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ROB HARLEY does not believe beating Edinburgh will be enough to book a spot in Scotland’s World Cup squad — but leading Glasgow to the Pro14 title might be enough to claim his place on the plane to Japan.
Saturday’s Scotstoun showdown between Warriors and their city rivals will be the last chance for Gregor Townsend’s Dark Blue hopefuls to impress against their direct opponents ahead of this year’s finals.
But Harley does not reckon the Scotland coach will be basing his decision on who to take with him to the Far East on one game alone.
The 21-time capped flanker was overlooked for the 2015 World Cup in England but is desperate to take part this year, where the Scots will face Ireland, Samoa, Russia and the hosts in the group stages when the competition gets under way in September.
And he says the best way to do that is to prove he can perform when it comes to the crunch such as this weekend’s meeting, where Glasgow will be seeking a win against Richard Cockerill’s men to guarantee a home semi-final, and the huge clashes to come.
“World Cup selection probably plays a bit of a factor in the game on Saturday but it’s more for the selectors and coaches to worry about that the players,” insisted Harley.
“We just need to concentrate on playing well for our clubs. We’ve got the chance potentially over the next three games to win the title so we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“It would be nice to go to Japan but you do that by putting yourself in the best spot by playing well over the course of the last few games of the season.
“Rather than saying it comes down to this one game, I think you put your hand up for selection over a longer period.
“And there would be no better statement for the guys at Glasgow to go on and perform well over the next few games.”
Edinburgh are still in the hunt for a play-off spot but realistically need a bonus-point victory against Warriors while also hoping that Benetton slip up against fellow Italians Zebre.
Assistant coach Jason O’Halloran expects their capital rivals to come out all guns blazing, leaving Harley worried: “It is more dangerous for us. Both teams have a lot to play for and it means this is a huge match for both of us.”
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