Eager as he has declared himself to be to generate extra competition for places, Glasgow's new coach has already been given an indication of how difficult that may prove to be ahead of today's first match of the season.

''Any guy who is fit enough to take the field tomorrow will probably be a sub for us,'' said Kiwi Searancke after naming the team which will meet a mighty Harlequins squad tonight.

With Glenn Metcalfe out through illness, he described the injury list as ''about a mile long'', and this before the season begins.

Steve Griffiths, Dave Hilton, Michael Bartlett and Chris Black should be fit soon, but Roland Reid, who has recently undergone a groin operation, and Barry Irving, who has had reconstruction work done to shoulder ligaments, will be out for some time.

Glasgow, therefore, will be fielding three debutants: Stuart Moffat, Ben Daly, and Rory Mckay

Player management will be vital, particularly given the needs of the national squad and on that note the contrast in attitude between countries where that is the priority and those where club needs rival them was demonstrated yesterday.

Reports from Ireland indicated that Ulster's management have been enraged by having to face the Borders today without eight players who were in Ireland's international camp in Poland last week, particularly because they are having to field a highly inexperienced front-row, after Eddie O'Sullivan, the national coach, insisted they be rested.

By contrast, with Ireland's World Cup qualifiers just weeks away, their captain, Keith Wood, and compatriot Paul Burke, both of whom did not go to Poland simply because their English club did not want them to, are certain to play tonight, with the Harlequins management stating that crowd favourite Wood will play at least 40 minutes.

His British and Irish Lions team-mates, Jason Leonard and Will Greenwood, will also take some part in proceedings.

glasgow team

The Glasgow line-up for tonight's match against Harlequins at Hughenden (ko 7.30)

S Moffat; J Steel, A Bulloch,

A Henderson, I McInroy; C Howarth, A Nicol (captain); C Blades, B Daly,

L Harrison, N Ross, A Hall,

R McKay, D Macfadyen, J Petrie