Glasgow Warriors’ strong end to the season is likely to be reflected in Scotland squad

Glasgow’s fine end to the season is likely to be recognised today when Mike Blair announces the Scotland squad for the summer tour.

Rory Darge has impressed for Glasgow Warriors since making the move from Edinburgh in mid-season. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

The national side will play an A international against England at Leicester’s Welford Road on June 27 followed by two Test matches in eastern Europe, against Romania on July 10 and Georgia seven days later.

With Gregor Townsend assisting Warren Gatland on the Lions’ trip to South Africa, Blair has been appointed Scotland’s interim head coach and his squad is set to feature a smattering of young players and those who have been on the periphery.

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Danny Wilson, the Glasgow coach, expects a number of his squad to figure after an impressive late spurt which saw the Warriors win three of their final four Guinness Pro14 games to secure European qualification and then go on a run of three straight victories in the Rainbow Cup which included home and away wins over Edinburgh.

Stand-off Ross Thompson has seized his chance with Glasgow Warriors after being given his debut against Edinburgh at New Year. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

The form of some of Glasgow’s younger players has been particularly eye-catching and, in the absence of the eight senior Scotland men who have been called up by the Lions, Blair is expected to name a squad with a strong accent on youth.

Those who have put their hand up for selection include Rory Darge, the 21-year-old flanker who moved from Edinburgh to Glasgow last month. The 21-year-old openside only made his professional debut last November, for Edinburgh against Leinster, but has benefited from his move West.

A former Scotland under-20 captain, he was named man of the match on Saturday as the Warriors beat the Dragons in Cardiff.

Ross Thompson, the Glasgow stand-off, is another who has taken his chance after being given his debut off the bench and then his first start in the 1872 Cup double-header against Edinburgh at New Year.

Thompson has played with composure in the second half of the season as the Warriors dug out some important results without their large Scotland contingent.

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Some of Glasgow’s back three talent could also be knocking on the door, with the A international providing a possible stepping stone to Test rugby. Rufus McLean, Ollie Smith and Cole Forbes have all offered exciting glimpses of their talent.

For Wilson, international recognition is something of a double-edged sword. While delighted to see his players being called up, the Glasgow coach knows it will likely impact on his preparations for next season.

“I am eagerly awaiting to see how many players will be on the tour because there is a knock-on effect that when they return, they will need a break before they begin pre-season, and our pre-season friendlies will come around quicker than you think,” Wilson said.

“From a pre-season perspective, you’ve got the Lions tour, the Scotland tour and then our Argentinean boys are going to be away.

“I think our recent performances and some of our individual players’ form means that we will have a good cohort of Glasgow Warriors boys on those tours, which is great and we celebrate that because that’s what we are here for.

“We’re here to win games but also here to produce and develop Scotland players. I certainly understand my responsibility within the system to do that, and I’ll be really thrilled for any of our boys who get that opportunity.”

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