Glasgow Warriors announced yesterday that they had recruited a second overseas back-row player in the space of one week in the shape of 31-year-old Samoan flanker TJ Ioane, who has been brought in on a loan deal from London Irish. His unveiling at Scotstoun came seven days after the signing of Tongan cap Fotu Lokotui, who was a free agent.

Iaone, who has played 25 time for Samoa since his debut in 2014, including two games against Scotland during the  2017 Autumn Test series and the 2019 World Cup in Japan, has joined the club with immediate effect.

“TJ is a great addition to our squad,” said Warriors head coach Danny Wilson. “He is a physical ball carrier who brings a huge amount of experience from his time in the Premiership and on the international stage.

“He can play across the back-row and will be a real asset to us as we look to overcome the recent disruption to our back-row stock and the upcoming international windows.”

While Glasgow are indeed stretched in the back-row at the moment, there is concern that money is being invested in oven-ready overseas players rather than using the current financial squeeze across the global rugby landscape as an opportunity to blood academy prospects such as Gregor Brown, who is aligned with Warriors, or Conor Boyle and Rory Darge, who are currently aligned with Edinburgh but could easily be re-assigned if required.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Mark Dodson announced at the start of August that there would swingeing budget cuts across all departments of the business in order to find £14million in savings required to combat the economic impact of the Covid crisis. Scotland’s professional players subsequently agreed to pay cuts as part of that programme.

Dodson also stated that a recruitment freeze was in place but did add the caveat that “if we have an incredible rash of injuries that makes a squad less competitive, then we’ll have to deal with that when we come to it.”

“Our ambition is that we must stay competitive,” he added. “If we don’t stay competitive at the top end of the game, then we won’t keep the best coaches and the best players.

It has since emerged that if Wilson at Glasgow and Richard Cockerill at Edinburgh can find savings in the budgets they started the season with then they are free to invest that on bringing new faces into their respective squads.

Warriors are set to be without Leone Nakarawa due to injury and international commitments until December, while flanker Tom Gordon missed last weekend’s PRO14 season opener because he was self-isolating as a precaution against a possible Covid exposure. Other back-rows in the senior squad are Matt Fagerson (likely to be away with Scotland during the Autumn window), Ryan Wilson, Chris Fusaro and Rob Harley (currently being deployed as a second-row).

Meanwhile, former Scotland Under-20s players Andrew Davidson and Marshall Sykes, who would have added some extra depth in the back two rows of the scrum, moved east to join Edinburgh during the summer.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join Glasgow Warriors and I’m really looking forward to working with this good group of boys," said Ioane. “Glasgow are an ambitious club, and everyone is very driven here.

“I’m excited to get the chance to play some footy for a club like Glasgow and I just want to help the team get the results I know we can achieve.”

Ioane was born in Samoa but moved to New Zealand aged eight. He made his breakthrough playing for Otago in the 2009 ITM Cup, before stepping up to Super Rugby with the Highlanders in 2013. He initially arrived in England to play for Sale Sharks in 2015 and switched to London Irish in 2018.

Warriors endured a frustrating start to their 2020-21 season on Saturday when lapses in concentration and discipline at key moments cost them the opportunity to claim a valuable win on the road against Connacht, although they did return from Galway with the consolation of a losing bonus point. They will look to bounce back against the Scarlets at Scotstoun on Sunday evening, which will be the last match they play before their internationalist head off to join the Scotland squad for the Autumn Test series.