Oli Kebble’s absence is big blow as Glasgow Warriors seek parity in the scrum
On the credit side, Leone Nakarawa is back and will be on the bench for the Warriors at Scotstoun on Saturday night. In the debit column, Wilson has been robbed of the services of Oli Kebble who was unlucky enough to suffer a head knock in non-contact training.
To keep the three-game series alive, Glasgow need to avoid defeat at Scotstoun in the second leg.
Kebble missed the Murrayfield game but was due to return last Friday for the second game only for it to be called off 15 minutes before kick off due to a frozen pitch.
Wilson said the training injury was “a freak accident” but it leaves him with big problems at loosehead. Joining Kebble on the sidelines are George Thornton and Alex Allan, with a back injury and a ruptured Achilles, respectively.
It means Aki Seiuli starts in the No 1 jersey for Glasgow, with the callow Tom Lambert in line to replace him late on.
Seiuli endured a torrid time against WP Nel in the first leg but the Edinburgh prop is on the bench for the second match, with Simon Berghan picked to start for the visitors.
It means Lambert could make his Glasgow debut against Nel, one of the wiliest scrummagers in world rugby.
“We have done a lot of work on our scrum in training,” said Wilson. “We are going up against one of the best scrummaging outfits out there and we didn’t function well in the last game. It has functioned well in other games against Edinburgh recently so it was important that we put a fair bit of work into it.
“Oli is an international loosehead and a very destructive scrummager. Not having him is a blow. But it opens the door and gives an opportunity to somebody else. Aki is an outstanding rugby player around the field and hopefully he will put in a better scrum performance.”
Wilson hopes that Nakarawa’s inclusion, albeit as a substitute, will add the spark Glasgow need to overcome durable opponents who are bidding to win the inter-city competition for the fourth year in a row.
The popular Fijian lock is a talismanic figure among the club’s support and has the skills befitting a former European player of the year. However, he is still feeling his way back after a knee injury and has not played since last February.
“I’m certainly hoping for a few touches of magic,” said Wilson. “But we can’t get too carried away. It’s been a long, long time since he’s played, and as we saw with all the other boys, if you’ve been out of rugby for a long time, it takes a little time to get back into it, get your second wind, get used to the contacts.
“Hopefully it does happen, that he takes part in this game and then stage by stage he’ll come back and hopefully he’ll be all the player that we’re hoping for. But I think we should be relatively patient, if I’m honest.”
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