Injury concerns ease as Glasgow Warriors head to South Africa

Assistant coach Pete Murchie says side are targeting two wins from matches against Bulls and Lions

Pete Murchie remains bullish about Glasgow's title prospects Image: © Craig Watson -
Pete Murchie remains bullish about Glasgow's title prospects Image: © Craig Watson -

A GROUP of 31 Glasgow Warriors players will fly out to South Africa today for a mini-tour which will take in matches against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this coming Saturday and the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg seven days later. This expedition will have a crucial bearing on the URC’s end-of-season play-off seedings.

Warriors are currently four points clear of Leinster at the top of the table, with their one remaining match after returning from South Africa at home against Zebre on 31st May. The goal is to finish at the summit of the URC to book a home advantage for however far the team get in the play-offs.

The good news for the Scottish side is that the front-row injury concerns of recent weeks are beginning to ease, and assistant coach Pete Murchie says the target is two wins during the next fortnight.

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Angus Fraser [concussion] is back and Johnny Matthews [ankle] is looking good, much better than we thought or it could have been as it was quite a nasty twist,” said Murchie. “He’s close. Whether it’s right for this week or not, he is going to South Africa.”

Jamie Bhatti [foot] is available now, he’s been training now for a while, and Oli Kebble [also ankle] is much better than we probably thought on the night or a few days after the event. We’ve got lots of guys who are in and around it, even if it’s not going to be next week. Even the long-term guys. There are a few who will have a chance in  the next couple of weeks.

“Ultimately, if you want to finish high up in the league you need to pick up results in South Africa,” Murchie added. “Munster have done it, back to back with exactly the games as we’ve got. We’re going out there to give everything we’ve got. We’re certainly not going to use excuses of things like altitude which we know is there and will always be there. It’s pointless.

“It’s an opportunity, two weeks for us to spend a load of time together and do some things you wouldn’t get to do if you were at home. We’re staying in a lovely area and there are things to do on off-days. It’s not a tourist trip by any stretch of the imagination but there are bits and pieces you can go out and see should you choose to do so.

“It’s about setting out options without having forced fun. There’s a balance to be had. That’s maybe the difference between now and my day when you maybe had a bit more of the forced fun. Now there are options and the guys can choose to do what they want. There’s not a lot of the season left so to have the chance to spend two weeks together, we need to use that in our favour.”

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About David Barnes 3995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.


  1. Would be good to see the list of the 31 travelling players in the article if possible, to see who’s going out there. Great if we could get the likes of Vialanu, Du Preez and Huw Jones back and fresh for these last few games and heading into knock-out stages. Hoping for a confident display against the Bulls – if we’re seriously title contenders then we need to show up and play like it in tough venues like Loftus Versfeld…

    • Vailanu and Du Preez are a must if we are to compete at the top table but there is no indication either are close to playing again this season. Vailanu will be back at some stage but the length of time for
      the Du Preez injury is concerning and I hope we see the big man back again in a
      Glasgow Jersey.

  2. The Bulls have put a few teams to the sword big time in Pretoria so will be a real test for Glasgow. I think running them close will be a good outcome and will need the forwards to really front up. Munster just beat the the Bulls and Lions so shows it can be done.

  3. Ross Thompson has to start both games, need to keep these big laddies guessing and Thompson’s kicking game can be a real weapon.
    No reason to suggest Glasgow aren’t in with a chance in both games, although Bulls are formidable

  4. Important two weeks of the season. We’ll get a true measure of where Glasgow currently are on this mini tour. I suspect we’re still at risk to big, physical sides – though I do think we have closed that gap a bit from last year.


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