JACK DEMPSEY is facing six to eight weeks on the sidelines with a head injury sustained during Glasgow Warriors’ win over Ulster last weekend, meaning he is set to miss the opening two rounds of the club’s European Champions Cup campaign (against Northampton Saints at Scotstoun on 8th December and Aviron Bayonnaise away on 15th December) as well as the 1872 Cup double header against Edinburgh over Christmas and New Year, at least.
The No 8 is hopeful of coming back into the selection for rounds three and four of the Champions Cup pool stage in mid-January, ahead of the start if Scotland’s Six Nations campaign against Wales away on 3rd February.
“Jack broke a bit of a bone above his eye which will require surgery and keep him out for a little bit,” said Warriors head coach Franco Smith, during this [Thursday] afternoon’s team announcement press call ahead of tomorrow night’s URC round seven clash way to Munster.
“It will be six to eight weeks,” he added. “It’s a reintroduction to contact injury so it will be a little bit about how the confidence of the player grows in contact. Therefore giving a specific timescale is not ideal at the moment, but we’re looking at around six to eight weeks.”
Smith added that Dempsey’s absence from the team was the only enforced change from the eight personnel changes in total he has made to his starting team this weekend
“With the rest of the guys, this is the first of five very important games and we need to make sure everyone stays fresh and enthusiastic to keep lifting our performance,” he explained. “The guys coming in add value and the guys who are not involved get an opportunity to reset for another four very important games.
“We must learn to play with the same intent away from home,” Smith added. “We have won a lot away from home and we showed good intent last year with some good examples like the semi-final of the Challenge Cup against Scarlets and against Munster in the URC.
“Those are points of reference for us going forward. [This week] we’re playing against the current champions away from home. They are not where they want to be in the URC table [currently eighth while Glasgow are first] so they’re going to be up for it, as you can see from the type of team they have picked.
“For us, to make steps forwards for the team, squad and our aspiration to be the best we can, this is going to be really important.”
Glasgow beat Munster 26-38 at Thomond Park in round 16 of last season’s URC campaign, but then lost at home to the men from the south of Ireland at home in the play-offs.
“We are hugely motivated by the opportunity to play them there again,” said Smith. “I won’t say we are less intimidated, but there is a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel in comparison to previous years when they’ve gone there.
“It’s going to be important to not think about what Munster will bring. It’s about what we need to do to become even better.
“We know we’re a team that has won some games, but we haven’t won anything yet so our approach is around experiencing, learning and getting better in our processes so that this game can become a reference point going forward.”
Smith also suggested that he is now less convince about the need to bring in an extra scrum-half as cover for George Horne [currently out with a hamstring tweak], Sean Kennedy and Ben Afshar, following the long-term ankle injury suffered by Jamie Dobie,
“Both Ben and Sean are doing a great job,” he said. “George is also looking really good and is already running again in training
“If we bring a new scrum-half in, we must contract him for a certain period of time, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to play in the EPCR games.
“With the EPCR games coming over the next six weeks or so, it wouldn’t make sense to have somebody new in and not be able to play them in those games. It wouldn’t be worth it.
“We have people identified and we’re in conversations with the right people, but there’s also a big expense involved.
“If a crisis happens, then obviously we have a plan. But with George coming back soon, along with Sean and Ben, it’ll be about managing them.
“Towards the back end of the next six weeks, we’ll also see Jamie Dobie back again. Maybe it works out that we don’t have to get someone new in.”
Enjoyed this article? Quality journalism like ours is made possible by readers like you. If you value our in-depth coverage of Scottish rugby at all levels and want to see more, please consider supporting us with a subscription or donation. It helps us keep delivering the news you love. Thank you for being a part of The Offside Line community!