Nigel Carolan says the Glasgow Warriors squad have had some uncomfortable experiences in training this week whilst preparing to face the Stormers’ blitz defence on Sunday, but the assistant coach believes the players will be ready to exploit the gaps created by their opponents’ ferocious approach to closing down space come kick-off time.

“The Stormers are so different to every other team you play against, not only are they the reigning champions but they defend in a way which is different,” he said. “They bring an unbelievable amount of line speed, it’s almost reckless, and you really need to earn the right to find the space. You do that by taking them through a number of phases and then opportunities will open up.

“It is a great challenge which is really focusing the minds of not only the coaches but also the players.

“We’ve challenged the ‘other team’ to create that picture and simulate as much as possible how hard that line speed comes during our training runs this week. It makes it really difficult because you have less time on ball, but you can have a lot of opportunities if you manage to get the ball away in time.

“Yesterday was very uncomfortable but today they are starting to see what works to exploit the space, and with another session on Friday they will be well prepped come Sunday.”

Warriors are on a five-match winning streak and Carolan said this was particularly pleasing because it had been achieved whilst rotating the squad regularly, meaning that there is now a surfeit of players who are match fit and in form all competing for places.

Better still, a number of key men who have been side-lined through injury in recent weeks are closing in on their return dates, creating some really positive selection headaches, especially in midfield.

“You have Sione Tuipulotu, you have Stafford McDowall in the form of his life, you have Huw Jones, who had tremendous games against Bath and Perpignan and is raring for his next opportunity, and you have Sam Johnson, who has been injured since Sharks [in mid-October] also knocking on the door and training well,” said Carolan.

“So, you have four guys all looking for selection in the two centre slots and we can play any combination of the four. They don’t have bad games, so it is difficult to manage their expectations of game-time – but it’s not a bad headache.

“Meanwhile, Rory Darge is back running so not too far away. We’re very hopeful that he’ll be back within a month. Hopefully he will return early Six Nations. Scott Cummings is progressing his rehab as well. Zander Fagerson is doing very well too. It might be too late for us for this block of games, but hopefully Scotland will benefit from their return.”