Sam Johnson one of ten Scotland internationals in Glasgow Warriors team to play Munster

Sam Johnson isn’t required by Scotland in Cardiff this weekend so returns to Glasgow Warriors for their game against Munster on Friday night.

Sam Johnson was keen to play for Glasgow after being released by Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Sam Johnson was keen to play for Glasgow after being released by Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Johnson, Rufus McLean and Scott Cummings have been released from the national squad to play in the United Rugby Championship fixture at Scotstoun.

The trio are among 10 full Scotland internationals in Glasgow’s starting XV, joining George Horne, Duncan Weir, Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown, Simon Berghan, Richie Gray and Ryan Wilson.

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Notable absentees are Josh McKay, who has an ankle injury, and Ross Thompson, who is unavailable. Also missing is head coach Danny Wilson who has tested positive for Covid-19 which means Nigel Carolan will take charge against Munster.

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The attack coach acknowledged that Johnson’s demotion from the Scotland squad meant his return to Glasgow had to be handled sensitively.

“We only got wind a couple of days ago that Sam could be available to us, so it was about seeing what head space he was in,” said Carolan. “The feedback to Sam is that he’s done nothing wrong - it’s all about rotation. Sam jumped at the opportunity to play a home game against Munster this week for us.”

Glasgow enjoyed an impressive 42-20 win over Connacht in Galway last week and the performance helped shape selection for the Munster match.

“There were a few new faces in Connacht last week, but what we also found was that certain guys who were given chances - like Duncan Weir, Tom Gordon, Ally Miller - they delivered,” said Carolan.

“So it’s about trying to reward those guys again and continuing to build a depth in the squad, but we’re quite pleased that there’s a couple of guys back from Scotland camp as well - it’s our place to try and reintegrate them into our team.”

Carolan said Wilson had been letting him get on with preparing the team but the head coach may be in contact during the match.

“He’s got his own lines of communication both at set piece and into us should he need to,” said Carolan. “At the moment he’s just trusting us to facilitate in his absence and to call the shots as we see how things are panning out. If he wants to get in contact, we’re available to him.”

Glasgow Warriors v Munster (URC, Friday, 8.15pm, Scotstoun. TV: live on Premier Sports 1)

Glasgow: Ollie Smith; Sebastian Cancelliere, Robbie Fergusson, Sam Johnson, Rufus McLean; Duncan Weir, George Horne; Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown (cc), Simon Berghan, Scott Cummings, Richie Gray, Ryan Wilson (cc), Thomas Gordon, Jack Dempsey.

Subs: Johnny Matthews, Nathan McBeth, Enrique Pieretto, Kiran McDonald, Ally Miller, Jamie Dobie, Domingo Miotti, Stafford McDowall.

Munster: Mike Haley; Shane Daly, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Simon Zebo; Ben Healy, Neil Cronin; Jeremy Loughman, Diarmuid Barron, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O'Donoghue (c), Chris Cloete, Gavin Coombes.

Subs: Kevin O'Byrne, Josh Wycherley, John Ryan, Cian Hurley, Alex Kendellen, Paddy Patterson, Jack Crowley, John Hodnett.

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