Glasgow Warriors will look to give their supporters the perfect introduction to the newly rebranded RaboDirect PRO12 competition by beating reigning tournament champions Munster at Firhill on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
Head coach Sean Lineen today called on his men to give the Warriors crowd another huge early-season scalp to be proud of, Glasgow having beaten Leinster and the men from Limerick in the respective first home games of each of the last two seasons.
Lineen wants a repeat of the courage and resolve his men showed against Ulster in Belfast last Friday, but no recurrence of the soft tries that ultimately cost them the game.
He told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “We were disappointed not to win at Ravenhill, because certain aspects of our performance were definitely at the sort of level you need to get a positive result in a place like that.
“Where we let ourselves down was in gifting them preventable scores, and we know we can’t allow Munster anything like the same leeway on Friday. If we tighten up on the individual errors and show the same application and invention that were there against Ulster, we’ll put ourselves in with a serious chance of sending the fans home happy.
“Our recent early season record at home is something we can take heart from, and I sense a real hunger there among the guys to produce a performance and result that sets the tone for the rest of this campaign.”
Lineen has made four changes to his starting XV for the match. Loose-head prop Jon Welsh picked up an ankle injury in the Ulster game and Ryan Grant, who was part of the wider Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup, comes into the front row as a result.
In the boiler house, meanwhile, Tom Ryder will pack down beside Nick Campbell, the Scottish Rugby Elite Development lock who will be making his first start for the club. Captain Rob Harley switches from second row to blindside flanker, with James Eddie moving to the bench.
The backline from Belfast is retained en-masse, save for a personnel change at scrum-half, where Colin Gregor makes way for Henry Pyrgos, and an injury-enforced switch on the wing, Federico Aramburu replacing Tommy Seymour, who has a back complaint.
Lineen continued: “I’m pleased for Nick and Henry, because they’re both players who work hard at their game and show an appetite to improve. Nick will benefit from having an experienced customer like Tom in there with him, while Henry has a season of professional rugby under his belt now and will offer us good control and game understanding at half-back.
“It’s disappointing to lose Tommy, as he’s looked pretty sharp in the games he’s had, but Fede is a very capable replacement who’s calm under pressure and knows the standards you have to hit against quality opponents such as Munster."
Glasgow supporters who commit to a season ticket before the game are being entered into a draw to win one of five pairs of high-end hospitality at the glamour Heineken Cup opener against Bath at Firhill on Sunday 13 November. The winners of the competition will be announced at Friday’s match.
Lineen said: “The Warriors crowd are absolutely second to none when it comes to backing the team, and we want to give them every reason to keep coming back with the performances and results we produce.
“Our aim is to go out there on Friday and show the fans that we’re just as passionate as them about wearing the Glasgow colours, and we thank them in advance for their support.”
Match tickets (AnyGame vouchers) for Friday's game, are available by calling 0844 800 3490, by visiting www.glasgowwarriors.org or at Firhill on the night. Adults £15 (£20 on match-day), students/senior citizens £10, under-18s £5.
GLASGOW WARRIORS TEAM TO PLAY MUNSTER IN RABODIRECT PRO12 AT FIRHILL ON FRIDAY 9 SEPTEMBER (KICK-OFF 7.30PM)
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Federico Aramburu
13 Rob Dewey
12 Troy Nathan
11 Colin Shaw
10 Duncan Weir
9 Henry Pyrgos
1 Ryan Grant
2 Pat MacArthur
3 Mike Cusack
4 Tom Ryder
5 Nick Campbell
6 Rob Harley (captain)
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Ryan Wilson
16 Finlay Gillies
17 Ed Kalman
18 Gordon Reid
19 James Eddie
20 Rory Pitman
21 Colin Gregor
22 Scott Wight
23 Peter Horne
Not considered due to injury: Johnnie Beattie (knee), Alex Dunbar (knee), Calum Forrester (knee), Dave McCall (hand), Peter Murchie (shoulder), Tommy Seymour (back), Fergus Thomson (shoulder), Jon Welsh (ankle).