By TheSaracens.com
August 10 2020

Tim Swinson had decided to retire from rugby. At 33 his time with Glasgow was running out and he was thinking about life after rugby, studying for a Law Degree at Robert Gordon University (he already has a degree in Political Science from Newcastle University) and becoming a referee. Until that was, he got an offer her couldn’t refuse from the club he always wanted to play for. 

Tim grew up just a few miles from Bramley Road . “Saracens is my childhood club” he said “I played my first game of rugby as a curtain-raiser for them around 1995 so a long time ago. I remember going to Vicarage Road and watching them there. I also remember playing them at Vicarage Road which wasn’t great fun as we lost quite a lot!” Tim attended Oundle School and even played some rugby down under at Sydney University during his gap year.

Tim played most of his career in the North East, making his debut for Newcastle Falcons against Bath in the 2007-8 season. It was a difficult season for the Falcons but Tim finished up as their Player of the Season. He joined Glasgow Warriors in 2012, making his debut against Connacht, and was selected to represent Scotland in 2013 (qualifying through his maternal grandmother) – his ancestry is reflected in his full name: Timothy James Montagu Swinson!. He started at lock in the defeat against South Africa in Nelspruit. Tim became a regular in the Scotland Team both at lock and blindside. It looked as though injury would prevent him from taking part in the 2015 World Cup but a quicker than expected recovery saw him selected in the final 31. He made 4 appearances during the tournament including the quarter final defeat to Australia. His last of 38 Scottish caps was won against Italy in 2018. Tim was part of the Glasgow Warriors Squad which won the Pro 12 in 2015. He represented the Club 136 times joining Dougie Hall as the only Warriors’ Players to have won 100+ caps for Glasgow, having already reached a century with another club. Tim is no stranger to Barnet having featured in both of Glasgow’s defeats here in 2019.

Tim has expressed an interest in becoming a referee at some stage and cited Joy Neville, the former Irish international who has taken up the whistle, as his role model because of her empathy and attention to detail. He said “Before the Benetton game, she went round the changing room and picked out one thing for every single person in the squad. It was, ‘I saw you do this last week. I don’t want to see you do that again, but what you did at this other lineout or tackle or whatever, that was fine.’ It was so detailed; it wasn’t just ‘don’t dive in at the side of a ruck’. It was, ‘I saw you doing this, I know why you’re doing it, but don’t.’ She empathised. The way she converses during a game as well: I’d really try and take that into my refereeing when the time comes.” Tim is also a big fan of Wayne Barnes. “I enjoy being refereed by Wayne,” he said, the way he referees away from the ball. In that USA game (in 2018), at one lineout, I pulled a guy out of the air so badly. I was expecting to hear a whistle for the penalty, but nothing came. I was thinking, ‘Jeez I got away with that’. At the next lineout, Wayne came up to me and said, ‘I saw that, but the guy got straight back up and they got a good advantage so I didn’t go back to penalise. Just be aware that I saw it and don’t do it again.’ That highlights what experience gives you. That bit of give and take between player and referee.”

Had Tim retired as planned, he would have been part of the SRU set-up this coming season as an “Academy Referee” with the aim to fast-track him to “Super 6” level but with the opportunity to end his career with a year at Saracens, his refereeing ambitions are on hold.

Tim is chair of Rugby Players Scotland, the association which represents the interests of Scotland’s professional rugby players, and intends to continue in the role.

Tim cited the presence of excellent coaches, and particularly being reunited with forwards’ coach Ian Peel. “He was my Academy Coach at Newcastle and I always wanted to play for a team that he coached!”

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Posted by: TheSaracens.com (IP Logged)
Date: 10/08/2020 12:12

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:08:27:18:18:52 by Darraghgirl.

Posted by: jonnybrowne (IP Logged)
Date: 11/08/2020 12:16

Delighted to welcome Tim to Sarries - or should that be welcome back to Sarries?? Iím sure his experience will be a huge asset over the coming year.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020:08:11:17:08:07 by jonnybrowne.

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