Glasgow Warriors assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys says he and his colleagues are pretty relaxed about losing players to the Scotland set-up this week, ahead of the start of the national team’s four-match autumn series a week on Saturday.
The Scotstoun men return to Pro14 action after their recent European heroics when they face Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday and are expected to be missing a sizeable number of their heroes from last weekend’s victory in Cardiff. Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, co-captain Ryan Wilson, Ali Price, George Horne, Adam Hastings, Pete Horne, Huw Jones, Lee Jones and Tommy Seymour are among the players likely to be wrapped in cotton wool.
The fact Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend does not have access to any of his overseas-based players for the first of this autumn’s matches against Wales because it falls outside the international release window means he cannot afford to take any risks – especially in the back three, where he has only four home-based players in his squad at the moment, and at stand-off where Hastings looks a stick-on to start with centre Pete Horne providing cover.
Humphreys hinted that some of the players named above might have been rested anyway, regardless of international considerations.
“They are pretty battered after the last few weeks,” he said. “We are hopefully going to get a few released back to us but there are obviously a few who have been through the wars. We have a good squad, so we have some good people to come in.
“It is always a really good working relationship [between the Scotland set-up and Glasgow], so we have a fair idea who will be coming back and who is not. At the start of the season you know this is going to be coming so there is a plan in place for it. We are not strangers to this – we just have to get on with it.”
Munster are currently fourth in Conference A of the Pro14 having managed just three wins from six outings, but their recent European form – drawing away to Exeter Chiefs and beating Gloucester comfortably at home – demonstrates they remain a force to be reckoned with.
“Every week, it is important we get the result,” said Humphreys. “We have a group of boys who are going to play for the first time in a while and are really excited about getting out there.”