A LONG-STANDING theory looks set to be put to the test, at least partly at Murrayfield tomorrow as a Scotland team containing a full back division of players from Glasgow Warriors takes to the field to start a Test match.

In rugby terms it is evocative of the Oxford three-quarter line which spear-headed Scotland’s first ever ‘Grand Slam’ victory close to a century ago.

Ahead of his first home Test match in charge of the team Gregor Townsend readily volunteered the philosophy behind that back line combination and also the inclusion of two distinctive front-row units, an Edinburgh trio in the starting line-up, their Warriors counterparts ready to take over from them to close out proceedings.

“We’ve probably known this team for a couple of weeks now,” he said.

“We explained that to the players on day one of camp that we wanted to make sure, with the short period we have, that this team trains a lot together.

“We’ve looked at cohesion within the group, so Glasgow back line, Edinburgh front row, players that know each other very well. It cuts down on the training time or the time you have to spend as a coach in what is already a limited preparation window.”

When invited to elaborate such was his enthusiasm for explaining a philosophy based on gaining a short-cut in terms of generating understanding within units, that after citing examples he had previously encountered in the Test arena, he seemed to realise he was almost in danger of giving too much away ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Samoa.

“The negative of coaching an international team is not coaching much, but you do get a spot of time to study international teams and cohesion was this word that kept coming back to us as a coaching group,” Townsend observed. “I remember back to times when I was playing that I think it was Warren Gatland’s first or second selection with Ireland and there were 13 out of the 15 Munster players playing.

“Gatland with Wales had 14 Ospreys out of the XV who took on England. Joe Schmidt’s first Ireland team had 11 or 12 Leinster players.

“So there are advantages, especially if it’s your first game, because these players don’t need much coaching. Tommy Seymour, Lee Jones and Stuart Hogg know what each other are going to do on a counter-attack.

“You don’t have to spend too much time on telling them: ‘You go there, you go there, this is what we’re looking for …’ Also they bring their own systems. There are things they’ve brought to us.

“I’m trying not to give away all our secrets but let’s say there’s a tap penalty move they’ve worked at Glasgow. ‘Great idea. You guys all know what you’re doing there. Let’s do that.’ It’s better than us bringing a move that is brand new to 15 players.”

The connection extends to the linkage between the base of the scrummage and the half-backs with Glasgow Warriors captain Ryan Wilson starting at No 8, albeit Townsend pointed out that there is one slightly misleading aspect to the one-club back line since one of their number has yet to make his debut for the Scotstoun-based club.

That, though, should make little difference because the player in question has already settled in quickly with his Scotland team-mates.

“They’ve been in great form. Huw Jones has not played a game for Glasgow yet, but he’s been in excellent form for Western Province, too. We want these guys to get on the ball as much as possible,” said Townsend.

It is the selection of the other centre that perhaps offers greater cause for concern since Alex Dunbar has made just a solitary appearance since having to undergo knee surgery early in the season.

“He’s trained really well,” Townsend said, however.

“He got 10 minutes less than we were probably expecting last week, picking up a yellow card, but maybe that will be a positive and he’ll be even fresher this weekend.”