SCOTT CUMMINGS will make his comeback after more than three and a half months out of action with a foot injury for Glasgow Warriors in tomorrow [Friday] night’s URC clash against Ulster at Scotstoun. The second-row – who trained with Scotland last week – will line up alongside Lewis Bean in the home engine-room, while Jack Dempsey comes straight back from national duty at No 8, with front-row triumvirate Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown and Simon Berghan will look to make an impact from the bench.
“He [Cummings] could have been ready a little bit earlier, but I wanted to make sure he got some proper contact training,” explained head coach Franco Smith. “It’s important to get the guys back when they are ready to perform properly, not just back to play.
“It is the same for guys like Rory Darge and Oli Kebble, who will come back in the next couple of weeks,” the South African added. “It’s important that they are properly prepared and confident because it’s tough when you are coming back from longer-term injury.”
Alex Samuel signs contract extension with Glasgow Warriors
Obituary: Bill Relph: a hooker who helped Scotland end their 17-match losing streak
Scottish Rugby launches community consultation process on tackle height
In the backline, full-back Ollie Smith and centre Stafford McDowall (named as captain) start after being released for this game by Scotland. while scrum-half Ali Price is on the bench.
Jamie Dobie starts at No 9 for Warriors and will hope to push his international credentials, especially as Ulster have named John Cooney – who has been tipped for a Scotland call-up later in this Six Nations window through cynical exploitation of World Rugby’s eligibility laws – as their scrum-half cover on the bench. The fact that there is even a conversation taking place about the possibility of Scotland selecting a 32-year-old who can no longer get a look-in with Ireland ahead of an up-and-coming homegrown 21-year-old of undoubted ability and growth potential is, frankly, outrageous.
“Jamie is a huge talent and is still young, so he’s definitely got a bright future ahead of him,” said Smith, when asked about the youngster’s selection ahead of the more experienced Price. “It’s fantastic for him to have a guy like Ali Price there to learn from, and for us to have Ali to come on and make an impact this week
“Jamie is definitely the future of Scottish rugby, I reckon, and we want him to grow in confidence and to really impose himself on the game. The more time he spends on the pitch for us, the better he will become.
“Ali started against the Dragons [in Glasgow’s last game], but we worked well in training last week and I want to have a little bit of continuity with the fact that we will not have George or Ali available for next week,” Smith continued.
“Apart from the fact that Jamie played really well against the Dragons during the second half of the game, it is also between him and Sean Kennedy at scrum-half when we get to South Africa, so we felt they needed some more rugby – they hadn’t played enough – and this is an opportunity to give Jamie that opportunity to express himself in the first part of the game.
“I always had a plan in terms of how we’d manage the players during this period, and we’ve not had many injuries in that regard, so it’s worked out well.
“The players have returned from their time off refreshed and refocused, as we prepare to start the next block of fixtures,” added Smith.
“We know how important this next block of fixtures will be for our season, but we are only focused on making sure we present the best version of ourselves on the pitch tomorrow night.
“We are proud of our home record and we know we will need to be at our best to defend that record against a strong Ulster side.”
Ulster have also named Scotland loose-head prop Rory Sutherland, who is yet to feature in the match-day 23 during the current Six Nations, on their bench.
Glasgow Warriors (v Ulster at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday @ 7.35pm): O Smith; S Cancelliere, S McDowall©, S Johnson, C Forbes; T Jordan, J Dobie; N McBeth, J Matthews, L Sordoni, L Bean, S Cummings, T Gordon, S Vailanu, J Dempsey. Substitutes: F Brown, J Bhatti, S Berghan, J Du Preez, A Samuel, E Ferrie, A Price, D Weir.
Ulster: E McIlroy; B Moxham, J Hume, S Moore, J Stockdale; B Burns, N Doak; E O’Sullivan, T Stewart, J Toomaga-Allen, A O’Connor©, K Treadwell, H Sheridan, J Murphy, N Timoney. Substitutes: J Andrew, R Sutherland, A Warwick, C Izuchukwu, G Jones, J Cooney, L Marshall, C Gilroy.
Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)
Scottish Rugby launches community consultation process on tackle height
Delighted Dobie is starting. I also think he needs to move to Edinburgh to get more game time as he would be first choice 9 at Edinburgh.
He might also be first choice for Scotland before too long with the wind blowing in the right direction. Glasgow have three nines of international standard and that means not enough rugby to go round. I doubt they would want to lose any of them, but as the SRU pays the bills I do wonder whether words are being had. Even so, I imagine Dobie is the one that the club would least like to part with. He is an asset with an even bigger future than the other two and deserves the chance to give Toony a nudge. There is no future in selecting Cooney, end of. On a more positive note, this is a strong side even given international absences and I’m delighted to see the return of Scott Cummings in particular.
Perhaps one of them will be moved. It is too often the SRU way to weaken a better team to prop up a weaker one. This papers over the cracks. When did Edinburgh last develop a half back to international standard?
Make them more accountable (them being both teams) that is the way to long term better outcomes
This article really could have been about anything.
Considering nothing has actually happened yet it’s a shame we couldn’t read more on the Glasgow game and less on the rumours.
I’m pretty sure match previews discussing team selection, and interviewing the coach, are an uncontroversial feature of sports journalism. Not sure why you’d complain about that.
I really enjoyed reading Franco’s comments about Dobie, Kennedy, Price, Darge, Cummings. It’s really interesting to see how he manages the squad, particularly in comparison to Danny Wilson. It’s not easy for us to develop players given we only have two professional sides so how the Glasgow does that is newsworthy.
Fingers crossed Glasgow have another strong performance tonight. Ulster will be well-motivated opponents. It would be great if the Warriors kept their momentum for the final section of the season.
Completely concur with your view about ranking Cooney ahead of Dobie.
here we go again
Hijacking an article about a Glasgow league game to have a go at something that hasn’t happened. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised
You and Mr Barnes are entitled to your opinions about WR regulations, but if we want to discuss them lets have an article to do that. And lets not call it cynical – when it hasn’t happened and anyway would be legit – play to the rules, play to the whistle. I don’t myself like this WR reg, but it is what it is
Well said septic, a Glasgow team announcement has nothing to do with Cooney being selected or not for Scotland.
Keep it relevant next time Barnes and stop trying to be a controversial Journalist. Keep it Neutral.
I don’t believe it is compulsory to visit this site.
Great team, given its the middle of the 6 nations, for what will no doubt be a result that will go a long way to deciding who finishes in the top 4 places in the URC