Glasgow Warriors search for new scrum-half after Jamie Dobie surgery and Ali Price loan exit
Price was allowed to leave after an approach was made by the Scotland national team amid concerns that he wasn’t getting enough game-time at Glasgow where he was one of three international scrum-halves, alongside George Horne and Jamie Dobie. However, two days after the loan deal was announced Dobie suffered a serious ankle injury in Glasgow’s win over the Ospreys which required surgery. Franco Smith, the Warriors head coach, said he will be out for up to 14 weeks.
Smith intimated last week that he didn’t want Price to leave but understood the motives behind the move and that he would support it because it was in the best interests of Scotland. However, he has now been left with Horne and Sean Kennedy as his only two fit senior scrum-halves. Horne will almost certainly be away for all or part of the Six Nations, depleting further the options at nine. When it was put to him that the club were one scrum-half injury from disaster, Smith agreed. “That is true, and we realise that, so the process is ongoing,” said the coach. “With George and the Six Nations we are well aware of the problem. We are busy looking. I don't want to say too much but we will allow the young guys and Sean to get their opportunity so let’s see how things develop but obviously we are aware of the problem.”
Smith said that any new recruit would have to be of the requisite quality. “As I said to the decision makers here, we are not going to take anyone, we will take the right person.”
Dobie’s injury will keep him out for “12 to 14 weeks” according to the coach who played down the suggestion that Glasgow could recall Price from his loan spell at Edinburgh. “Apparently that is not going to be the case,” he said.
Smith’s problems at half-back were compounded with the news that Duncan Weir had been suspended for three matches for a high tackle against the Ospreys, although the sting was taken out with the likelihood that the only top-class match the stand-off will miss is Saturday’s game against Benetton. The stand-off will have the ban reduced to two games if he completes the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme, otherwise known as ‘tackle school’. The suspension also covers the Glasgow Warriors 'A' v Edinburgh 'A' fixture on November 24 which means Weir will be free for Glasgow’s home match with Ulster on November 25, provided he passes the tackling course.
Smith denied that Glasgow had been gaming the system by including the reserve team fixture. “The A game is important and is acknowledged by World Rugby so they took that into consideration,” he said. “It is World Rugby’s system. Any criticism should go to them, not to us. We showed them the games that we are going to play and they decided which games he should miss. It was referred to World Rugby, it wasn’t something we or URC were deciding. These are the games he can qualify for.”
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