Glasgow Warriors manager urges caution over Scottish duo return

Darge played 66 minutes in the Warriors’ 50-8 win over Zebre on Friday night, having made his comeback with 55 minutes against the Lions six days earlier from an ankle injury in September.

Meanwhile, Cummings has played three games since recovering from a foot injury sustained in late October.

Shockingly, we’re still waiting for the Six Nations to deliver their verdict of Grant Gilchrist’s disciplinary hearing on Tuesday night following his red card against France last weekend. The delay appears to be related to clarifying which games will count towards the suspension he has been handed, with Scotland presumably hoping Edinburgh’s game against Leinster last night is included.

At this point it seems likely he will not be available against Ireland, so Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend could be particularly tempted to bring Cummings back into his matchday squad straight away. However, with Richie and Jonny Gray, Sam Skinner and Cameron Henderson all in the selection mix, there are other options.

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“Personally, if I were in that position, I think I’d wait a bit,” Smith said. “There is nothing wrong with the players that Gregor is using at the moment.

“So I would include them [Darge and Cummings] Definitely during the training week. Bringing them into the squad will obviously be his decision but I think it would be wise to get them a few more games at club level and prepare them for whatever the World Cup requires.

“Rory still needs some time with the role he’s played and the specific injury he’s had. I think he needs confidence and today was a lot better than the week before.

“I think Scotty is in good shape. He crossed the bridge for 80 minutes this weekend and that was important.”

There were no new injury concerns for Warriors on Friday night, with Smith stating that Josh McKay has injured his ankle but is unlikely to miss any game time.

“We’re trying to clear our sickroom; There are only a few guys left so we didn’t want to take any chances,” said the coach. “So it was just a precaution. With 10 minutes left there was no need to force it.”

The Warriors squad now has a week off before starting preparations for the next game on March 26 in Munster.

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“I don’t want to call it a vacation — it’s a hiatus that’s part of our preparation,” Smith said.

“We started a long time ago in August – or even before that – so it’s a long season and the way we want to play we need enthusiasm and creativity and the only way to get that is if the lads are good are rested.

“Well, one of the ingredients of that is they stay away from Scotstoun for a week. Come back and spend 12 days in Munster.”

The need to reinvigorate the players was evident in the performance against Zebre, with Warriors earning a bonus point win that saw them through clever game management, leaning on their dominant pack, en route to a home game in the URC play-offs holds. A sharp second leg was required until the opponents ran out of breath in the last quarter.

“We saw those three games [during the Six Nations window] as a collective,” said Smith. “It’s a difficult block of play. Ulster was a difficult game where we got disturbed more than they did, then you go to the lions [in Johannesburg] On a short trip in the heat with all the travel, when you come back expect the guys to be firing at 125 mph [against Zebre] and it’s just not realistic.

“So I think the message to the people out there who might be able to raise their eyebrows because we won tonight is that everything has been engineered so that we still win the games but we handle the disruptions well .” Glasgow Warriors manager urges caution over Scottish duo return

Russell Falcon

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