Danny Wilson has promised that Ali Price and Zander Fagerson will feature again for Glasgow Warriors this season. The duo are being rested from tonight’s match against Edinburgh, but both the players and their head coach recognise that it is vital that they do get some game-time under their belt over the next month ahead of joining up with the British and Irish Lions squad in mid-June to begin preparation for this summer’s tour to South Africa. 

Warriors have two more matches to play after tonight’s game, against Dragons away on 29th May and Leinster at home on 4th June.  

“These games don’t have the meaning on them that there is for other Lions in other teams. We’re not playing for anything in the sense that we’ve got European qualification and 1872 Cup done, and there are no play-offs, so it is about giving them the best chance to go on a Lions tour,” explained the coach. 

“They were involved in the conversation because I think they’ve earned that right, and both players have come up with a plan that they think is relevant. They will play rugby before now and the end of the season, not because I’ve forced them to but because they know it is important to stay match sharp. I don’t want to give too much away to the opposition in terms of when they will play.” 

Wilson has made nine changes in total to the side which defeated Edinburgh last Friday night to reclaim the 1872 Cup, with Matt Fagerson – younger brother of Zander – returning from the ankle injury he suffered at the end of March to wear the No8 jersey, in a reshuffled back-row which features captain Ryan Wilson at blindside flanker, and 21-year-old Rory Darge making his first start for the club (against his former club) at openside. 

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Tom Lambert is also making his first start at loose-head prop in place of the suspended Oli Kebble and packing down opposite WP Nel from kick-off will be a major test for the 20-year-old academy prospect. 

“He’s an Academy player going up against one of the most experienced and best scrummaging tightheads in the league,” acknowledged Wilson. “It’s going to be a brilliant challenge, but I thought he did quite well at the weekend when he had to come on for a huge chunk of that game with Oli going off with the card.  

“He’s going to have his good and bad moments, but I thought he had a number of good scrums and involvements last week, and we’re really keen to see him develop for the future.  

“We’ve made sure there is a bit of experience around both Rory and Tom," Wilson added. "It’s about trying to get that combination of youth with experience right so you’re giving them a good development opportunity and not throwing them in at the deep end.” 

Elsewhere, Adam Hastings returns from the facial injury which has kept him out since the start of April, with the Gloucester-bound playmaker starting at full-back in place of Cole Forbes, who has a minor knee injury. That means Ross Thompson can continue at stand-off. 

Wilson added that helping Rob Harley mark the occasion of becoming the first player to make 250 appearances for the club in style has been a key driver for the squad this week.

“It is an opportunity to get back-to-back wins over Edinburgh inside the space of eight days, and to have a look at different squad members, but Rob Harley’s 250 has probably been the main focus of the week,” he explained. “It is very rare in the modern game, and you are not going to see many examples of players playing that long for the same club in the future. 

“It is an unbelievable achievement – he is a true Warrior.

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“When I used to coach against him, he was somebody I did not want to see on the team-sheet for Glasgow because he’s a pain in the rear end to play against. Now I am his coach and whenever I see him on a Monday morning, I’ll ask how he’s doing and he will always say: ‘Yeah, I’m good to go’. No matter what happened at the weekend, it is the same every week. It’s that attitude which impresses me most about Rob. 

“We often highlight him in terms of his work off the ball, he’s one of these real hard-working, glue players who holds a lot together for you. That’s his main attributes and why he gets selected as often as he does. 

“He’s obviously a very bright, very intelligent, well-educated man to go alongside his passion for rugby. He’s a great character and we should really recognise his achievement this weekend.” 

 

Glasgow Warriors (v Edinburgh at Murrayfield, Saturday @ 7.35pm): A Hastings; K Steyn, N Grigg, S McDowall, R Tagive; R Thompson, G Horne; T Lambert, G Turner, E Pieretto, R Harley, R Gray, R Wilson, R Darge, M Fagerson. Subs: G Stewart, D Evans, D Rae, K McDonald, T Gordon, J Dobie, P Horne, L Jones.