GLASGOW WARRIORS head coach Dave Rennie has admitted there were some stern words spoken to his players in the aftermath of their thrashing by Dragons last weekend, but he remains confident his side can turn their fortunes around.

Warriors face Southern Kings at Scotstoun this evening and Rennie has made sweeping changes to his starting line-up in an attempt to kick-start his side’s season.

They have been in something of a slump this campaign, winning only one of their opening four matches. But with the internationalists now back from the Rugby World Cup, Rennie has wasted little time in reintroducing them into his squad.

Six players who have returned from Japan will make their first appearance of the season for Warriors, with the head coach making seven changes to the team who were so disappointing against Dragons.

Five Scotland internationalists come back into the fold as Zander Fagerson comes in to replace Adam Nicol, while George Horne, Adam Hastings and Pete Horne also return.

George Turner is named in the replacements, and DTH van der Merwe will start following his World Cup campaign with Canada. Tim Swinson comes into the squad in place of Adam Ashe, who has sustained a head knock.

It has been a tough season so far for Warriors’ fans, but Rennie is optimistic that his side can rediscover the form that saw them reach the final last season.

“We had a pretty brutal review on Monday,” he said.

“From then on though, it has all been about being positive.

“We're disappointed because we've been training well and preparing well but not performing well enough. Last week we had twice the number of line breaks the Dragons had, twice the tackle breaks but we also had twice the errors. That hurt us. We've conceded six tries in the last three games and four of them have been when we were in possession. That tells a story. We need to be better in that area but I don't think we're far off.”

Warriors had a significant challenge in trying to make up for their internationalists being on World Cup duty and so Rennie is clearly pleased to see them back. And he believes the returning players can make an immediate impact.

“It has been great [having them back], they're full of energy and enthusiasm and bring a lot of experience,” he said.

“When you have George Horne, Adam Hastings and Peter Horne out there, there's a lot of communication, which has probably been missing a bit.”

Rennie is quick to stress though that there have been some shining lights while the internationalists have been absent, singling out two players in particular for praise.

“Kiran [McDonald] has been outstanding for us, he has always been a good athlete but he has brought a lot of edge to his game,” said Rennie.

“He has been really good so we are keen to give him another crack.

Likewise with others, Glenn Bryce carried really strongly last week and was really assertive.”

Rennie anticipates that all the internationalists will be back on the training pitch next week, with one exception. Jonny Gray is being afforded a slightly longer recovery period and the Glasgow coach is hopeful that will pay dividends in the long run.

“It is cumulative. He did not play a lot of footie before the World Cup because of injury but he has played a lot for us and long term, from a Scottish perspective with the Six Nations and a pretty challenging summer tour, he is being managed a little longer," he said.

"He will have six weeks out and I anticipate him being back in time to face Leinster prior to Europe round three.”