GLASGOW coach Danny Wilson is now “very confident” that his team’s Guinness PRO14 game against Edinburgh will go ahead as planned at BT Murrayfield on Saturday, January 2.

The first derby of the season, which had been due to take place at Scotstoun this Sunday, had to be postponed when 20 Warriors players went into self-isolation as a Covid-19 precaution following a number of positive cases in their last opponents, Exeter.

Four of the 20 subsequently tested positive for the virus, but, with no further positive cases since then and the remaining self-isolating players now available to train again, Wilson is looking forward to something like normal business resuming in the coming days.

“We are in a position where we have no other positive cases and we have done our isolation period,” he said last night. “I am very confident that that second game will go ahead.

“We have been through three rounds of testing since the Exeter game. We test again before we play Edinburgh.

“Any guys who have tested positive are on a different time frame. But as it stands now anyone [else] who was deemed in close contact from the Exeter travel and game would be back available for that game – unless they test positive again.”

That defeat by Exeter remains the last fixture fulfilled by Glasgow to date – as well as postponing the first derby of the season, Wilson’s side had to cancel their Champions Cup game against Lyon last week, and were handed a 28-0 defeat by the tournament organisers. After two weeks and more of enforced inactivity for many members of his squad, Wilson will not subject the players to too much in the way of heavy training for a while.

“We trained today, but remember they’ve been isolating for 10 days, so today they came in and did a very light session,” the coach continued. “You’re putting a high risk on a pro rugby player to come from ten days off and into a high-energy session. We’ll train again post-Christmas, give the boys a couple of days off and hopefully we’ll be out of the woods next week.

“We’ll test again on the 28th. One test doesn’t do it, two doesn’t do it, you’ve got to go through a process to make sure it’s out of your environment, try to eradicate it very quickly.

“We haven’t trained for ten-plus days and we have to gradually return the guys. Those positive will have an even more gradual return and have to have checks off the back of having the illness.

“There’s a mental side of it and a physical side to it. If you think of an international player in camp, in the hotel for a long period and not coming out of the bubble . . . They come out of that and just a few days later they’re in their own isolated bubble for ten days. That’ll have an effect 

on them dealing with that. They’ve come in today fresh and happy to be around other players, play some light games. For other guys who have been here, the likes of Ryan Wilson and Rob Harley who played so much rugby in this period, it was a break for them that they physically needed. Some boys I’d question might still need that couple of days to get back mentally, but there’s others who have had the break from physical demands.” 
Wilson’s concern in the longer term remains the recruitment of a stand-off to replace Adam Hastings, who is leaving for Gloucester at the end of this season. In fact, with Brandon Thomson possibly also moving on, the ideal for the Warriors would be to sign a first-choice 10 and a quality back-up. 
Former Glasgow player Duncan Weir and Munster’s Scottish-qualified fly-half Ben Healy are the two players who have been linked with the move to Scotstoun, although the Scot now looks more likely to sign than the Irishman. Wilson, however, continues to play his cards close to his chest.

“Nothing confirmed at this minute,” he said when asked if the Healy deal was off. “We are in the process of speaking to people in terms of recruitment but that position is still a position of priority. I don’t have any confirmation either way at the moment.”
Asked about Weir, the coach continued: “He is obviously another quality 10, and a Scottish international who is linked to the club.  So he is somebody we would definitely consider along with others in that 10 jersey. Unfortunately that is all I have got for you just now.”

Sale Sharks No 8 Jean-Luc du Preez has been suspended for four weeks for striking Edinburgh’s Hamish Watson with his shoulder in the Champions Cup match between the teams last weekend. Du Preez was yellow-carded for the offence towards the end of the game, which Edinburgh won 16-15,but accepted at a video hearing that his action warranted a red card.