GLASGOW have admitted defeat in their bid to hold on to Huw Jones, who is out of contract in the summer. The 27-year-old Scotland international, who joined the Warriors in 2017, is reported to have agreed terms with French club Bayonne.

“I know we had been discussing a contract with him, but he’s obviously decided not to take that and he’ll be moving on to other pastures,” Glasgow assistant coach Kenny Murray said yesterday. “He’s a big player for us who’s played well over the last few years both at 15 and 13. But he’s decided to move on and we need to move on as a club as well. 

“We’ve looked to make moves to do that already. It’s disappointing to see any player go, but we believe we’ve got some exciting players coming in as well.”

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The Warriors selection for tomorrow’s PRO14 match against Leinster certainly shows signs of how the squad is moving on. Jones is still in the line-up, but back in his original position of outside centre instead of full-back, where Ollie Smith comes in for his first start. Former New Zealand Under-20 cap Cole Forbes will make his debut on the left wing, while right-winger Rufus McLean will be making just his third appearance.

The inexperience in the back three, however, is balanced elsewhere by the return of Scotland squad members such as Jones who have been freed to play because of the postponement of tomorrow’s Six Nations match against France. On the bench, lock Gregor Brown could come on for his debut.

Zander Fagerson has been listed as unavailable, and Murray thinks this game could count as one of the four matches the tighthead prop must miss as a result of his four-game ban being upheld by a Six Nations appeal committee. “He didn’t get his ban overturned, but my understanding of what has happened is that this game would potentially count,” the coach added. “Scotland have released nine players back to us, Zander could have played if we’d wanted him this week, so yeah, my understanding is that’s the case.”

The France match was due to be one of the games Fagerson would miss after being red-carded against Wales. However, the appeal committee said on Thursday that they would issue a definitive ruling after a new date for that match is announced. 

Glasgow Warriors (v Leinster at the RDS, Sunday 5.30pm): O Smith; R McLean, H Jones, S Johnson, C Forbes; A Hastings, J Dobie; O Kebble, G Stewart, E Pieretto, R Gray, L Nakarawa, R Harley, T Gordon, R Wilson (captain). Substitutes: J Matthews, A Seiuli, D Rae, G Brown, T Ioane, S Kennedy, R Thompson, R Fergusson.