Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie says the club is conducting a worldwide search to find emergency cover at tighthead prop following the news that Zander Fagerson is out for up to six months after breaking his ankle against Cheetahs.
The Kiwi admitted that the loss of 28-times capped 22-year-old, allied to the fact Tongan tighthead Siua Halanukonuka is out for another six weeks with a foot injury, has left the Warriors “a little thin” in the crucial No 3 berth ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup which begins next month.
Rennie was speaking in Dublin yesterday where the Guinness Pro14 sides involved in Europe’s premier club competition gathered to launch the 2018-19 staging, which starts for Glasgow at home to Saracens on Sunday 14 October.
“We think he’ll be out for five to six month,” Rennie said of Fagerson. “We are hoping maybe five or four and a half. It was a clean break and the operation went well but we are not going to push him. It’s a big season with a World Cup following.”
It means Fagerson, who was already out of the autumn Tests and the start of Glasgow’s Pool 3 campaign, is likely to miss most if not all of the Six Nations again, following his disappointment earlier this year when a freak gym injury as he dropped a weights bench on his foot limited him to just one bench appearance in Rome at the end of the campaign.
“Zander has been superb,” said Rennie. “The scrum has gone well but the quality of his carrying and cleaning and tackling has been great. There is a bit of mongrel about him and we’ll miss that.”
With Halanukonuka also sidelined, Rennie is left with youngsters D’arcy Rae and Adam Nicol as his tighthead options, and admitted that cover was being sought to bolster the squad ahead of Europe.
“Siua has a foot injury. D’arcy started last week and we have young Adam Nicol but we are a little thin and at a stage where we might have to look at bringing someone in,” continued the coach.
“We are a little way down the road [searching for a loan signing] but nowhere near putting pen to paper.”
Rennie was joined by co-captain Callum Gibbins at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, and both spoke of their determination to improve on last season’s disappointing European campaign, which saw them win just one out of five pool games.
This season will see them in a relatively kind section with English powerhouses Sarries, Pro14 rivals Cardiff Blues and French debutants Lyon.
Both accepted, however, that last weekend’s poor showing against the Kings in Port Elizabeth – Glasgow lost 38-28 – will have to be thoroughly expunged in the next two Pro14 home games against Dragons and Zebre before the visit of Saracens to Scotstoun.
Gibbins admitted that there had been some frank talking between the squad after that stinker at the end of their South Africa jaunt.
“We have sat down as a team and talked about where we went wrong and how we want to fix it,” said the co-skipper. “We were pretty embarrassed by that performance. We have looked at ourselves and how we approached the week.
“It’s always tough to look at yourself and what you’ve done wrong. But it’s vital and you have to do it if you want to get better.
“It was a tough Monday doing that review but then we trained really well after that. You look at what you have to get better at, put that to rest and hopefully come through and push on to the next game.
“You need to take a step back and look at what you’re doing and how you played and where you went wrong. If you can fix that you will be better.”