If Munster lose to the Sharks in this evening’s 5.15pm match in Durban, then it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for Glasgow Warriors if they also slip up at home to Connacht in the 7.35pm game because that would allow Connacht to jump ahead of Munster into fifth place in the URC table at the end of the regular season.

Glasgow are already guaranteed fourth place, meaning they have a home draw against the fifth-ranked team in the play-off semi-finals, and, all things considered, hosting Connacht again instead of Munster in a one-off knock-out match is a far more attractive proposition. But head coach Franco Smith was in no mood to consider such permutations when naming a strong side – with only a few key men rested – for his team’s final league game.

“This match has got huge significance,” he asserted. “We don’t want to lose at home, we want to take momentum into the weeks that are ahead for us.

“We’re not taking our foot off the pedal. Winning is a habit that needs to be nurtured and grown every week. We still need to improve.”

“In the build-up to the finals process, we need everyone to be match fit, everyone to be injury free, everyone to be enthusiastic even in training during the week and everyone to be best prepared,” he added. “We need enough depth in every role so that if something happens or if there are injury concerns in the next six weeks, we have people ready to come straight in.

“Now we have turned the wheel, the competition to start in the finals becomes more. All the players have thrown the kitchen sink at everything we have asked from them, so it’s important now that we keep on turning the wheel to make sure we don’t take our foot off the pedal too early.”

With club captain Kyle Steyn reasted, centre Stafford McDowall once again takes over captaincy of the side. Meanwhile, in the pack, Zander and Matt Fagerson as well as Jamie Bhatti drop to the bench, but that is offset by the return to the starting XV of experienced internationalists such as Jack Dempsey, Richie Gray, Scott Cummings, Fraser Brown and

Alan Dell.

Nine players in total are listed as injured – including Sione Tuipulotu, who has been one of Glasgow and Scotland’s best performers this season – but Smith stated that he is hopeful that the centre and a few other key men will come back into contention for next weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final against the Scarlets in Llanelli.

“Sintu Manjezi, Sebastian Cancelliere, Sione Tuipulotu and George Turner are all close to a return,” he said. “If it was a Test match they could have been involved this week. There are a lot of guys coming back from injury which will make selection even more interesting next week.”

Meanwhile, Smith played down press speculation linking him with the South Africa head coach job.

The reigning world champions are currently coached by Jacques Nienaber, who recently announced that he is moving to Leinster after this Autumn’s World Cup, and Smith – who was capped nine times by the Springboks during his playing days in the 1990s – was identified earlier this week by legendary South African second-row Victor Matfield.

But Smith insisted yesterday that his focus is 100 percent on the long-term project he started when he joined Glasgow Warriors last summer.

“For me it is a compliment to be mentioned,” he said. “I had a good experience with South Africa a few years ago but now my focus is on what is happening here. It is a long-term process so, fantastic to be mentioned, but, for now, I don’t want any distractions from what I want to do with Glasgow.”

Smith was tight-lipped when asked about the departure from the club on Thursday by mutual consent of winger Walter Fifita, with the decision based on “performance, a lack of game time, and an ongoing personal legal matter” according to a statement issued by Warriors at the time.

“I am not going to go too much into that,” he said. “Walter was, from a rugby perspective, not in our plans at the moment and this is a chance to give him a chance to go play somewhere else.”