Glasgow Warriors boss Franco Smith says Scotland centre Sione Tuipulotu is “touch and go” for next weekend’s Investec Champions Cup last 16 clash with Harlequins.  

Tuipilotu has not played since injuring his knee in Scotland’s Calcutta Cup win on February 24 and is yet to resume training with the Glasgow squad.  

Smith said he faces a race to be fit for the Harlequins clash next Friday.  

The Glasgow coach said: “It’s going to be touch and go. I currently feel the fact he hasn’t trained with us yet limits his chances a little bit. We’ll have to see how he gets through this weekend.  

“We want to also give him the best chance to recover, so let’s see what comes of this game.” 

Scotland Rugby News: Sione Tuipulotu hasn't played since the Calcutta Cup winSione Tuipulotu hasn't played since the Calcutta Cup win (Image: SNS)

In the absence of Tuipulotu and Huw Jones, the South African has selected Tom Jordan alongside Stafford McDowall. Smith insists he’s every confidence in that partnership.  

“The continuity there is important for us,” he added.  

“Back-line play has a lot to do with continuity, and for the guys to know each other and understand the plan and learn from the previous encounters.” 

Smith was, though, pleased to be able to call upon Scotland co-captain Rory Darge for the trip to Scarlets in the BKT United Rugby Championship tomorrow.  

It will be Darge’s first outing for Glasgow in 2024 after injury and international duty.  

His recall is one of eight changes from the win over Cardiff last weekend, with Zander Fagerson, Kyle Rowe and Scott Cummings also back from international duty.  

Gregor Hiddleston makes his first league start at hooker, and an all-new back-row sees Darge pack down with Ally Miller and Henco Venter.  

Smith believes getting a run-out will be valuable for his returning Scotland players ahead of the trip to the Twickenham Stoop next Friday.  

He said: “You need to be physically challenged and work and train at a competitive level. That’s what we see in this game – it's probably the most important preparation for the week after.  

“For us to get the players out there playing and scrumming against different opposition, that improves their ability. Enough rest now. The boys are ready to play now.” 

Glasgow were winners on their last trip to Parc y Scarlets in the Challenge Cup semi-finals last season, but their record in Llanelli on league duty is not great, having only won twice and collected nine points from a possible 40.  

READ MORE: Key stats and head-to-heads for Glasgow's trip to Scarlets

The home side will also be in good spirits having beaten Benetton last time out.  

He added: “I think there will be new belief in the stadium and amongst the players. I think their training week will have gone completely differently from other weeks when they had to deal with a loss. 

“I think they will be brimming with confidence and eager to continue the form that they showed last week.  

“With the crowd behind them I definitely expect it’s going to be quite hostile.” 

Another win would help Glasgow cement themselves in the play-off places as the league takes a break for European action.  

Scotland Rugby News: Glasgow Warriors head coach Franco SmithGlasgow Warriors head coach Franco Smith (Image: SNS)

Smith said the week has been about keeping his players firmly focused on the task at hand.  

"The players know what’s happening, they know what’s coming next week. In fact, I am trying to refocus them the whole time on what needs to be done this weekend.  

“It’s not about the opposition we’re playing, we want to get back in our best form.” 

Meanwhile, Smith wasn’t giving anything away when asked which of his other currently injured squad members might be available for their European trip to London.  

“Currently I can’t elaborate on that too much,” the Glasgow boss said.  

Richie Gray hasn’t played since injuring his arm playing for Scotland against Wales on the opening weekend of the Six Nations.  

Scotland Rugby News: Richie Gray was injured playing for Scotland against WalesRichie Gray was injured playing for Scotland against Wales (Image: SNS)

But he’s back in training and Smith did not rule out the possibility of the veteran lock returning next week.  

“He’s training very well,” Smith said.  

“He’s getting a lot of training minutes under his belt. He’s giving it everything training-wise, so it will be interesting to see when he is back." 

Scarlets have selected Scotland international Alex Craig at lock, while former Scotland under-20 cap Teddy Leatherbarrow is in the back-row. 

Glasgow Warriors team vs Scarlets: Josh McKay, Kyle Rowe, Stafford McDowall (captain), Tom Jordan, Sebastian Cancelliere; Duncan Weir, George Horne; Nathan McBeth, Gregor Hiddleston, Zander Fagerson, Max Williamson, Scott Cummings, Ally Miller, Rory Darge, Henco Venter. 

Replacements: Johnny Matthews, Allan Dell, Lucio Sordoni, Sintu Manjezi, Gregor Brown, Tom Gordon, Jamie Dobie, Duncan Munn

Scarlets: Ioan Nicholas, Tom Rogers, Jonathan Davies, Eddie James, Tomi Lewis, Ioan Lloyd, Kieran Hardy; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias (captain), Sam Wainwright, Alex Craig, Sam Lousi, Teddy Leatherbarrow, Dan Davis, Vaea Fifita.

Replacements: Shaun Evans, Kemsley Mathias, Harri O’Connor, Morgan Jones, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Gareth Davies, Dan Jones, Ryan Conbeer