Glasgow face hooker crisis after George Turner cited

Glasgow could face a hooker crisis after George Turner was cited yesterday for the off-the-ball charge on Montpellier '¨No 8 Louis Picamoles which led to him being shown a yellow card during last Friday's European Champions Cup defeat at Scotstoun.

An independent disciplinary committee has been appointed for a hearing which will take place in London today, and if found guilty Turner will almost certainly be suspended for the return match against Montpellier at Altrad Stadium this Saturday.

With fellow hookers Fraser Brown and Pat MacArthur both struggling with injury, there is a very real possibility that James Malcolm could end up being the only hooker in the Warriors’ front-line squad available this weekend.

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With that in mind, Academy prospect Grant Stewart, who plays his club rugby with Glasgow Hawks, was registered yesterday as an addition to the club’s European squad. He takes the place of centre Sam Johnson, who is sidelined after simultaneously injuring his hamstring and breaking his jaw in the first few minutes of last week’s game.

Glasgow hooker George Turner is shown a yellow card for an off-the-ball charge on Montpellier's Louis Picamoles. Picture: SNS

“It’s a bit of an issue,” conceded Warriors assistant coach Jason O’Halloran. “We’ve got a few injuries around the hooking department, so I guess we’ll see what comes out of the judiciary and then see how guys scrub up over the next couple of days. We’ve got a day off tomorrow [Wednesday] so Thursday is going to be a crucial day in terms of ironing out what it looks like in the squad.”

Brown is recovering from a concussion and was symptom free ahead of last week’s match but not quite ready to play, and O’Halloran was not convinced that the player will be ready for his comeback this weekend either.

“There is a chance, yeah. We’ll have to wait and see how he progresses over the next couple of days,” said the New Zealander.

“Pat did his hamstring against Ospreys. It’s a strange one because he can run pretty well but it’s when he gets into a jackling position he feels very tight, so we’ll put him through a few contact tests and see how it develops from there,” the coach added. “They are both there or thereabouts – so I guess its which two of the four become available or are in best nick to play.”

Glasgow hooker George Turner is shown a yellow card for an off-the-ball charge on Montpellier's Louis Picamoles. Picture: SNS

Turner’s 27th-minute yellow-carding was the turning point in last week’s match. The hooker had just scored Glasgow’s second try to push his side into a 12-point lead when that rush of blood to the head occurred, and the whole tenor of the game changed almost instantly after the home team had been reduced to 14 men. Warriors head coach Dave Rennie described Turner’s actions as “dumb” afterwards, and both the player and his team could now be punished twice for a moment of 
madness.

“I don’t know what the ins and outs of it are. I thought that if it is dealt with on the field than that’s where it finishes. But this is the way it is, I guess. We’ve just got to go through the process and see what happens,” shrugged a clearly bemused O’Halloran.

“I don’t think George has got much of a history with citings so hopefully that will stand him in good stead.”

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Saturday’s match is, in reality, a dead-rubber for the Warriors. Having lost all three games played so far in a devilishly difficult European pool, they have no chance of progressing to the knockout stages, but O’Halloran insisted the players will have no problem getting themselves up for the match.

“They are sportsmen and they are professionals,” he pointed out. “They got beat by a team who they get to have another crack at within eight days, so it is not going to be hard at all to motivate them.

“There is quite a number of guys who will play this game who were left out of selection last week, and they’ll want to prove a point – so that should lead to a lot of motivated people, I would imagine.

“We need to win this game. We don’t want to be staring down the barrel of a clean-sweep of losses – that is 
not something we want to 
contemplate.”