Gregor Hiddleston says Glasgow Warriors are optimistic they can “put on a show” when the United Rugby Championship leaders travel to South Africa for a daunting double-header looking to rubber-stamp a home quarter-final.    

The 22-year-old hooker starred in Glasgow’s 40-9 thumping of Zebre Parma in Italy on Saturday, scoring two first-half tries to settle Scottish nerves after a wobbly start.

READ MORE: Five things we learned from Glasgow's  bonus-point win over Zebre

A bonus-point victory for Warriors sent them to the top of the table and that was where they stayed thanks to the Stormers’ thumping 42-12 victory over Leinster in Cape Town later in the day.

With three games of the regular season to go, Glasgow are well placed to seal a home quarter-final with a top-four finish, while a place in the top two would bring a potential home semi, and finishing in first place would ensure a home final should they get there.

Hiddleston and his team-mates are refusing to look that far ahead though, with a tough challenge awaiting next with long away trips to the Bulls and the Lions.

“We want to go to South Africa first and put on a show out there,” Hiddleston said.

“It’s going to be tough, the weather is going to be tough, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. The coaches prepare us well and we’ve got real experience in this team. We just need to crack on and get out there."

He added: “We’ve got to be optimistic.

"We’ve got great coaching staff, great players and real experience. We can go to South Africa, be optimistic, try to get some wins on the road and see where we go after that.”

Scotland Rugby News: Gregor Hiddleston and Sintu Manjezi started the win over Zebre in ParmaGregor Hiddleston and Sintu Manjezi started the win over Zebre in Parma (Image: SNS)


Hiddleston is one of several young players to make an eye-catching impact under Franco Smith this season and seized a rare opportunity to start in Italy.

With George Turner and Johnny Matthews out injured, Hiddleston was handed the number two shirt and had a day to remember as he touched down twice from the back of driving lineouts.  

His performance came after a week where first-choice Scotland hooker Turner was linked with a move to Japan and Fraser Brown announced his retirement at the end of the season.

READ MORE: Why George Turner's proposed Japan move would be a blow for Scottish Rugby - Rob Robertson

That could leave an opening for Hiddleston to nail down more regular game time and the youngster from Dumfries is ready to seize the opportunity.

“There’s so much competition and that is healthy,” he said.

“I’m competitive, I’ve always been brought up like that, so I would fight tooth and nail for a position.

“But I’ve got to be ready for whatever role I play, I’ve just got to do my best. It’s good competition at Glasgow and I’m proud to be at the club.”

Hiddleston also paid tribute to Glasgow centurion and 61-time Scotland international Brown, who will hang up his boots this summer aged 34 following an injury-hit season.

“I grew up watching Fraser Brown so it’s class having him about,” Hiddleston said.

“Especially with our core skills like our scrum and lineout, he helps out a lot. He’s someone whose got bags of experience, it’ll be sad to see him go.  

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. He’s a great throwing coach and I think he’s got a lot of skill in that area, so I think he would be a great coach.”

Hiddleston’s start in Parma was his third in a breakthrough season where he has scored three tries in eight appearances.

Two of those came from the back of Glasgow’s ferocious driving lineout attack, a strength of the Scottish side that Hiddleston’s fellow hooker Matthews has profited from this season to become the URC leading try scorer with 12 tries.

“[I was] probably trying to be like Johnny, scoring a couple of tries off the lineouts,” said a smiling Hiddleston.

“All the boys work hard on our driving maul. It’s our real strength and we’ll keep working hard on it, hopefully more tries will come.

“The amount of experience we’ve got in our team, the coaches always put us out with a couple of tricks up our sleeve and the driving line out is a real strength of ours.

“We’ve got that in the back pocket if we need it and we could rely on that today.”

The hooker’s brace of scores before the half-time whistle helped settle some Glaswegian nerves after an error-strewn opening half-hour where they went 6-0 down.

However, the travelling side responded superbly as captain Kyle Steyn produced a brace of his own after the break to seal the bonus point before Jamie Dobie and George Horne scores sealed a big win.

Scotland Rugby News: Josh McKay offloads against ZebreJosh McKay offloads against Zebre (Image: Shutterstock)

“It took us a wee while to get going in that first half, but we stuck to our process and a couple of tries at the end of the first half leads in nicely to the second,” Hiddleston said.

“It wasn’t the best start, but we found our process and got going after that.”