GLASGOW WARRIORS have added Grant Stewart to their European squad as emergency hooker cover ahead of their European Champions Cup clash against Montpellier this Saturday.
The Glasgow Hawks player has been called up after George Turner was cited for his off-the-ball collision with Louis Picamoles at Scotstoun last Friday night, in the first leg of the team’s double-header against the French side. A disciplinary hearing in London later today [Wednesday] will consider his case, and if he is found guilty then it is highly likely that he will miss this coming weekend’s action through suspension.
Fraser Brown is struggling with a concussion and Pat MacArthur is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Both are hopeful of being fit for the trip to the Altrad Stadium, but if they don’t make it, and Turner is suspended, then James Malcolm will start in the number two jersey, with Stewart providing back-up from the bench.
“It’s a bit of an issue. We’ve got a few injuries around the hooking department. I guess we’ll see what comes out of the judiciary and then see how guys scrub up over the next couple of days. We’ve got a day off tomorrow [Wednesday] so Thursday is going to be a crucial day in terms of ironing out what the squad looks like,” said Warriors assistant coach Jason O’Halloran.
“There is a chance [with Fraser]. We’ll have to wait and see how he progresses over the next couple of days,” he added.
“Pat did his hamstring against the Ospreys. It’s a strange one because he can run pretty well but it’s when he gets into a jackaling position he feels very tight, so we’ll put him through a few contact tests and see how it develops from there.”
“They are all there or thereabouts – so I guess its which two of the four become available or are in best nick to play?”
Turner was yellow-carded after barging into Picamoles in the 27th minute of Friday’s game, just a few moments after he had scored his team’s second try of the evening, which had stretched the Warriors into a 12-point lead. Both head coaches agreed afterwards that his departure from the field for ten minutes had been the turning point in the game, with the Warriors ultimately suffering a 22-29 loss, which effectively spelled the end of any lingering hope they had of making it into the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup this year.
Now it looks like Turner could be punished twice for his moment of madness.
“I don’t know what the ins and outs of it are. I thought if it was dealt with on the field then that’s where it finishes. We’ve just got to go through the process and see what happens,” said O’Halloran.
“I don’t think George has got much of a history with citings so hopefully that will stand him in good stead,” he added.
Stewart was the obvious choice to be called up once the Warriors realised that they might be left exposed at hooker. He is a stage three BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy member, which means he trains regularly with the Warriors squad, and he featured in their pre-season friendly match against Northampton Saints. The 22-year-old has been a key man for Hawks during the last two seasons, after moving to the club from Dalziel five years ago.