Despite losing nine players to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad, Dave Rennie has still unearthed nine full internationals for the Glasgow starting XV to take on the Dragons in Newport tonight.
There are a few less well known names filling a few jerseys. Ratu Tagive makes his first Pro14 start on one wing, Brandon Thomson, who is a stand-off by trade, fills the No 12 shirt while Adam Hastings finally gets a chance to show what he can do in the run-on XV in his favoured stand-off position, outside of the livewire scrummy George Horne.
Much is expected of this young half-back pairing and how they cope with playing away from their Scotstoun sanctuary will be closely monitored – not that Rennie has any qualms. The Warriors coach said: “This is the pairing we used against Ospreys away earlier in the year, so it is not unfamiliar territory to them.
“Adam played about 75 minutes against Connacht away in round one. I think they are better players now than when they played against the Ospreys and they are relishing the chance to start.”
The Warriors pack has a robust look about it with Hawks hooker Grant Stewart keeping his place on the bench. Alex Allan and Siua Halanukonuka hold the scrum up, Rob Harley partners Greg Peterson in the second row while Chris Fusaro and Matt Fagerson start either side of Adam Ashe, three highly mobile breakaways.
Good news is also sitting on the Glasgow bench in the formidable form of Oli Kebble, the South African project player who is returning to action following a foot injury. While the Dragons will be more or less insulated from Test call-ups, Cory Hill one obvious exception, Glasgow must navigate four matches while depleted by the Six Nations.
“We’re happy with the team that is on the park,” said Rennie. “It is something we deal with all the time. There have been a lot of injuries and, when there are internationals on, you are going to miss a few. As a group, we’ve looked at this as a mini season. We’ve got about four games during the Six Nations so we’ve got clarity around performing well and the opportunities these guys have to put pressure on the international boys when they come back.”