In recent weeks, GLASGOW has not exactly struggled, but at least some of the gloom surrounding the club has been dissipated with the news that Richie Gray will be able to play against Edinburgh today. The lock, which has been out of action since October’s concussion against the Ospreys, takes its place in a Warriors team that looks very good amid continuing injury and disease issues.
After more than two months on the sidelines, Danny Wilson may not expect Gray to single-handedly direct the fortunes of the squad, but he is still pleased to have such an experienced figure back in the ranks for the BT Murrayfield PRO14 game. It’s wonderful,”It’s great to have him back,”to have him back. He is in a good state of mind, and he looks forward to returning to the field, and we look forward to having him out there.
“He really didn’t play a lot of rugby for us. In terms of experience, his leadership skills, his job in the line-out, we all know what he brings. In Scottish rugby, he’s a talisman and it’s nice to get him out there. He’s a crowd favorite as well.
“At the same time, we need to give him the opportunity to get back into rugby after his long layoff. That being said, he’s in good shape and ready to play.”
While Gray is back, key players such as Adam Hastings, Leone Nakarawa, Tommy Seymour and Kyle Steyn remain on the disabled list, now joined by Pete Horne, a 42-0 defeat to Exeter, who sustained a concussion in the last match. Three of the four players who tested positive for Covid during that game are now unavailable, as are three other players who, having come into close contact with a positive event, had to isolate themselves.
Due to medical confidentiality, the Warriors have refused to disclose the names of the Covid cases and have only released a list of players who are unavailable for one cause or another. Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Rob Harley, Adam Hastings, George Horne, Pete Horne, Oli Kebble, Rufus McLean, Niko Matawalu, Leone Nakarawa, Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn, Sean Kennedy, Kiran McDonald.
It was revealed on Hogmanay that co-Captain Fraser Brown is expected to be out with a neck injury for the first three months of the year, while scrum-half George Horne will be out with a foot injury for almost as long, and after undergoing Achilles tendon surgery, Alex Allan will not play again this season.
Hastings and Pete Horne’s absence means Ross Thompson is on the bench and will make his debut behind Brandon Thomson as a backup. Aki Seiuli will start at loosehead with Kebble unavailable, while George Thornton will play his second match off the bench.
Wilson has made six changes from the side that started in the loss to Exeter, including Thompson and Seiuli. The back three is affected by two of the shifts, with Huw Jones starting at full-back, while Ratu Tagive steps in as an indirect substitute for Seymour on the left wing and Lee Jones transfers to position number 14. Gray takes Harley’s place in the front, and Tom Gordon comes to McDonald’s place in the back row.
“We’re happy with the guys we’re fielding – they’re good players,”We’re happy with the guys we’re fielding – they’re good players.
“But when the national players are available, you want to play them, and there are some we can’t use.”
The coach emphasized that his team needed to go into the game as underdogs for that and other reasons. “They’re at home, aren’t they? They’ve put together a very strong team, almost full except for the absence of Gilko [Grant Gilchrist], playing at home and just coming off a big win,” he said.
Since we’re going into it as an underdog and we have a chance to swing the game in our favor, it’s going to be an interesting game. Right now, we have 14 guys who are not open to us.
But I think it’s still pleasing to me that we’re able to put together a really strong team, especially in certain positions.
H Jones; L Jones, N Grigg, S Johnson, R Tagive; B Thomson, A Price; A Seiuli, G Turner, Z Fagerson, R Gray, S Cummings, R Wilson (captain), T Gordon, M Fagerson. Glasgow Warriors (against Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield, 3 p.m. today): The Substitutes
J Matthews, G Thornton, E Pieretto, L Bean, T Ioane, J Dobie, E Pieretto,
G Bryce, R Thompson.