Dave Rennie finds it amusing that Edinburgh will be cheering for the Glasgow Warriors in Belfats tonight, but the focus of his team is entirely on doing themselves the maximum of good rather than helping their fellow Scots.
If the Warriors beat Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium tonight then Edinburgh will qualify for the Guinness PRO14 play-offs without having to get anything from next week’s clash of the Scottish pro teams in the third leg of the 1872 Cup at BT Murrayfield.
“Yeah, it wouldn’t be often they cheer for us, which I imagine they will,” said the Warriors head coach.
“A couple of Scottish sides in the play-off would be really good for Scottish rugby. It has been a positive season all round, Richard and his team have done a good job and they deserve to be in the play-offs, and we look forward to meeting them next week.”
But the Warriors plan to use the next two weeks to gear up for their PRO14 play-off semi-final, and a place in that team – probably the first full-strength side Rennie has picked for months – is genuinely up for grabs for all the squad.
“We’re totally focused on what we have to do,” he said. “We’re happy to have a couple of tough away games left against sides who have a lot to play for.
“There’s no guarantees for anyone, that’s for sure. You’ve got to earn the right to play and we’ve got some guys who’ve put in a massive performance for us throughout the year.
“I think it’s really positive that boys who come back (from international duty) have to fight for the jersey. Who plays in that semi-final game will be decided over the next couple of weeks based on performance.”
As cases in point, Huw Jones gets a recall tonight to partner Alex Dunbar, while Rennie has also re-instated both Finn Russell and Ali Price, and all of those international regulars have a point to prove.
“We’ve got such depth in midfield in our team. Obviously Sam Johnson has been excellent throughout the year, and we’ve left him out this week to give Huw and Alex another crack in midfield.
“Alex was excellent last week, Nick Grigg has been going well and then we’ve got Peter Horne playing at 10 or 12.
“It is a great opportunity for both Ali and Finn, I’ve been really impressed with the way they’ve trained.
“It is not easy for them. They have come out of the international programme with all that involved and it has taken them a little while to adjust back with us, but it’s all good with what we have seen this week.”
DTH van der Merwe, Jonny Gray and Ryan Wilson are all in contention for a place in the next week’s team for Murrayfield, but won’t be risked if there are any doubts.
Glasgow team (vs Ulster, Guinness PRO14, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, tonight 6.05 kick-off, live on BBC2 Scotland): Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Lelia Masaga; Finn Russell, Ali Price; Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Sio Halanukonuka; Scott Cummings, Tim Swinson; Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins (capt), Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: George Turner, Ryan Grant, Zander Fagerson, Greg Peterson, Matt Smith, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Nick Grigg.