Glasgow Warriors return to Firhill for the second time in a fortnight and will be looking to follow-up last weekend’s win over Benetton Treviso with victory over play-off chasing Ulster tomorrow night (Friday 25 March, kick-off 8.05pm).
The Warriors welcome international stand-off Ruaridh Jackson and flanker Richie Vernon back from the Scotland camp following the RBS 6 Nations Championship and winger DTH van der Merwe, who signed a new two-year-deal this week, has recovered from a wrist injury.
Looking back on last week’s result, head coach Sean Lineen said: “The players were delighted to get the win over Treviso. It was a very hard game against big physical men and to get that victory was really encouraging. The team spirit was strong and to score three tries was very good.”
Although Ulster’s Irish internationalists have been named among those available for selection this week, it is their overseas players that Lineen feels could have a bigger say in the match.
“There could be one or two guys back from the Ireland camp,” he said, “but the strength of the Ulster team is in their foreigners. Pedrie Wannenburg, Johann Muller and one certain Ruan Pienaar are phenomenal players. But we’ve just got to control what we can.”
In the backs, Van der Merwe and Jackson replace Hefin O’Hare and Duncan Weir respectively – both of whom drop to the bench.
In the forwards, Rob Harley moves up into the second row in place of Tom Ryder who is unavailable due to a thigh injury. As a result, James Eddie slots into the blindside role.
Ryan Wilson retains his place at openside whilst Vernon comes in for Johnnie Beattie.
On the decision to drop Beattie from a solid back-row performance last weekend, Lineen explained: “It’s more to do with the balance. I thought Johnnie had a much improved game last weekend but players like Ryan Wilson and Rob Harley were outstanding. They are setting the tone at the moment.”
Glasgow Warriors team to play Ulster in the Magners League at Firhill Stadium on Friday 25 March (kick-off 8.05pm)
15 Bernardo Stortoni
14 DTH van der Merwe
13 Federico Aramburu
12 Peter Murchie
11 Alex Dunbar
10 Ruaridh Jackson
9 Colin Gregor CAPTAIN
1 Jon Welsh
2 Fergus Thomson
3 Moray Low
4 Aly Muldowney
5 Robert Harley
6 James Eddie
7 Ryan Wilson
8 Richie Vernon
Substitutes: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Kevin Tkachuk, 18 Ryan Grant, 19 Chris Fusaro, 20 Johnnie Beattie, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Hefin O’Hare
Unavailable for selection: John Barclay (rested), Chris Cusiter (knee), Rob Dewey (knee), Max Evans (ankle), James Fleming (knee), Calum Forrester (knee), Richie Gray (rested), Dougie Hall (shoulder), Stuart Hogg (shoulder), Ed Kalman (back), Alastair Kellock (rested), Murray McConnell (back), Graeme Morrison (knee), Tom Ryder (thigh), Colin Shaw (knee).