IT IS a case of contrasting fortunes for the two Scottish professionals sides when the PRO14 season kicks off in late September. Glasgow Warriors will have to test their strength in depth after a summer of minimal signings while Edinburgh seem to have an easier time of it with more fixtures where the loss of players to international demands is likely to be better balanced.

Glasgow already knew they were going to have to step up a level if they are to repeat last season's feat of getting to the final. The way the conferences were redrawn means both last season's finalists, Warriors and Leinster, who beat them at Celtic Park to claim the crown, are now in the same group.

The two of them and Munster were by some margin the top teams in last season's final tables, Glasgow finishing on 81 points, Munster on 77 and Leinster on 76. There was then a huge gap to the next side, Ulster on 63. This season, Glasgow and Leinster are up against each other with Munster swapping to Conference B.

What makes life look so much easier for Edinburgh this season, however, is not so much the way the conferences are rebalanced as the timetabling of the games. The key consideration for the Scottish clubs is how often there will be a balance in the number of players being pulled away from PRO14 games for international duties and how often they will find their second string up against full-strength opponents.

Look at the opening sequence when players will be off on World Cup duty. Glasgow open with a trip to face the Cheetahs in South Africa, who are unaffected by World Cup call-ups, while Edinburgh are at home to Zebre, who will likely provide up to half of the Italian World Cup squad.

It will still be a test for Richard Cockerill's men since they are likely to have their entire first-choice pack in Japan, but it should be a lot easier than travelling to the High Veldt to play in Bloemfontein against a side with a good home record and nobody missing.

Edinburgh don't have it all easy, they then have to travel to Dublin to face Leinster and are at home to the Scarlets before the World Cup finishes. They are both teams that have won the PRO14 in recent seasons but are also sides who are going to lose a ton of players to the World Cup, so the demands are going to be more evenly matched.

Glasgow also get the Scarlets in September but their schedule puts them up against the Dragons, who will not be badly hit by World Cup demands, and the Southern Kings, who join the Cheetahs in being totally unaffected, before they have any chance of seeing their current international players.

That said, it has been a proud boast from Glasgow that a lot of their success in recent seasons has come from the way they have performed during those international windows, when the second string has come up trumps for them time and time again. A lot of the pressure could come at the end of the season, when all the players will be available, and they face a tough closing run with trips to Munster and Ulster before finishing with the final derby in Edinburgh.

In all, six of Glasgow's final nine games are on the road, including a testing trip to Dublin where they won last season. Edinburgh have a much easier run-in with five home games and only four away, counting from the end of February.

Even without looking at international demands, Glasgow are going to have to balance the travails of the league with competing in the Heineken Champions Cup, where they are up against Exeter Chiefs, Sale Sharks and La Rochelle. Edinburgh's late-season slump earlier this year means they can rest players during their Challenge Cup campaign where they face Wasps, Agen and Bordeaux-Begles.

The final factor to take into account is that Edinburgh have been recruiting heavily with the demands of games during the international windows obviously high in Cockerill's thoughts so that players have been brought in to cover many of the inevitable gaps.

Glasgow, in contrast, have been quiet on signings front and look like starting the season with few new faces. They have offered deals to some youngsters who were on the fringes last season and a brought in a few lower-profile players but their only high-ish profile addition has been Mesu Dolokoto, the Fijian hooker, who is in his country's World Cup training squad and may not be available until after their time in Japan is over.

Dave Rennie, the Warriors' head coach, has hinted at signings to come, but so far there has been no sign of them and that makes his task for next season even tougher.