15 season.

To date, he has appeared for the club on 127 occasions, having made his 100th appearance against Edinburgh in January 2016.

He played a crucial role in helping the club reach their first ever European quarter-final in the 2016/17 campaign, scoring one of Glasgow’s six tries in the historic 43-0 victory over Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

Having played a part in each of Scotland’s pool matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, he was then involved in Scotland’s most successful Six Nations campaign for a decade in 2017, as well as starting in the memorable 24-19 victory over Australia in Sydney earlier this summer.

Known for his all-action approach to the game, the backrower has become a regular in the Scotland set-up, winning 30 caps since his debut against Wales in 2013.

Paterson's verdict...

"I think Wilson is a brilliant player and a really good choice as captain.

"The responsibility he has at Glasgow is huge. He's like a guardian of the club, certainly off the field. He has this brilliant ability to protect what Glasgow's about, by behaving the right way at the right time.

"He's a massive presence and for me the way he plays is exceptional as well - very dynamic, great ball-carrier and over the years he has always been involved in the big games.

"There's so much competition in the back-row, so many good players with different merits yet, come the big games, he's always in the mix and has had a big game in those big games. I think it's because he can play in all three loose forward positions, he carries hard, is evasive, he's determined, is aggressive and will not let an opposition player relax.

"He also has a passing ability that suits the way Glasgow play. For me that's what sets him apart from other back-rowers, he passes as well as most backs and is comfortable in the back field, launching counter-attacks and giving long passes.

"He's captained Glasgow before and I think his presence is exactly what is needs to be. What a captain needs, he's got."

Dave Rennie on Wilson...

"I've met Ryan two or three times over the last year and I've watched him train and I've watched him operate within the group and I believe he's an excellent choice.

"He was part of the leadership group last season and even in my short time here so far he speaks really well and is demanding. 

"Ryan has a real ability to challenge others, but also put an arm around those who need it and I think that is a really rare quality.

"We'll still have a strong leadership group supporting Ryan and the guys who captained last season (Jonny Gray and Henry Pyrgos) will both have a big part to play from a leadership point of view."