Glasgow Warriors will be boosted by the return of Sebastian Cancelliere for this evening’s European Challenge Cup semi-final clash against Scarlets in Llanelli. The Argentinean winger – who was unveiled as the players’ player of the season at last Sunday’s club awards night – will be making his first appearance since picking up a knee injury in mid-February.

The 29-year-old has scored eight tries in 12 matches played so far in this campaign, and his involvement will offset the absence of Huw Jones, with the in-form centre/full-back recovered from the concussion he suffered last week but being rested by head coach Franco Smith.

Outside-centre Sione Tuipulotu, full-back Ollie Smith and winger Kyle Steyn (as captain) will also add bite to the Warriors backline after being wrapped in cotton wool in recent weeks, while livewire scrum-half George Horne swaps in for Ali Price at scrum-half.

With Stafford McDowall switching from outside to inside-centre, stand-off Tom Jordan is the only member of the backline which started against Connacht last week retained in the same position.

The pack is bolstered by the return of Scotland trio Zander Fagerson, George Turner and Jamie Bhatti to the front-row.

“We already had Sebastian training with us last week and I always knew in the back of my mind that we would have him available from now on,” explained Smith. “It was a matter of timing, but he looked really good on Monday, and it was an easy decision.

“Huw will use this week to reset a little bit and be fully fit for next week,” the South African coach added. “If you have fresh players coming into the side who have been playing at this level for a long time, obviously Sione, and also Ollie who is an international… then with next week in mind and hopefully even after that, it is important to manage the players well.

“We have a 6/2 split [on the bench for] most of the games and the versatility of the players is important. Everyone is best prepared, and we need fresh, eager, enthusiastic rugby players who can bring energy, will and want to the group.

“As we’re looking at going into this very important period where there are potentially five games to go, it’s going to be important to have everyone as fresh, fit, and eager to contribute as we can.

“As a group, we’ve been training for these knock-out matches from the first day. We have not changed the way we have approached this

at all.”

Veteran second-row Richie Gray is set to make his 100th appearance for the club and Smith heaped praise on the 33-year-old’s influence within the squad both on and off the park.

“Richie’s been fantastic. He’s contributed in a lot of different ways, not just when he has played.He helps run the line-out and he’s a big part of our leadership group.

“I’ve challenged him in a lot of different ways – and he’s always responded and adapted really.

‘That’s a really good quality to have for a guy at his stage of his career. He brings a lot of calmness and experience to the team, which is always a big benefit.”

Meanwhile, Smith backed his team to block out the outside noise when they play in front of a bumper home crowd of around 13,000 at the Parc Y Scarlets.

“I don’t think anything outside of the white lines will influence what we’re about,” he said.

“There’s enough experience in this group – they’ve played Test match rugby at the likes of Twickenham and the Stade de France. They’ve played all over the world in front of intimidating crowds.

“So, we know the Welsh fans are usually really loud and will bring a good atmosphere, but we’re prepared for it.”

Lewis Bean – who is one of four players believed to be leaving the club in the summer – is on the bench tonight. The other leavers are Cole Forbes, Ryan Wilson (already announced) and Cameron Neild (who joined the club on a short-term deal in November).

“Nobody here is being let go,” insisted Smith. “Everybody has a choice. I don’t want to go into it too much, but it wasn’t the intent of the club to lose them at all.

“Both Lewis and Cole have contributed immensely, and we would have had them here for longer [if it was our choice].”