Alasdair Dickinson admits he can’t wait to put Rory Sutherland through his paces in pre-season and is confident he can help him return to the levels he showed when he earned his British and Irish Lions caps.

The loosehead prop has agreed a deal to return to Scotland and join Glasgow Warriors in the summer, and he’ll be working under his former Edinburgh team-mate Dickinson.

The Glasgow Warriors scrum coach played alongside Sutherland for five years with Edinburgh and he’s looking forward to getting him back to Scotland after three years bouncing from Worcester Warriors to Ulster and latterly Oyonnax.

Sutherland earned two caps for the Lions in 2021 and was at the peak of his powers but he hasn’t quite managed to get back to it since and it’s something Dickinson believes he can help him do.

He said: “Big Suzz is back. We’re trying to get our strength in depth up and I look at the looseheads in the club now and it’s outstanding. There’s a lot to choose from and that level of competition will make players better and really excel.

“It’ll be great to get him back and get climbed into him in pre-season. He’s a great kid, I played with him at Edinburgh and we want to get him back to where he needs to be and where he wants as a Lion. That’s what his aim is and it’s where we want to get him back to.

“It’s a great signing and he’ll be looking forward to getting back to the homeland. It’s another good man to get into the mix and I’ll try help him get back to his potential.

“It’s been tough for him at Worcester, then the short spell at Ulster and then over in France. He’s bounced about a bit and hasn’t been able to get into his groove where I think he needs to be to perform.

“When he gets back here he’ll take off again and the boys around him will do the same.”

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Glasgow now have an abundance of talent in the loosehead position with Sutherland set to join another Lion Allan Dell, and Scotland team-mates Jamie Bhatti and Oli Kebble as options in that position, as well as Nathan McBeth. 

Keeping them happy with game time is something Dickinson and head coach Franco Smith will have to work on given they will all want to be involved on a regular basis.

Dickinson believe it is a good problem, but admits some players could leave if they can’t get themselves involved regularly. 

He added: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It’s a great problem to have as a coach. Keeping them happy is a different matter but it’s a lot of games now and I don’t think you want to be playing every game.

“It’s how you rotate and how you manage and keep them fresh physically and mentally which is part of the challenge. We usually go from having no props to a lot which is what we need but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

“You can’t keep everyone forever. Players will move and players will come in, staff will move and more staff will come in.

“You want to try and keep a core but you never know what’s round the corner.”

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Sutherland returned to the Scotland squad on Saturday when they faced Ireland and current Glasgow star Stafford McDowall made his first Six Nations start.

He impressed while playing in the centre, which is something he has done for the Warriors over the last couple of seasons.

Not long ago, the 26-year-old was considering packing in the sport after struggling to break through but he’s now starting for Scotland and Dickinson believes he could be a fixture moving forward. 

He said: “I was chuffed to bits for him. I thought he was excellent. He’s been great for us and he’s such a good man to have around. He’s a natural leader and grafts so hard, and he’s a big man.

“He’s been outstanding this year. He’s got a big future. I’m excited for him.

“It goes to show how close things can be. You can go from not being a pro to being outstanding for Scotland in such a short space but he’s put in a lot of work, it’s not like it’s just happened. He’s usually first in and last out of the building.

“It’s credit to his work ethic and drive to get better.”