Centre Alex Dunbar and prop Sila Puafisi will both miss Glasgow’s Guinness PRO12 play-off campaign due to injury and suspension.
Dunbar, the 15-times capped Scotland centre, is also out of the summer tour to Japan with the national team due to the knee injury he suffered during Glasgow’s defeat to Connacht in their final match of the PRO12 regular season last week.
Tongan international tight-head Puafisi saw a straight red card in that game for leading with the head when he challenged Connacht scrum-half Keiron Marmion and a disciplinary hearing yesterday banned him from all rugby until June 12.
It means two key selection decisions for Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend heading into Saturday’s “return match”, the play-off semi-final against Connacht, again at the Galway Sportsground.
Puafisi’s absence will at least have been anticipated, as it was certain the PRO12 disciplinary procedure would have more in store for the 28-year-old who has been the Warriors’ first-choice tight-head this season, even after referee Ian Davies showed him the ultimate sanction during the game.
Glasgow had been tied at 7-7 in the crucial contest at Galway when Puafisi came through a ruck leading with the head against Marmion after the whistle had gone. They went on to lose 14-7 and now have to return to the Sportsground for Saturday night’s semi-final and win if they are to reach the final at BT Murrayfield on May 28.
The leading candidate to replace Puafisi will be young Dundee-born Zander Fagerson, just 20 but already with a Scotland cap and regarded as one of the country’s best prospects.
Dunbar lasted only 13 minutes of the first Connacht game and a scan his injured knee has revealed a bone injury that will not require surgery – he missed seven months in 2015, including last year’s play-off run the entire Rugby World Cup, after an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
However the necessary rest and recovery rules him out of the rest of the season, and while he had been named last week in the 27-strong squad to tour Japan in June, he has now been replaced in the party by Matt Scott.
Dunbar had made a hugely successful comeback from his previous lengthy injury absence during this season, regaining his Scotland place and being a standout performer for both the Warriors and Scotland in the spring.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We’re disappointed for Alex that his season has been cut short through injury.
“He had been playing very well and played a big role in getting us into the PRO12 play-offs.
“We wish him all the best with his rehab and we look forward to him returning to training ahead of the new season.”
It leaves Glasgow short of numbers in midfield for the play-offs with Dunbar’s Scotland colleague Richie Vernon already ruled out for the rest of the season. Glenn Bryce, who played for Scotland 7s in Paris at the weekend, could be poised for a return to challenge Peter Horne and Mark Bennett for the centre berths.
Scott, who departs Edinburgh for Gloucester in the summer, wins a quick recall to the Scotland squad after losing his starting spot to Duncan Taylor during the 6 Nations.