Cardiff v Glasgow: Six Nations sextet return but coach insists dropped players should not feel snubbed

Six members of the Scotland squad which lost in Dublin last weekend have been given an early chance to get back on the horse by Glasgow Warriors head coach Danny Wilson.

Rather than taking a couple of weeks off, as has happened in the past, scrum-half Ali Price, centres Sam Johnson and Kyle Steyn, prop Zander Fagerson, hooker Fraser Brown and flanker Rory Darge will line-up in the Warriors starting XV for this evening’s United Rugby Championship clash away to Cardiff.

Wilson has made eight changes in total to the Warriors side which took the field in last Friday’s 1872 Cup victory over Edinburgh at Scotstoun, with Jamie Bhatti recovering from a hand injury to be selected at loose-head prop, and Ross Thompson making his first start since January ahead of Duncan Weir at stand-off.

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The coach insisted that the players dropped from the team which beat Edinburgh should not feel snubbed.

Glasgow Warriors players deep in discussion during preparations for the trip to Cardiff.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)Glasgow Warriors players deep in discussion during preparations for the trip to Cardiff.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Glasgow Warriors players deep in discussion during preparations for the trip to Cardiff. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“Normally when you come back after a Six Nations or an Autumn series, it is game after game after game, so you rest them very quickly because there isn’t a chance coming up to do that, but we’ve got two games now then, a week off with no game, so we’ll manage our players over that period a little bit differently,” explained Wilson.

“You’ll see a few of the boys who started that game [against Edinburgh] come back in next week against Zebre in place of a couple of the internationals.

“We feel like our squad has achieved a huge amount, winning five out of eight before the Six Nations, then four out of five during the Six Nations. Now it’s about whether we can take that whole depth of squad and use that over the next two games to get two wins.

“It’s a case of being very up-front and honest with your players, to say: ‘Look, we believe we’ve got some real depth here and this is the best way to manage our squad’.”

Wilson added: “Matt Fagerson has unfortunately re-broken his arm so will leave him unavailable for selection for us for at least four weeks. There may well be surgery needed but until I get that from the surgeon we will wait and see.

“George Turner took a head-knock in the last game for Scotland and isn’t quite right yet, and Sione Tuipulotu has got a bit of a hamstring niggle we need to get to the bottom of.

“The other one who is injured for maybe the next month or so is Tom Gordon with what looked like a nasty knee injury in the Edinburgh game but is not as bad as we thought it was. I thought he was outstanding last week, so it is very unfortunate that he picked up that injury.

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“With beating Edinburgh in the derby, this game becomes huge because if we can win it and the next game, then we’ll go to South Africa in that top three or four places in the league,” he added. “That’s a great place for us to be going into the business end of the season.

“Four out of our last five games are away so we need to be better on the road. We’ve got an excellent home record and lost only once all season, but away from home we’ve not been as good as we should have been. We had a brilliant win in Connacht, but we need to do that more often.”Glasgow Warriors (v Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park, Saturday @ 5.15pm): McKay, S Cancelliere, K Steyn, S Johnson, C Forbes; R Thompson, A Price; J Bhatti, F Brown, Z Fagerson, S Cummings, R Gray, R Wilson (captain), R Darge, J Dempsey. Substitutes: J Matthews, O Kebble, M Walker, K McDonald, A Miller, J Dobie, D Weir, S McDowall.

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