GLASGOW Warriors assistant coach Pete Murchie says he was impressed but not surprised by the way Jamie Dobie coped as a stand-in winger for Glasgow Warriors during Friday night’s United Rugby Championship victory over Munster at Scotstoun, adding that the 20-year-old proved that he is a good enough all-round player to fill in anywhere across the team’s backline if required. 

The scrum-half was pressed into action on the left touchline after Rufus McLean suffered a concussion with only five minutes of Friday’s match played, and he demonstrated that his pace, positional awareness, solidity under the high ball and tackling was all up to the challenge whilst helping his team to a gritty 13-11 win which lifted them to third in the United Rugby Championship table. 

“Jamie showed what a quality player he is playing on the wing – he did a great job,” said Murchie. “We try to plan for who goes where if something happens, and sometimes that means we have somebody playing in a position which isn’t their first choice. 

“Jamie had run on the wing at training during the week because the Scotland guys [including McLean] didn’t train with us all week, and with the skills he’s got he can play anywhere.  He’s just a smart rugby player and it is good to have those types in the squad.” 

Dobie is one of several Glasgow youngsters who have become key figures for the Warriors since being thrown at the deep-end last season when a covid induced budget-freeze meant new head coach Danny Wilson couldn’t look externally for replacements for the several senior players who had either retired or moved on. 

With Covid presenting an on-going challenge to player availability and injuries also a factor, the depth of the squad was tested on a near weekly basis, which was reflected in the inconsistency of the team’s performances and results across the 2020-21 season. 

However, Murchie believes Warriors are now in a much stronger place as a result of that difficult campaign with the likes of Dobie, McLean, Ross Thompson and Rory Darge not only proving themselves at club level but also going on to become Scotland internationalists. 

“You obviously don’t want to have those kind of re-build years, but for those young lads the game-time they picked up has been really valuable,” said the former Glasgow and Scotland full-back. “You can’t replicate that – it does advance your progression so quickly. 

“We’re seeing the benefits of that in the lads who are now regularly appearing in the shirt for us. That only improves the squad depth, and it gives the young guys in the academy a real carrot because they think that they can be the next ones. 

“So, it is important to the whole environment that they have taken their opportunity – we’re now feeling the benefits during this Six Nations window when most of our internationalists are away.” 

Glasgow hope to have Scotland squad members McLean (if fit), Sam Johnson, Scott Cummings and Kyle Steyn relased for the Benetton game, as they look to build on recent positive results against Connacht and Munster. 

“At this stage of the year they are all significant games but the fact that Munster are a top team in Europe and sitting pretty close to us in the table means it was an important result,” said Murchie. 

“With not many games left, it is about being able to grind out results during this period. It is massive for squad competition as well if you have guys putting their hands up to keep the jersey for the rest of the season. 

“So, it’s a really important time of the year for the group, and to be picking up results alongside that is massive.” 

Head coach Wilson missed Friday’s match after a positive Covid test but hopes to be back working with the squad by the end of this week. 

“The way things are set up now, we planned for this potentially happening so that we knew who would take over what responsibilities,” said Murchie. “Danny, to be fair, has put trust in us [assistant coaches] to implement the plan, but we have near constant communication in most things these days, so it’s been an easy enough transition.”