IT WAS double good news for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland as Dave Rennie, the club head coach, announced “talismanic” Jonny Gray would be back in action tonight while Stuart Hogg has come through tests on his shoulder and is being pencilled in to play in two weeks.

Both are key players both for both club and country with both European games and Test matches on the horizon, their returns could not have been better timed – especially when you take into consideration that when they had surgery over the summer, there was a fear they may not have been back until mid-to-late November.

Gray is pitched straight into the starting team for tonight’s historic match against the Cheetahs – the first competitive game for a Scottish pro club in the Southern Hemisphere – as Rennie aims to extend their perfect start to the Guinness PRO14 while also laying the groundwork for next week’s European Champions Cup fixture.

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“It’s great to have Jonny [Gray] back,” said Rennie. “He is pretty excited. He was keen to come back last week but we want to make sure his body is alright, especially around contact.

“He is hugely important with his leadership, a former captain. I. have really noticed his influence from a line out perspective over the last few days as well. There is no doubt he is a bit of a talisman for this group and guys will follow him. He has a big role to support Ryan [Wilson] as captain.

“We have Exeter next week and we are keen to get some combinations going. We have a strong side on the field even although we have rested Scott Cummings and Lee Jones who have started every game including our two trials. It is important that get a decent amount of footy into Jonny, he may not play 80 minutes but will certainly be tested at attitude.”

While the game is a step into the unknown for most of the players it is familiar territory for Rennie himself, who thought he had finished with visits to South Africa when he left the Chiefs in New Zealand.

“We are fortunate in that both Phil [Healey] the trainer and I have spent a lot of time in Africa,” he pointed out. “I think we have prepared realy well] while the transition in the time slot is easier [than from New Zealand]. We put a lot of work into the boys. We are a fit side, we are not concerned about altitude.

“They are a big side. Discipline is going to be key because they are going to try to put us in the corners and their driving line out is the best in the competition. We will need to look after the ball, because they have so much pace out wide they can punish you. We need to look after the ball and build some pressure, that is key.”

Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson; T Seymour , N Grigg, S Johnson, L Sarto; F Russell, A Price; J Bhatti, F Brown, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, J Gray, R Wilson (C), C Gibbins, A Ashe. Replacements: G Turner, A Allan, D Rae, B Alainu’uese, R Harley, H Pyrgos, P Horne, N Matawalu.