Glasgow Warriors will be boosted by the return of Scotland international tight-head prop Zander Fagerson as well as up-and-coming openside in Tom Gordon as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s frustrating opening weekend defeat away to Connacht when they take on Scarlets at Scotstoun tomorrow evening.

The pair were unavailable last week because they were isolating as a precaution following possible Covid exposures, but have been cleared to wear the number three and number seven jersey respectively in a match which offers not only the prospect of valuable league points but also an opportunity to impress Gregor Townsend ahead of the national team head coach naming his training squad for the Autumn Test series on Monday.

Scotland will play the first of their six matches in seven weeks against Georgia in two Fridays’ time (23rd October), before taking on Wales in their final long-awaited final Six Nations match in Llanelli eight days later (31st October). They then have a weekend off before four matches – Italy away, France at home, Fiji at home and a play-off – on consecutive weekends between 14thNovember and 5th December.

In truth, Fagerson is an absolute certainty to be on Townsend’s list having established clear daylight between himself and his tight-head rivals since last year’s World Cup, while uncapped Gordon is also in with a good shout having been involved in the wider group during the 2020 Six Nations before lockdown put the championship on ice.

“For me, Zander, ever since the World Cup, has really hit his straps,” said Wilson. “Maybe leading into the World Cup, he wasn’t quite on form, but halfway through, he individually really performed and filled a gap.

“Since returning he’s had a great season and a great Six Nations and I think he’s a real prospect. Someone who could go on to the top end honours of the game, I believe. We forget how young he is (24-years-old), he’s a good pro and as a tight head prop he’s got years ahead of him. It’s a massive year for him and his ambitions, and I hope we can help him fulfil them.

“Tom wasn't available to us for Covid reasons last weekend but is back now from that and deserves to stay in the team after his [recent] performances, especially in the second Edinburgh game,” Wilson added. “You also have Chris Fusaro, who started last weekend and did some really good things, and Fotu Lokotui, as out and out sevens, but for the moment I think Tom would hold the jersey.”

The only other change to the starting team which lost to Connacht is on the left wing where Ratu Tagive is promoted from the bench to wear the No11 jersey, with Robbie Nairn dropping out of the squad altogether after a tricky 51 minutes in Galway. Fijian livewire Niko Matawalu comes onto the bench.

Wilson defended his decision to recruit two overseas back-rows in recent weeks in the shape of Tongan Lokotui and Samoan TJ Ioane rather than look for homegrown options to fill the gaps which will inevitably open up in his squad during a hectic season in which he is likely to lose several players to Scotland duty during both the Autumn and the Six Nations window, on top of the usual injury toll.

“If you look at the amount of players we’re going to use, we need both [experienced imports and homegrown prospects],” he said. “We are definitely going to be blooding Scottish-qualified academy players, but we don't have a lot of them in the back-row.

“I think we have some who will be good in the future, but a couple haven't even trained with the first team until recently. It is not development just to throw a player who is not ready into a senior game and give him a really bad experience. It has to be the right time and the right place, I believe.

“We have lost a number of senior back-row players so we do need a couple of players who can add to the squad,” he added. “Last weekend, our starting 15 were all Scottish-1ualified. We will fulfil responsibilities to develop Scottish players, but they need to be sprinkled in with others.”

Glasgow Warriors (v Scarlets at Scotstoun, Sunday 5.15pm): H Jones; T Seymour, N Grigg, S McDowall, R Tagive; A Hastings, A Price; O Kebble, F Brown (captain), Z Fagerson, R Harley, S Cummings, R Wilson, T Gordon, M Fagerson. Substitutes: G Turner, A Seiuli, D Rae, R Gray, C Fusaro, G Horne, P Horne, N Matawalu.

Scarlets: L Halfpenny; T Rogers, J Davies (captain), J Williams, S Evans; D Jones, G Davies; W Jones, R Elias, S Lee, J Ball, S Lousi, B Thomson, J Macleod, S Kalamafoni. Substitutes: K Owens, P Price, J Sebastian, L Rawlins, J Davies, K Hardy, R Patchell, S Hughes.

Referee: F Murphy