Connor Braid keen to seize Glasgow Warriors chance

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
Canada's Connor Braid in action for Glasgow
Versatile Connor Braid has won 14 caps for Canada and came off the bench to play against Scotland in Toronto last June

Glasgow Warriors' fringe players must seize opportunities to impress during the Six Nations, argues Connor Braid.

Stand-off Braid made his first start for the club in Saturday's 22-10 loss at Munster, from which he emerged with six stitches above his ear.

"These fringe players, myself included, shouldn't be worried about screwing up or letting the team down," he told BBC Scotland at Scotstoun Stadium.

"They should ask: 'what can I do to get out of the fringe player label?'"

The versatile Canadian, who can play at stand-off, centre or full-back, as a full member of Gregor Townsend's squad, but on loan in October.

The English Championship side secured Braid's services on a permanent basis two months later, with the proviso that he could return to Glasgow to cover absences brought about by the Six Nations.

But with stand-offs Finn Russell and Peter Horne on international duty, and Duncan Weir sidelined for the foreseeable future with a bicep injury, the 24-year-old will remain on loan at Scotstoun until the end of the season.

"It was good," he said of his spell in England. "Playing 80 minutes every week is quite nice, better than sitting around up here not playing.

Connor Braid
Connor Braid will remain at Scotstoun until the end of the season

"It prepped me and gave me some good game fitness to come back up here and play."

Braid kicked five points, made nine tackles, and laid on a try for prop Rossouw de Klerk as the Scots slipped to defeat at Musgrave Park, relinquishing their grip on first place in the Pro12 table.

"The Munster game was a whole other level of pace compared to the Championship," he admitted.

"All the boys are feeling it; they're burning the lungs a bit because it was a pretty quick game. It's tough to match the Pro12 speed with Championship rugby.

"I felt a bit of pressure - a top-of-the-table clash, playing 10 and being told to run a game-plan and kick my goals. But at the same time, I thought: 'you can either sit here and be nervous and be worried about screwing up, or you can be excited about excelling'.

"Even if you make a mistake, at 10, the nice thing is you have the opportunity to rectify it almost immediately."

Braid, who would like to prolong his stay in Scotland beyond the climax of Glasgow's domestic campaign, is gearing up for another test of his credentials as Zebre visit Scotstoun on Friday.

He was a replacement last month as Glasgow trounced the Italians 54-10 in Parma, with the hosts entangled in internal turmoil that resulted in the resignation of head coach, Andrea Cavinato and director Roberto Manghi.

Zebre have shown notable improvements in the intervening period, pushing reigning champions Leinster close in defeat and beating the Dragons, and the 14-cap international expects a far sterner challenge in the return fixture.

"When we played them three weeks ago, they weren't really up for it," he acknowledged.

"They weren't mentally there. They were making mistakes that they probably normally wouldn't make. We caught them when we were at a very strong point and they were at a very, very weak point.

"The last two weeks they've played they've really stepped up. It'll be a different Zebre team to what we played in Zebre. It's a huge game for us coming off a loss and coming back home."