Return of Warriors co-captains for derby could prove timely
BOTH Glasgow Warriors co-captains are in line for recalls for this weekend’s third and potentially most important derby match of the season as they bid to secure top spot in their PRO14 conference and a guaranteed place in the playoff semi-finals with home advantage,
The return of Callum Gibbins and Ryan Wilson could hardly be more timely since Chris Fusaro, their fellow senior back-row forward who has been captaining the side in their absence, suffered a hamstring injury that almost ended his season early in their last match against Leinster.
Gibbins looks the likelier to lead the team against Edinburgh as they bid to register a first Inter-City victory of the season and just a third in 11 matches, having played twice since recovering from ankle surgery, against the Cheetahs in the PRO14 and then against Saracens in the Champions Cup quarter-final in March, during which he suffered a concussion that has sidelined him since.
Wilson is meanwhile hoping to get onto the pitch for the first time since suffering a knee injury during Scotland’s defeat by Ireland in February.
“We are hopefully both these players will be right to play,” said Glasgow’s assistant coach Jason O’Halloran. “We just have to tick a few boxes to make sure they are okay from a physical point of view. We should have a much clearer picture by end of play on Thursday training but it is looking pretty positive.”
Wilson has particular reason to want to show he is back to full fitness with competition for places in Scotland’s squad having intensified ahead of this year’s World Cup and he may find himself up against as many as four rivals for the trip to Japan, John Barclay, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson.
However in the shorter term he need only look back to December when he was left out of the Glasgow side for the first of this season’s derbies in December, to be reminded that there are no guarantees at club level either, as O’Halloran acknowledged seemed to acknowledge.
“I would image Ryan will be very keen to get on the field,” he said. “From his and all the other players’ point of view if we get this right there is a three week gap until the semi-final. If you want to be part of the picture selection wise for the semi you really need to get out there this weekend and play really well.”