Dave Rennie wasn’t for tempting to give his view on the possible recruitment of Aaron Cruden for Glasgow Warriors, but didn’t deny the club’s interest in the former All Black stand-off.
Cruden was with Rennie at Manuwatu and the Chiefs back in their native New Zealand, but ahead of the Warriors’ crucial trip to Dublin to meet Leinster in the penultimate regular season game in the Guinness PRO14, the head coach wouldn’t discuss a possible deal.
Cruden is currently at Vern Cotter’s Montpellier, but he’s set to leave the South of France and teaming up with his old mentor is an obvious move if the player wants to stay in Europe.
“He’s a good man, a hell of a player, played for Manuwatu, the Chiefs,” deadpanned Rennie. “I hear there’s a bit of speculation out there.
“We are not in a position to talk about any contracts until they are signed. There are a few announcements to be made so we will let you all know when everything is sorted.”
While Rennie stresses his responsibility is to bring forward Scottish talent, he is not adverse to a non-eligible “marquee player” if the fit is right for the Warriors.
“What we are looking for is quality,” he said. “Sometimes they are rough diamonds, sometimes we are trying to bring players through from a Scottish perspective.
“The person needs to be the right fit for us, whether they are a big name or not. We are pretty advanced in our contracting and we will have a good side next year, a little bit stronger than what we have this year which is exciting.
“We have a responsibility to identify Scottish talent, but we need to fill some holes in the areas with guys who can’t play for Scotland.”
Meanwhile next week’s European Cup semi-finals may work in the Warriors’ favour this week, with Leinster keeping some of their big guns out of the line-up and Munster choosing to field only two of their first choice XV on their trip to Treviso.
A win for Glasgow at the RDS – their first since 2011 – and a loss for Munster against the Conference B play-off hopeful Italians would secure the prize of the home semi-final before the final round of conference games.
“It’s been a phenomenal year for Leinster with regard to the footy they have put out,” said Rennie. “They haven’t used a lot of their top dogs in a number of games and they have got the job done. They have amazing depth so we expect a tough one.
“Munster have backed themselves to rest a couple of guys and still go to Treviso and get a result but, again, they have pretty good depth and they have a pretty good side on the field.
“These things are out of our control. We just focus on what we do.”
There are two changes from the team that routed Ulster last week, Scott Cumming returning to the second row with Rob Harley moving back to blindside flanker, while Jamie Bhatti starts in place of Oli Kebble, who has a back problem.
Getting time off with a home semi could result in the Warriors having Nick Grigg and DTH van der Merwe available for the play-off run. Ryan Wilson is targeting a comeback in the Edinburgh game and Callum Gibbins will be available for that fixture as well.
Glasgow team: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn, Sam Johnson, Niko Matawalu; Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson; Scott Cumming, Jonny Gray; Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Bruce Flockhart, Adam Ashe, George Horne, Pete Horne, Huw Jones.