OLI Kebble’s evening ended early last Friday after he had a clash of heads with Callum Gibbins, but he has a good chance of returning to action on Saturday when Glasgow play Cardiff Blues. Just ten minutes of the Warriors’ PRO14 game against Scarlets had elapsed when the tighthead prop suffered the injury, and his team arguably missed his experience as they went on to lose narrowly to the Welsh side.
The 25-21 reverse made it two losses from two starts for Glasgow, but it was at least a significant improvement on the previous week’s thrashing by the Cheetahs. They will be favourites to beat the Blues this weekend, but will be all the more confident going into the match should Kebble pass his head-injury-assessment protocols and be cleared to play.
“Oli has started the HIA protocol and at the moment is still on track to play at the weekend,” assistant coach Kenny Murray said today (Monday). “The good thing is we’re playing on Saturday, so the protocol fits in with the seven-fay timeframe. It was just unfortunate for him, that clash of heads with Callum.”
Adam Ashe could return after a shoulder injury and a head knock, although the back row is one of the areas where the Warriors still have reasonable strength in depth despite so many players being away at the World Cup. “Adam trained today so we’ll see how it goes. We’re anticipating he’ll train this week then we’ll decide. We’ve got a week’s break next week, so if he’s not feeling great it might be better for him to have another week’s rest.
“The back row is not too bad – we’ve got some good cover there,” Murray added. “But there are some positions where, when you lose two hookers, two nines, two tens, to Scotland, you don’t have a lot of depth underneath that. It’s a challenging part of the season.”
Cheetahs and Leinster are joint top of Conference A with maximum points, followed by Ulster on six. Murray expects those three teams to be contending with his own side for the play-off places, and knows that a win in the cross-conference clash with Cardiff could kickstart the Warriors’ season.
“This game against Cardiff is now a big game. If we can get a win and get ourselves on five or six points, then we’re a couple of games behind the other teams. After that we’ve got the Kings and Zebre to play, so we’ve got to challenge ourselves to be winning the next three games.
“There’s no hiding from it. You don’t want to be losing the first three games on the trot, because then you’ll be chasing the other teams for pretty much the first half of the season. But it’s a long season and a lot can happen in that time.
“It’s going to be a tough pool for us this year with Leinster, the Cheetahs, Ulster and ourselves. We’ve got to start winning – then keep winning.”