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The players set to profit from Wales' new gameplan

With the Pivac era now a distant memory, Warren Gatland has a rich seam of talent to select from in the Six Nations

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'Rory's walking without a limp but I don't want to go too deep into that'

By PA
(Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Franco Smith has called on Glasgow to improve their away form as they attempt to topple rampant URC leaders Leinster in Dublin on Saturday.

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The Warriors have won all three home games so far this term but have lost all three of their matches on the road.

Reflecting on his opening few months as head coach of the Scotstoun side, Smith said: “I think we’ve been impressive at home.

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“This week we want to be a team that can play away from home the way we play at home. That is a specific objective: to be the best we can away from home.

“For every team, Leinster away is a tough challenge but we are excited. We know what’s coming, we know what they’ve got, and we know that for them it’s also an important period, going into the Heineken Cup which they’d probably like to win.

“When we come off that field on Saturday we must be better, win or lose but hopefully win. We must definitely have a better character playing away from home and more belief in our ability playing away from home.”

Some Scotland players who featured prominently in the autumn series over the past month, including Ali Price, Zander Fagerson, Matt Fagerson, George Turner and Sione Tuipulotu, have been given time off.

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However, Fraser Brown is one of seven players involved in the Tests for Gregor Townsend’s national team to be included in the Warriors’ starting XV for this weekend’s match in Dublin.

Smith was delighted to see the veteran hooker shine in the matches against New Zealand and Argentina after going five years without a start for Scotland.

“I was really glad for him,” said the Warriors head coach. “His experience and his desire to play for Scotland just showed in every action. His determination was very good. It’s a compliment to him.

“I’d add Richie Gray to that. They both showed some mature moments and I’m sure they gave Gregor a lot of experience and played really important roles in the games.”

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Gray is suspended after being punished for foul play against the All Blacks, while fellow Scotland internationals Rory Darge, Sam Johnson and Scott Cummings are among those absent through injury.

Johnson is expected to return to action next month, but Smith admits it is too early to say whether Darge and Cummings, who is still in a moon boot, will be fit enough to feature in the Six Nations.

“Sam will be fine, he’s already participating in training,” said Smith. “Probably from next week onwards, he will start making contact and he will become available soon.

“Rory’s walking without a limp but I don’t want to go too deep into that progression.

“Scott’s still in a moon boot so it will take him a little bit of time. I think it will be touch and go but let’s see, it’s still 10 weeks from now so we will see a lot of progression.”

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