Leone Nakarawa has not yet returned to Glasgow after spending lockdown in his native Fiji, meaning that he won’t play for the Warriors in Saturday’s 1872 Cup decider against Edinburgh at Murrayfield, or in the final league game of the regular season against the same opposition six days’ later. 

The Fijian international re-joined the club midway through last season having been sacked by Racing 92 for being two weeks late in returning to club duty after the 2019 World Cup, but Warriors head coach Danny Wilson stressed that he has no concern about the 32-year-old going AWOL this time. 

“Leone is not available,” Wilson confirmed. “Basically, what happened with him was his wife was due [to give birth to their first baby at the] end of July, so he’s been in Fiji and we gave him that grace to spend a little bit of extra time with his wife and family.  

“On top of that, the first flight out of Fiji was this week, because flights have been locked down, so we’re in the process of getting him back, put it that way. 

“With all these boys they’ve got to have the relevant time to return to training, return to rugby, to be safe,” replied Wilson, when asked for a timeframe on Nakarawa’s return. 

“I am confident he’ll come back but I’m new into the club. Hopefully there won’t be any issues, I’m not foreseeing any issues, but you have to wait and see, don’t you! There are flights to get people on and they need to be on those flights. So far up to now, for the very right reasons, we’ve given that grace, as you would do with anyone who needs to spend time with family when they’re needed for milestone events. Hopefully that gets returned and we welcome him back soon.” 

Wilson also revealed that winger/centre Kyle Steyn and loose-head prop Aki Seiuli are out of contention for this weekend. 

“Kyle has a hamstring injury which will delay when he will be available, until we get a full assessment of that injury. Aki broke his thumb a couple of weeks ago and is in a cast, a short-term one, he’ll be out of that pretty quickly, but will probably miss both games,” explained Wilson. 

Elsewhere, Wilson indicated that there may be a surprise selection at full-back, which is a position where the Warriors are pretty low on options after the retirement of Ruaridh Jackson this summer and the departure of Stuart hogg to Exeter Chiefs the summer before, 

“It was never the plan to not have an out-and-out full-back, if I’m putting it bluntly,” conceded Wilson. “Post-Covid, we were hit with the problems and restrictions that we had. We were looking to sign a full-back and, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So, we’ve looked at that in a slightly different way.  

“Without giving too much away, you might see a little bit of a surprise at full-back, something that we’ve been training and working on.” 

Former Scotland winger Tommy Seymour has played at 15 on various occasions throughout his career, Glenn Bryce is currently training with the squad “in the short term”, and first year pro Rufus McLean could also be in the mix. However, by the tone of Wilson’s comments, it seems likely that we are looking at a more radical solution to this selection headache, which could entail either one of Huw Jones or Stafford McDowall swapping the midfield for a berth at the very back.  

Meanwhile, the home and away designations for the upcoming inter-city double-header have been swapped around. While both matches will be played as Murrayfield, Saturday’s game will count as a home match for Glasgow, while the following weekend’s contest will be an Edinburgh home match. The logic behind this that it will improve the chances of the second game being played in front of "a very limited, socially distanced crowd" if it is designated a home fixture, attended by season ticket holders to ensure less travel

"A decision on a proposed pilot event will be made in due course as Scottish Rugby continue to work and hold positive discussions with Scottish Government," said a statement issued from Murrayfield yesterday. 

It has also been agreed that the 1872 Cup will still be determined over three legs. With the series currently tied 1-1, this Saturday’s derby will be the decider, with the fourth and final match counting as a regular Guinness PRO14 fixture but no specific silverware up for grabs.