Glasgow v Toulon: Kyle Steyn and Jack Dempsey in line for Warriors returns

International duo expected to be named in Six Nations squad on Tuesday afternoon

Glasgow Warriors club captain Kyle Steyn is in line to return from an ankle injury he suffered in October against Toulon on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson
Glasgow Warriors club captain Kyle Steyn is in line to return from an ankle injury he suffered in October against Toulon on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson

SCOTLAND should have Jack Dempsey and Kyle Steyn both available for the Six Nations after they were declared fit enough to return to action for Glasgow this week.

The pair have barely featured for Warriors since returning from the World Cup, with back-rower Dempsey requiring surgery to fix a fractured bone in his skull after just one match against Ulster in November.

Steyn’s absence goes further back with the Glasgow club captain sustaining a serious ankle injury in just the second game of the season against Connacht at the end of the October.


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The pair’s rehabilitation has been carefully managed by the Scotstoun medical staff but they have now reached a point where they are available for selection for the pivotal Champions Cup pool match at home to Toulon on Friday night.

Both players seem likely to be involved when head coach Gregor Townsend names his Six Nations squad tomorrow [Tuesday] and, assuming they come through their comebacks unscathed, could then be in line to face Wales in the opener on February 3.

Glasgow defence coach Pete Murchie said: “They’ve both got a chance of featuring [on Friday night]. Both are available. Other guys have stuck their hands up recently so there are good selection headaches now.

“We’re not in a position where we have to chuck someone in who’s just fit. They can get a couple of weeks of training behind them before they play. We’ll make those decisions but both are available.

“It’s obviously good timing for the two of them as they’ll both be looking to make an impact with Scotland in the Six Nations. That’s good for Scotland going forward.

“They’ve both had fairly long-term injuries so you can’t always put an absolute week on it. [But] it’s good timing for us to have two quality players available again to us and it’s good for them personally too.”

Dempsey, in particular, has had to be handled carefully back given the nature of his injury and the subsequent head surgery.

“You have to manage those ones given the type of injury it was,” confirmed Murchie. “But everything has obviously been taken step by step. Since his surgery he’s been able to do certain amounts but there’s been no risks taken. He’s been able to work progressively in recent weeks, getting through more work and he can really attack this week in training and get himself ready.”

Rory Darge is not going to feature this week after head coach Franco Smith provided a rather more cautious update on his knee injury last Friday than that offered by assistant coach Nigel Carolan three days earlier. “The prognosis currently is six to eight weeks and we’re two weeks gone already,” said Smith.

 

Murchie confirmed Friday’s meeting with Toulon had taken on a “winner-takes-all” edge after Glasgow’s contentious defeat to Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, when what would have been a winning Euan Ferrie try in the final play of the game was chalked off.

That decision was chewed over by the squad at Scotstoun this morning, with Murchie revealing that some of the players were still bitter about it. But the former full-back hoped they would use that frustration in a positive way by beating Toulon to reach the Champions Cup last 16.

“We’re all human beings so some people park it right away and others might not be able to. But you have to channel it in the right way.

“Whether it was the right or wrong decision – to be honest it doesn’t really matter. The only thing we can do is beat Toulon. So [any frustration] has to be channelled into what we CAN do, rather than ifs, buts and maybes.

“We don’t want the narrative to be ‘poor us’ as it won’t be poor us if we don’t put in a performance on Friday. It will just be that we haven’t qualified. The only thing we can do is put in a great performance and try to get the victory that takes us through.

“It’s a big week for us – it’s a winner-takes-all in some respects. We know what we need to do to qualify for the next round. Hopefully it’s a big occasion and we get a good crowd creating a buzz on a Friday night. We want to make it one of those special European nights.”


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About Graeme Macpherson 44 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.