JOSH MCKAY landed in Glasgow last Thursday, a full nine months after his recruitment was announced, but head coach Danny Wilson, his new team-mates and the Scotstoun faithful are all going to have to wait a couple more weeks before seeing the 23-year-old New Zealander in live action. 

The back-three man – who has finally made the trip north having completed his commitment to Canterbury for New Zealand's National Provincial Championship campaign – says he enjoyed his first training session with his new club on Monday but knows that it will take more than one short week of preparation to get up to speed. 

And head coach Danny Wilson is under no pressure to rush his newest arrival into the match-day 23 for this coming Saturday’s trip to Treviso to take on Benetton given the number of fit players he already has competing for slots in the Warriors back-three. 

Rufus McLean, Kyle Steyn and Walter Fifita are back from international duty, Ratu Tagive is over the facial injury he suffered at the start of the season, while Cole Forbes, Ollie Smith and Sebastian Cancelliere are also in the mix.  

“I’m pretty green here – the new kid on the block – so I’ll have to get my head down and do a bit of learning first,” said McKay, who was a member of New Zealand U20s World Championship winning side in 2017, scoring a try against England in the final.  

“I think I was initially meant to be over about two or three weeks ago, but with there being no games during the Test match window it worked out well to stay over there for a couple more weeks because the Mitre10 Cup – or the Bunnings NPC as we call it now – was pushed back a few weeks because of Covid,” he added. 

“We lost in the semi-final two weekends ago – and the final was the weekend just past – but I would have been over here by then even if we had made it. Missing that would have been tough, but it is what it is, and I was keen to get stuck in over here.”  

After such a long courtship, both parties will be keen to consummate the relationship on the field of play sooner rather than later. Wilson has made no secret of how excited he is about what McKay can add to the squad in terms of pace and the experience of operating in New Zealand’s Super Rugby environment for the last four years. Meanwhile, the new player is looking forward to testing himself in a different rugby environment and to getting game-time on a more regular basis than he has managed in the past. 

“I’m just looking for something new, a bit of a change while I’m young, I don’t want to regret anything in my rugby career,” said McKay. “Hopefully I can just get on the field soon and help out the team where I can.”  

“I did three years with the Highlanders, and then one year with the Crusaders, and for all of that time except my third year with the Highlanders I didn’t really play much footie – mainly due to nearly all the people in front of me being either All Blacks or solidified Super Rugby players.  

“So, I was always hanging out for the NPC with Canterbury, where I’d play a bit more footie. That was great, but I want to test myself at a higher level.  

“There might be a bit more set-piece over here, and it’ll maybe be a bit colder with more rain than I’m used to, but rugby is rugby and I’m just going to do what I can and play my natural game.  

“I had some good conversations with Danny before I came over,” McKay added. “He’s keen to play an attacking brand of footie, and obviously with the 4G pitch at Scotstoun there is not going to be as many boggy games, which suits outside backs like me who want to play with the ball in hand.”  

His name wouldn’t look out of place on a Scotland team-sheet, but McKay insisted that becoming the next ‘kilted kiwi’ is not on his radar. 

“Five generations ago, my grandparents’ grandparents came across from Scotland, so there is a bit of McKay heritage over here if you go up the family tree, but that’s not enough to qualify and I’m not here for that,” he said. 

Of course, the residential route to a Scotland cap is also an option, but that now requires five years in the country, which means McKay will be closing in on 30 by the time he becomes eligible.  

“I’m not really thinking about that at the moment, I’ve only been here five days!” he concluded.