Champions Cup: Harlequins v Glasgow: George Turner faces lengthy lay-off

Sebastian Cancelliere knee injury is not expected to be long term

George Turner faces a lengthy spell on the sideline with a foot injury. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
George Turner faces a lengthy spell on the sideline with a foot injury. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GLASGOW WARRIORS will be without international hooker George Turner for a crucial stretch of the season because of a fractured foot he sustained whilst away on Six Nations duty with Scotland.

“George has got a fractured foot,” explained Warriors head coach when naming his team for tomorrow [Friday] evening’s Champions Cup round of 16 clash against Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop. “He’s not going to be back for a long time. He came back from the Six Nations injured.

“So he’s had a scan about 10 days ago and they found a little hair fracture there in his foot. He played the last game against Ireland with that foot already injured, so it’s going to take a while before we see him.”


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Pressed on an approximate return target, Smith said: “Six to eight weeks and can be even longer. It is all on how he reacts to treatment that shortens or lengthens the time, which is the same with Huw Jones.”

The coach was asked about why Turner played against Ireland if he was injured. “Sometimes players think it’s just a bruise and it develops into something more, especially those small hairline and stress fractures,” he replied. “It’s overuse. You cope and then when you have the scan it’s diagnosed and then obviously the picture changes.

“We obviously want him ready for the rest of the season as soon as possible. We’ve got Fraser Brown already not available in that role so it’s important to have him back fit as soon as possible.”

Johnny Matthews will wear the No 2 jersey this weekend with Gregor Hiddleston on the bench, while Angus Fraser is the other currently fit hooker in the squad.

On a more positive note, the knee injury which has ruled Argentinean winger Sebastian Cancelliere out of this weekend’s game is not long term. “Not serious, but obviously not well enough to play this week,” stated Smith. “It’s not a three-month or a six-week injury. It’s just some bone bruising: nothing that can’t heal in a couple of weeks.”

Meanwhile, Max Williamson‘s form in recent weeks sees the 21-year-old retain his spot in the second-row.

“We always said we were going to bring the young Scottish guys through,” said Smith. “He and Alex Samuel have both made the most of their opportunities. I think Max physically developed really well: his knowledge around the game and the way he applies himself in the game earned him the opportunity to start in this game.”

“He represents the working-class mentality that we have here: a hard worker, a grafter, somebody that does the dirty work and is not always seen carrying the ball, maybe, or running around and making passes. But he does his job properly.”

Williamson’s emergence has been aided by the unavailability of the vastly experienced Richie Gray due to an injury he picked up in the Six Nations, and Smith said he is not expecting the vastly experienced second-row back for next weekend’s Champions quarter-final if Warriors make it through Friday’s game.

“I don’t think so. If it’s about return to play, then maybe. But if it’s about return to form then I think we’re still a slight distance away,” explained the coach.

“He’s an older player now and I don’t want to risk injury towards the end of the season, and in that role specifically having JP du Preez already injured.

“Yes, we want him back as soon as we can but not to the detriment of his health. We want him in his best form going forward.”

 

 

Loose-head prop Nathan McBeth is another player who has gone from a fairly peripheral role to regular starter in recent weeks as a starter in the club’s last three matches having managed just five starts in his previous 33 appearances since moving north from the Lions of Johannesburg back in 2021.

“Nathan has needed to step up and over the last 20 months he has got better as we’ve gone along,” said Smith. “He’s now shown he’s one of the best scrummagers in Scotland and he’s shown that he’s a good carrier and a good team person.

“He absolutely merits the start in the front-row next to Zander Fagerson and Johnny Matthews who are already capped internationals. I think he’s grabbing the opportunity with both hands but it’s good to have some other quality and experience coming off the bench.”

Turning his attention to Friday’s opposition, Smith stressed that Harlequins’ fluctuating recent form has not complicated his team’s preparation.

“We all know their potential. That was the easy part of it. We all know how on-it they can be,” he said. “The easiest way to deal for this is to concentrate on ourselves. To be ready for anything they throw at us, but to not go there and play against quins but put the best version of ourselves for them to deal with.

“I know that they will produce their best performance – I have no doubt about that – and they will have learned lessons from the last two or three weeks. So, no unpredictability from them, we know what they are capable of and that is what we have prepared for.

“They’re a good team, very well drilled, with some very good players. They’ve got a big ball carrier in André Esterhuizen, Marcus Smith offers a lot of flair and Danny Care is a threat in unstructured play and creates opportunities out of nothing. They’ve also got Tyrone Green who carries the ball well at 15 and is a hard character who I know from South Africa when he played for the Lions. He’s a difficult player to get to the floor.

“They’ve got some big ball carriers in the pack and a quality front-row. They’re a very balanced all-round side and they’re going to be tough because they always play extraordinarily well at home.

“Yes, they gave some points away towards the end of the Bath game last weekend but the week before they lost by quite a big margin to Saracens and came back and scored 40 points in 45 minutes against Bath. They are a capable side with a strong maul and set-piece drive, so it’s a tough task ahead.

“I think we must travel there in the right frame of mind. We’ve got a lot of good structure in place and our processes are very well prepared, but it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it, and that’s the step up we need.

“We need to take the game towards them. They will obviously expect that, so for us it will be about how we be the best version of ourselves.”


Champions Cup: Harlequins v Glasgow: Sione Tuipulotu returns for Warriors

About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

2 Comments

  1. A shame for George Turner. Apart from one specific howler he was pretty dam solid both in the set piece and in the loose throughout the 6 nations. The Warriors will miss him more and more as we get to the pointy end of both the URC and the Champions Cup. As good a prospect Gregor Hiddleston is this surely means that marvellous Johnny will be playing the kings share of the minutes left this season.

  2. Important game this. I think Glasgow need to get used to big games with no second chances of they want to be ultimately successful. If they want to win the URC, then they need to be playing at their best in crunch games, and this will be a good experience on that journey.

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