What’s this all about?
Well, @TopOfTheMoonGW informed a few of us that today marks ten years since Al Kellock made his debut for Glasgow Warriors and it only seemed fitting to celebrate that!
Captain Al in numbers
Edinburgh Caps: 56
Edinburgh Points: 15
Glasgow Caps: 152
Glasgow Points: 20
Games as Glasgow Captain: 151
Scotland Caps: 56
Scotland Points: 5
Notable achievements: Captaining the Barbarians against Australia, Captaining Scotland, Captaining Glasgow Warriors to their maiden Pro12 trophy.
My Big Al Memory
As a bit of a nipper, my memory is of course very recent. It’s the Pro12 final of 2015, where Glasgow downed the mighty Munster, to win their first title.
This may seem like an odd selection. After all, Big Al was on the bench as Jonny Gray and Leone Nakarawa were preferred on that day by head coach, Gregor Townsend. It was only in the 66th minute that Kellock took to the field, after Glasgow were already four tries up. On top of that Nakarawa, the man he was replacing, had been on fire, causing Munster a seemingly endless number of problems.
The first reason this stood out for me was odd. It was Paul O’Connell. Nobody was sure where his future lay and all the talk was about the swansong for the Irish legend and in all of that, many commentators seemed to forget that there was another legend, of the same position, who also had his swan song to write.
As it turns out, Paul O’Connell still had some time left and went on the represent Ireland at Rugby World Cup 2015, until his career was ended by a hamstring injury. Sadly, O’Connell never quite got his big send off, but Kellock had his day and marked it in style.
The next reason for choosing this memory is the sheer pride and amazement on his face when Glasgow lifted that title. He only played 14 minutes on the occasion, but he had put his body on the line for years and been a huge part of what Glasgow did, from the tough early days, right through to the glorious end. As Big Al moved upstairs, the club had entirely transformed from when he joined it, and he was a part of that for every step of the way, epitomising his commitment to his club.
My final reason, is what he achieved in lifting that trophy. I was in the pub in Bristol with a few people who were watching the Premiership final. They all asked me the relevance of the Munster game and I told them. For them, it was a foregone conclusion. They had all heard of European Giants Munster, whilst Glasgow, they vaguely recognised as a rugby team.
They couldn’t believe the result when they checked back with me later on.
Glasgow may be yet to announce themselves on the European stage, but Kellock had led his side to a title and that has got people talking about the rise of not only Glasgow Warriors, but Scottish rugby on the whole.
Share your Al Kellock memory with either myself or @TopOfTheMoonGW by email, message or by using the #BigAlDay Twitter hashtag!
Top Of the Moon’s thoughts are on my reblogs page.
The Scribbler, 1st September, 2016