DTH van der Merwe has recovered from injury well ahead of schedule to give Glasgow Warriors a major boost ahead of next week’s Pro14 semi-final meeting with Ulster.

The Canadian international winger has consistently been one of the competition’s most lethal finishers over the past decade that has seen him spend two terms at Glasgow, either side of a short spell with the Scarlets, winning Pro12 titles with both teams.

When van der Merwe suffered a shoulder injury early in February it was announced that he would be out for the rest of the season, but assistant coach Kenny Murray paid tribute to the way the 33-year-old has set about his re-hab work in giving himself a chance to be involved in the end-of-season play-offs, albeit he indicated that there is no guarantee he will be selected given the level of competition, with Scotland winger Lee Jones also now available again after a long time out due to a knee injury.

“DTH is in full swing, back doing everything. That’s two or three months (out) now, so he’s fully training and in contention,” said Murray. “Lee Jones is also there. Both he and DTH will be available for selection.”

With Stuart Hogg certain to start at full-back on what will be the two-time British & Irish Lions tourist’s last appearance at Scotstoun before he heads to Exeter Chiefs, van der Merwe and Jones will be competing for places in the squad and Murray said that although van der Merwe is short on match practise, the nature of training is such that he is expected to be sharp enough to play.

“He’s not had a game, he’s just had full contact in training. He wasn’t ready contact wise for that last game (against Edinburgh). It was touch-and-go, but we just felt it was too much of a risk. We had plans to try to get a game (but) they didn’t materialise, so we just get on with it, that’s it,” said Murray. “We try to create the intensity here at training and we’ve got a squad of 50 guys, so we can get 15 on 15 really easily here and it you’ve got DTH running against Rory Hughes for example, you’re going to get a good bit of collision and contact in that. So, he’s ready to go and he’ll be in contention.”

The Canadian’s availability could also limit opportunities for some of the players Scotland coach Gregor Townsend identified earlier this week as being in contention for one of the last remaining in the World Cup training squad since Jones, Kyle Steyn and Rory Hughes now find themselves in competition with van der Merwe as well as Tommy Seymour and Niko Matawalu for play-off involvement with Glasgow. Murray indicated that the Glasgow management was well aware of that, describing it as a “great incentive” for players, but saying it would not affect selectorial thinking.

“We’ll pick the team that we believe is going to win the semi-final and that’s what we’ve done all season,” he said.

“The good thing for us now is that we’ve got more players available going into the semi-final than we’ve had the last four or five weeks, which is excellent going into a play-off game. It comes down to performance, who’s playing well and who’s training well. We’ve tried to get real competition in training. It’s sometimes a real challenge because you’ve got a three week period to prepare for the game. You don’t want to over-train guys and they get a wee bit stale, so we’ve tried to create a lot of competition at training to make sure there’s a real edge and a real buzz and also makes sure everybody knows they’re in with a real shot of getting a chance.”

Glasgow co-captain Callum Gibbins has been cleared to play after going through head injury protocols, while Murray said that front-row forwards Fraser Brown, Oli Kebble, Siua Halanukonuka are also all “on track to play against Ulster” as they recover from injury.

These play-offs will be the last time this squad will be together and Murray noted that in a World Cup year the play-offs take on extra significance.

“I heard Tommy (Seymour) saying to the boys there that there are guys who are going to be leaving at the end of the season and moving on to the World Cup.... so the whole incentive of playing in your home city in front of your own fans is massive for us, but at the same time the focus is on the task ahead,” he said. “Ulster played well at the weekend and the last time they came here they got over the line twice and didn’t get tries, so that game was maybe a lot closer than the scoreline suggested. So, our mindest’s really good, we’ve won eight league games in a row and we know we’ve made this a bit of a fortress again, so we’re confident that if we play to our ability we can do well.”