GLASGOW Warriors have bolstered their back three options with the signing of former Junior All Blacks cap Josh McKay from the Crusaders Super Rugby franchise.

The 23-year-old is expected to arrive at Scotstoun in late-October or early-November after the completion of Canterbury’s Mitre 10 Cup campaign, with head coach Danny Wilson hailing his recruitment as a statement of how he wants the team to play under his tutelage.

“We’ve always known that we needed to add a 15 to the squad and we wanted a real attacking presence with the surface we play on and the style we are trying to play,” said the coach. “Josh has been on the radar for a while, and I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have worked with him in New Zealand, as well as watching a lot of footage – so we’ve done real due diligence and homework on him.

“He’s an incredible running threat – bringing pace, agility and ball skill – and has also shown an excellent work-rate in defence. Despite being only 23, he’s picked up some good experience from quality rugby environments like the Crusaders, Highlanders and New Zealand U20s – and he’s only just coming into the prime of his career physically as an outside back.”

“We’re really excited to have him on board and we certainly weren’t the only team chasing him, put it that way. We worked hard to bring Josh to Glasgow and we’re thrilled we’ve been able to make it happen. We think he’s got a big future ahead of him.”

“He plays wing and 15, and he’s the kind of player we want to be signing for the future as we look to build the squad.”

“I think he’s playing for the Crusaders this weekend, he’s certainly been involved recently, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be playing a fair bit of Super Rugby through that period, so I’m just delighted and excited about having him on-board for next season.

McKay was a member of the all-conquering New Zealand Under-20s team which lifted the 2017 Junior World Championship and went on to play three seasons of Super Rugby with the Hurricanes. Having established himself as a regular starter for the franchise, it came as a bit of shock when his contract was not renewed ahead of the 2021 campaign, leaving him a free-agent until the Crusaders offered him a lifeline with a season-long deal as injury-cover for injured All Black Braydon Ennor.

Despite the name, McKay is not Scottish qualified, but says he is looking forward to experiencing the culture both on and off the field.

“When the opportunity arose to play for Glasgow Warriors and be able to really experience Scotland it got me really excited,” he said. “Scotland is a place I’ve always wanted visit - I’ve heard so many great things about the country and the people.

“I like attacking with the ball in hand, I’m a balanced rugby player and I think I can make an impact on both attack and defence. I really think the style of Glasgow’s play will suit me.

“I’ve watched Glasgow Warriors games on TV and I’m very excited for my first taste of northern hemisphere footy. I can’t wait to run out at Scotstoun in a Warriors jersey for the first time.”

This is the second piece of significant recruitment business Glasgow have completed in recent days, with 14-times capped Australian back-row Jack Dempsey having been unveiled on Sunday evening, as Wilson seeks to put his mark on the squad following a Covid disrupted first six months at the helm.

There is always a tension between giving Scottish players an opportunity and signing ready-made foreign imports, but Wilson believes that he is getting the balance right. He also points out that being too heavily reliant on Scots as senior players leaves the team vulnerable during international windows.

“First and foremost, I know that part of my role is developing Scottish players for Scotland - as winning games of rugby – and we take on that responsibility seriously, whether that means re-signing the likes of Scott Cummings, George Horne and those types of players who are going to be away with Scotland, or re-signing potential future Scotland players like Jamie Dobie, Rufus McLean and those boys that are coming through,” he said.

“But if you look at our top Scottish players, a lot of them have played only two or three games for us all season. Some of that has been down to injury, but Ali Price, who has been fit for every single Glasgow game, has been available for only five games all season. So, I believe it’s very important that we add quality foreign signings as well to give us that balance and have players that you know are going to be with you all season.”

The coach was tight-lipped about what the signing of McKay means as far as Huw Jones - who is out of contract at the end of the season - is concerned.

“I can’t confirm anything on Huw Jones at the moment, unfortunately,” he said. “But, hopefully, we are going to be able to confirm something soon.”