Finn Russell could be the first of Glasgow’s missing stars to make his return in the Guinness PRO14 home opener against Ospreys as the Warriors seek to back up last week’s win at Connacht.
The Scotland stand-off has not been seen in pre-season and did not feature in the 20-12 win in Galway after an eventful summer that saw him lead his country to test wins over Italy and Australia and then join up with the Lions as one of the “Geography Six”.
However with understudy Adam Hastings out for a few weeks with a nasty knee laceration suffered in the Connacht win, Russell is likely to play some part against the Ospreys, the former team of assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys.
“Finn is available, Tommy Seymour is a couple of weeks away, but you will see changes over the next three or four games, it’s important we do that, because you can’t win this competition with a small group, you need 40-odd guys,” said the former Scotland forwards coach, who moved with Jason O’Halloran across from Murrayfield while Gregor Townsend and Dan McPartland went the other way.
“There is a lot of competition in certain places. It is about giving people opportunities because before we know it a large part of this group is away to play for Scotland. It is a big thing that this squad is a lot more competitive when everybody is away.”
The character shown in the storm at the Sportsground last week is exactly what new head coach Dave Rennie, Humphreys and the coaching team were looking for, he added.
“The most pleasing thing was that character of the group in unbelievably tough conditions and how they fought hard for each other to get the win.
“There are certain paths of my game we have to improve on but as a whole it is very important for all of us we got off to a good start.
“The conditions allowed us to be narrow in our defence and have lots of line-speed, and we’ve aimed to be a bit more brutal there than we have in the past. The lineouts went well with three steals but we won’t get where we want to be for two to three games yet.”
Ospreys were one of three sides that won at Scotstoun for the first time last season, and the five home losses – three occurring during the international windows – are something the squad and new coaching team want to correct.
“Everybody was disappointed with the home form last year because it has been traditionally very good,” he said. “We would be keen to make sure this place is a tough place to come.
“Looking at Ospreys a large part of last year they were a strong attacking team and they can put a lot of points on you if you are not on the money. I am still good friends with two of the coaches Steve Tandy and Gruff Rhys, we talk a lot but maybe not this week.
“It’s good to see James Hook back there, we all know what a talented player he is. We have been talking a lot this week about making sure defensive wise we are spot on.”