Glasgow v Connacht: Jonathan Humphreys hopeful of reinforcements

George Horne, Stafford McDowall, Matt Fagerson, Chris Fusaro and Bruce Flockart could all come back from injury

Jonathan Humphreys
Jonathan Humphreys says the Glasgow Warriors squad have prepared to be short-handed at this time of the year. Image: © Craig Watson -

GLASGOW WARRIORS will not be able to do much game-related training this week due to a lack of numbers. With 15 squad members currently listed as injured, and 16 players away training with the national team, it is a skeletal squad left at Scotstoun. However, forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys says that won’t be a limiting factor in the team’s ability to give a good account of themselves against Connacht on Friday night.

Humphreys says he is hopeful that a number of the missing men will come back into the frame towards the end of the week to bolster the team’s chances in a match they really need to win in order to keep the pressure on Munster in the battle for a top place finish in Conference A of the Guinness PRO14.

George Horne (shoulder) and Stafford McDowall (ankle) were released from the Scotland camp yesterday due to injury but both hope to be fit again by Friday. “We’ll just see how it goes. It will be a real last-minute call on the pair of them but there’s a chance,” said Humphreys.

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Similarly, back-rowers Matt Fagerson (shoulder), Chris Fusaro (neck) and Bruce Flockhart (ankle) could also make comebacks after a number of weeks out. “They are in the same position as George and Stafford, we’ll have to make really late calls on them,” added the coach

“We won’t be able to do a lot of training this week,” he continued. “We don’t have the numbers to run a lot of stuff. We’re going to see how they are and hopefully they’ll be ready to pitch up.”

There is also likely to be a handful of Scotland squad members, who don’t make the cut for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against France, released back to the club.

“We knew this would be the case. When you coach with either Edinburgh or Glasgow, this is what it is – and this is why you prepare your squad for these situations.

“Connacht have played really well this year, we’ve watched a bit off footage of them and they are a really tough team to put away, so it is going to be a really big challenge for us. But we’ve been delighted with how our squad has gone during these [international] periods when we’ve picked up some really good wins, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Rediscovering their mojo

It was by no means a flawless performance from Warriors when they picked up a bonus-point win on the road against Cardiff Blues on Saturday night, particularly in defence towards the end of the game when a couple of soft scores allowed the home team to claw the margin back to just four points and make it just a little bit too close for comfort. However, there was also signs in attack that the team is beginning to recover some of the rhythm which characterised the start of their season.

“We’ve worked hard on certain aspects of our game to get more continuity, and certainly the first half was excellent,” said Humphreys. “And we scored two good tries in the second half to put ourselves in a really comfortable position, but then things went a bit haywire. The frustrating thing is we defended really well for large periods, and it was a bit of concentration and individual errors which have been costly for us.

“At least we showed real composure to close that game out. So, while there were parts to it that we think weren’t so good, we went down there and got five points in a really important game for us. Now we need to back that up on Friday.

“I can’t see Munster losing too many games between now and the end of the season, so the pressure’s really on which is great for us. This time last year we were in a similar position to Leinster, miles ahead, whereas this year the competitive juices are flowing, every game really means something and we’re well aware that we need to win at the weekend.”

Training with Scotland this week:  Jamie Bhatti, Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, D’Arcy Rae, Jonny Gary, Tim Swinson, Rob Harley, Adam Ashe, Ali Price, Adam Hastings, Pete Horne, Sam Johnson, Nick Grigg and Tommy Seymour.

Currently injured: Oli Kebble (illness), Bruce Flockhart (ankle), Matt Fagerson (shoulder), Chris Fusaro (neck), Callum Gibbins (ankle/knee), Matt Smith (shoulder), Ryan Wilson (knee), George Horne (shoulder), Stafford McDowall (Ankle) Patrick Kelly (shoulder), Huw Jones (knee), Lee Jones (knee),  Niko Matawalu (head), DTH van der Merwe (shoulder) and Stuart Hogg (shoulder),

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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.