Glasgow want to see Brian Alainu’uese back making an impact on the field before they make him a new contract offer, but in the meantime he’s got the right to secure his own future, says head coach Dave Rennie.
The powerful Samoan second row has been in France this week for talks with twice-European champions Toulon, but remains under contract with the Warriors at least until his deal expires at the end of this season.
Speaking from South Africa ahead of the Warriors’ game against the Southern kings in Port Elizabeth, Rennie wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Alainu’uese could leave for the French club in mid-season.
“Brian’s been injured pretty much for a big chunk of 14 months,” said Rennie. “We’ve spoken to him and said we’re unsure whether we’ll re-sign him, he’d need to come back and play a big string (of games) to convince us we’d get our worth out of him.
“Players are constantly trying to get clarity around their future, so they’re looking at opportunities elsewhere. For Brian, that could be with us or with Toulon, but there’s nothing concrete.”
There had been indications from France that Toulon would like to bring Alainu’uese – who has just started training again after a back injury – in mid-season.
“I’m not saying that’s impossible,” said Rennie. “If someone came in and made a commitment to Brian beyond this year, we’d look at it.
“What we’ve said to him is we want you to stay with us but we’re not going to offer you anything yet. Transfer fees can happen, but we want what’s best for us and best for Brian.
“Really, we just want to get him back on the field playing. We can’t commit to him and a number of other guys until we get them on the park and see them playing.
“Some guys may not be prepared to wait that long, because it’s their future and they want to have a plan for next year. Brian’s in that situation.”
In the meantime Glasgow have made sweeping changes for the visit to the Kings, with Scott Cummings, Adam Ashe, Peter Horne and the back three the only players retained from the victory over the Cheetahs.
Horne moves to stand-off with Huw Jones making his first start of the season alongside Nick Grigg in the centre.
“Huw’s looked excellent,” said Rennie. “He had an operation on his wrist which limited his ability to handle the ball but he’s done a lot of conditioning and he’s very sharp and really quick, done a lot and we’re all really excited to see him.
“He’s desperate to play well, he’s done a lot of work in all parts of his game so we think the combination between him and Nick Grigg will be a really strong one. We are looking forward to seeing him go.”
Jamie Bhatti will start with Oli Kebble having suffered a slight concussion against Cheetahs, while D’Arcy Rae, Chris Fusaro, Greg Peterson and Nick Frisby all make their first starts of the season.
Glasgow (vs Southern Kings, Guinness PRO14 at the Nelson Mandela University Stadium, tomorrow ko 2pm): Ruaridh Jackson; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Nick Grigg, DTH van der Merwe; Peter Horne, Nick Frisby; Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, D’Arcy Rae; Greg Peterson, Scott Cummings; Ryan Wilson (Capt), Chris Fusaro, Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Fraser Brown, Alex Allan, Kevin Bryce, Ron Harley, Callum Gibbins, Ali Price, Adam Hastings, Robbie Nairn.