Finn Russell eyes Glasgow return as Adam Hastings sidelined

With young stand-off Adam Hastings looking at spending at least three weeks out after suffering a nasty gash to the thigh in the Guinness Pro14 opener at Connacht, the Glasgow Warriors coaching staff will be relieved that Scotland playmaker Finn Russell seems set for a return to action.

Adam Hastings will miss Glasgow's home clash with the Ospreys. Picture: SNS/SRU
Adam Hastings will miss Glasgow's home clash with the Ospreys. Picture: SNS/SRU

Hastings, who was signed from Bath in the summer, was carried off early in the second half with a cut to his right thigh and taken to hospital in 
Galway for treatment.

With the former Scotland Under-20 player, who is the son of Scotland and Lions legend Gavin Hastings, unavailable for Saturday afternoon’s home clash with Ospreys, it is expected that Russell, pictured, who has been rested following his summer exploits with the national team and, briefly, the Lions, will return to the squad when coach Dave Rennie names it on Friday.

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Hastings, who made his Glasgow debut in the pre-season game against Northampton at Bridgehaugh, had replaced centre Sam Johnson, who took a head knock in the 18-10 victory and Warriors forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys said yesterday: “Sam is undergoing HIA [head injury assessment] protocols. Adam is going to be out for a couple of weeks with a nasty gash in his leg. He had a fair few stitches.

“The big thing for him is that he does not get it infected. It should be three weeks or so.”

Russell’s return to play has been managed, along with Lions wing Tommy Seymour.

“Seymour is still a couple of weeks away but Finn will 
be available soon,” said 
Humphreys.

“There is a lot of competition in certain places. It is about giving people opportunities because before we know it a large part of this group is away to play for Scotland. It is a big thing that this squad is a lot more competitive when everybody is away.

“You will see changes over the next three or four games. It is important we do that. You cannot win this competition with just a small group of players. It is based on 40-odd guys.”

The Welshman may have played for Cardiff but was Ospreys forwards coach for seven years, including three under SRU director of rugby Scott Johnson, and he is looking for a catch-up with old friends. Having been in Scotland for four years now, however, there will be no strange feelings coming up against a club he knows so well.

“I speak to them [guys at Ospreys] quite a lot apart from this week,” said the 48-year-old. “I am good friends with two of the coaches Steve Tandy and Gruff Rees so I am sure we will have a beer afterwards.

“I thought it might be strange when I was with Scotland against Wales but it did not seem like that in the end. I have been away four years. There is a change of players. There is a core group of people who I am still friendly with.

“But this is business and we understand that. There will be no conflicting emotions.”

Ospreys finished fourth in the Pro12 last season and beat Glasgow home and away but didn’t exactly get off to a flying start last weekend with a laboured 22-13 win over Zebre. But Humphreys is wary of the men from Neath-Swansea, who now have former Wales stand-off James Hook back in the ranks after he left for 
Perpignan and Gloucester six years ago.

“James is very talented and it was sad when he left,” said the former Wales hooker. “For the region and him it is good to see him back. Everybody knows about him. We have been talking a lot this week about making sure defensive wise we are spot on.

“Looking at them, for a large part of last year they were a strong attacking team and they can put a lot of points on you if you are not on the money. They are a good team. They are well coached.”

That said, Humphreys believes Glasgow are in a good place following a satisfying outcome in a typically rain and windswept Galway.

“The most pleasing thing was the character of the group in unbelievably tough conditions and how we fought hard for each other to get the win,” said the forwards coach. “There are certain parts of our game we have to improve on but as a whole it is very important for all of us we got off to a good start.”

Scotstoun’s “fortress” reputation, which has been built over the past few seasons, took a bit of a knock last term as Glasgow suffered a number of damaging home reverses en route to a sixth-place finish, as vast losses to the national team took their toll.

Humphreys said the squad are looking forward to getting back out in front of a packed home crowd and building on that opening win.

“Everybody was disappointed with the home form last year where it has been traditionally very good,” he said “We would be keen to make sure this place is a tough place to come.”

Humphreys is enjoying the switch to day-to-day coaching following his more sporadic involvement with the national team. He has moved to Scotstoun from Scotland along with attack coach Jason O’Halloran to work under new boss Rennie.

“Yeah. There is a certain life expectancy as a national coach,” he said. “It is probably in those four-year cycles. You are in coaching because you want to coach and develop things so I am enjoying it and working with Renns.”