GREGOR TOWNSEND, the Glasgow Warriors head coach, has admitted that the search is already on to find a replacement for Niko Matawalu, the Fijian scrum-half who announced on Monday that he will be joining Bath at the start of next season.

While many Warriors' supporters will consider the mercurial Matawalu well-nigh irreplaceable, Townsend promised that Glasgow will scour the world for a player of equal calibre, if not precisely matching talents.

"We are in the middle of building a squad for next season," said Townsend. "We have known for a few weeks that Niko would be leaving so we will be looking to make sure we get enough depth at scrum-half to make us competitive next year."

It is in Glasgow's favour that 2015 is a World Cup year in which the contract cycles of many contenders are likely to be coming to an end, although they are unlikely to have the financial resources that would allow them to compete for the top southern hemisphere stars.

In any case, Townsend suggested that other matters would determine the identity of the player who is asked to fill Matawalu's shoes. "Whether international or not, you have to make sure you are looking for someone who fits in with the rugby we aspire to play, what they are like as characters, whether they are coming here for the right reasons," he said. "But yes, we are certainly looking for a scrum-half to compete with Henry Pyrgos."

Glasgow are believed to have tabled a sizeable offer to keep Matawalu on their books, but the player decided that he wanted to expand his horizons with a top Aviva Premiership side.

"I think it was a really tough decision for Niko," Townsend explained. "There is more to it than just money. This was his first club [after moving from Fiji] and he has transformed as a player. He has ties with the club here, but obviously it is different for a Scottish qualified player or someone from Glasgow. Bath are a big club who are spending a lot of money, and I'm sure Niko will do well."

Ironically, Glasgow will face Bath in January in a match that is likely to decide whether they are to progress through to the knockout stages of the European Champions Cup, but Townsend said he would be happy to send Matawalu out against the side he is soon to join. "If he gets the opportunity to start in that game or come off the bench then he has a chance to say 'this is the player you are signing' said Townsend. "If we are going to Bath and we have an opportunity to get to the next round, it would be the first time ever for the club so he will want to do as well as he can for us."