DANNY Wilson is confident he has inherited a strong leadership group at Glasgow, but has admitted he has yet to decide who should be captain. 

Ryan Wilson and Callum Gibbins shared the duty this season and last, and with the New Zealander now gone, Wilson might be thought of as the obvious choice, especially as he has filled the role on his own before. But, having as yet been unable to spend much time in discussion with his players since they returned to training a fortnight ago, the new Warriors head coach believes it makes sense to decide how the leadership group should work before naming a captain.

“I look at it as a process you do with other people, and we’ve not had a chance to sit around a table and do that yet,” coach Wilson said last week in his first press conference since taking over from Dave Rennie. “Once we get in and start training, some of the meetings behind the scenes will be around what the leadership group looks like.

“They’re built around the people who have been leaders in the past – Fraser Brown, Ryan Wilson, Pete Horne, Ali Price, those types of guys. But we are yet to sit down and say ‘This is our leadership group’. We do want opinion from the squad on that as well. The next step after that is the captaincy.

“I’m a big believer in a shared leadership model. I had that at the [Cardiff] Blues with some really good senior players who were part of the group, and I’ve got exactly that at Glasgow in my opinion. I’ve got some great rugby brains – really experienced, international players that I’ll be involving in the process of a shared leadership model, along with some really good coaches, bringing [new attack coach] Jonny Bell into that environment as well. 

“It is very much about how tight you become as a collective. Gone are the days when you had a kind of headmaster-and-pupil relationship: it’s far more a shared leadership model now. That got us to where we wanted to get at the Blues, and other environments I’ve been involved with. I’ll certainly be taking that route with Glasgow.”

It made perfect sense for Rennie to choose the two back-row forwards as joint captains, because barring injury one or the other was certain to be in the team every week, with Gibbins taking charge when Wilson was absent on Scotland duty. There is no obvious equivalent pairing available to Rennie’s successor, whose problem in selecting a single skipper is the competition for places in certain positions. 

Of the four names the head coach mentioned above, for instance, Price faces a fight for the No 9 jersey with George Horne, George’s brother Pete has stiff competition at 10 or 12, and Wilson has a lot of rivals for a back-row berth. Brown might therefore be seen as the leading candidate, but he too is a Scotland regular, and in any case George Turner, Mesu Dolokoto and Grant Stewart will all be competing for the hooker’s jersey too.

One solution could be to select a club captain for the season, with two or three deputies ready to step in when he is not in the matchday squad. Pete Horne would be the ideal choice for such a role, given his experience, work ethic and constructively self-critical approach among many other qualities. He has not been in a Scotland matchday squad this year, and although at 30 he has plenty time to add to his 45 caps, a continued absence from the international scene would only enhance his suitability for the Warriors captaincy. 

On the field, of course, there are other types of leaders in addition to those who take on the official role, including players who are often seen as insufficiently demonstrative to be thought of as captains. Richie Gray, newly returned to Scotstoun as a replacement for his brother Jonny, is one such case, but his head coach is nonetheless convinced that the former Toulouse lock has a major role to play in his squad.

“Where he is a leader is at lineout time,” Wilson said of Gray senior. “We’ve seen him call the lineouts at Toulouse, and he’s very experienced in that area from an international point of view. 

“Richie will come in with a vast amount of experience and he can be one of those players who pass that on and help the younger players in his position, and the forwards generally.  He’s probably a quieter leader than other leaders: he leads by example. We all know he’s a huge man, he’s a fans’ favourite at Glasgow, and I’m really looking forward to working with him. 

“There are different types of leaders – some by example, some by voice. He is very much by example.”