Walter Fifita to be unleashed on Ospreys as Glasgow Warriors search for X-factor
At 6ft 5in and 18 and a half stone he will take some stopping, and Glasgow Warriors hope Ospreys feel the full force of Walter Fifita on Saturday night.
The Tongan winger is in line to make his debut against the Welsh side after being named on the bench for the United Rugby Championship clash at Scotstoun.
Although he has yet to pull on a Glasgow jersey, Scottish rugby fans got an early sight of what he can do during the Autumn Nations Series when one bullocking run saw him shunt Darcy Graham aside at Murrayfield.
Danny Wilson has backed Fifita to do a bit of damage in the second half against Ospreys.
“He’s very exciting,” said the Glasgow coach. “We saw in the Scotland game when he played for Tonga what he’s capable of. He’s extremely powerful, a huge man.
“He’s had a niggly injury since he’s been with us so hasn’t played for quite a period of time. So he’s still getting used to Glasgow and our way of playing. But he’s a very exciting prospect, someone who could make an impact at the tail end of this game.”
Rufus McLean remains unavailable for Warriors and Cole Forbes and Kyle Steyn will start on the wings, with Fifita kept in reserve.
Recruited from North Harbour in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship, Fifita also spent time in the Spanish top flight where he scored 13 tries in 16 games to help El Salvador win the title. He is thought to be the heaviest back in the URC.
“Walter’s a power runner,” added Wilson. “What we’ve seen from him is the X-factor with the ball in hand. He’s very powerful whether in wide channels or coming infield as a carrier and yard-maker.
“Walter’s background has been good at the levels he’s played at but he maybe needs more exposure to us and the way that we play. We’ve got him on the bench and we’ll see how he goes. But he’s very exciting.”
Covid cases have meant Glasgow have not played since their highly impressive win over Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup on December 18. Although not completely clear of the virus, Wilson is delighted to return to action after seeing both legs of the 1872 Cup postponed and expects a tough test against Ospreys.
“They’re in a good place. Most of last season, they showed a bit of a turn in terms of their form and their results and they’ve continued that this season.
“They’re a good side and a strong side coming to us with Gareth Anscombe back at 10. I worked with him and have a huge amount of respect for him - he’s an outstanding player and talent. He’ll make them tick with his running game and kicking game. We’ll have to be aware of that.
“I’m looking forward to the number seven clash. There’s a very good young number seven in Jack Morgan against Rory Darge and that’s quite an exciting battle.
“The back-three battle will be an interesting one, then up front, Tom Francis, Nicky Smith and Adam Beard are full Welsh internationals and we’ve got some of ours out as well.
“I think it will be a really good clash up front and it makes for an exciting game.”
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