Josh McKay: Glasgow Warriors sweat on fitness of full-back ahead of return to United Rugby Championship

Glasgow Warriors return to the United Rugby Championship this weekend with an away game against Connacht but they look set to be without Josh McKay.

Glasgow Warriors' Josh McKay is a doubt for the game against Connacht on Saturday.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Glasgow Warriors' Josh McKay is a doubt for the game against Connacht on Saturday. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The full-back injured his ankle in the Champions Cup defeat by La Rochelle at Scotstoun on Saturday night and is rated doubtful for the game in Galway.

McKay was wearing a moon boot as he sat out training on Monday but head coach Danny Wilson will give the on-form New Zealander every opportunity to prove his fitness.

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“He’s a doubt if I’m honest,” said Wilson. “We’ll have to wait and see. He’s in the boot to give him the best chance to recover. And then we’ll go from there. It’s a minor ankle scenario so I don’t know how that is going to pan out.”

Josh McKay has impressed since joining Glasgow in November and scored a fine try against La Rochelle at the weekend. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

McKay has rapidly become a key player for Glasgow since arriving from Canterbury in November and proved his worth again on Saturday with a fine try against La Rochelle.

Ultimately it wasn’t enough as Warriors let slip an early second-half lead to lose 38-30. Montpellier’s win over Exeter Chiefs the following day saw Glasgow fall to ninth place in the final standings in Pool A, meaning they now drop into the last 16 of the second-tier Challenge Cup.

The loss to the French side followed on from a heavy away defeat against Exeter the week before but Wilson still believes his side can compete at the elite level in Europe, pointing to the home win over the Devon side before Christmas and an impressive away performance against La Rochelle in their campaign opener.

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“Against La Rochelle we were really competitive and got a losing bonus point,” said the coach. “And to then beat Exeter 22-7 here is a very good result and proves that we can go against those top sides.

“Ultimately playing them four times to get the results we need – we haven’t achieved that. The weekend’s scoreline probably flatters us a bit as I felt they were pretty dominant. The big one is the Exeter away. That took the wind out of us, losing very heavily in that last 30 minutes.

“I don’t see it as being out of touch, otherwise we wouldn’t have beaten Exeter or gone to La Rochelle and got as close as we did. We’re in these games but we need to take the next step which is to be competitive more regularly.

“I mean, they’re two of the best sides in Europe, one who won it in 2020 and the other who made the final last season. We didn’t have a draw that was particularly friendly. But I think there’s a lot for us to improve on if we’re to beat those sorts of sides consistently.”

Glasgow now face an away tie in April in the Challenge Cup last 16 but will not find out the identity of their opponents until the week before when the final group stage fixtures are played.

Of more immediate concern for Wilson is maintaining the club’s good form in the URC which has seen them move up to a share of third place. The club’s 11-strong Scotland contingent are training with the national side this week and the coach is waiting to hear how many will be released back to play in the Connacht game.

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