Almost exactly two years to the day since they emerged victorious on their first visit to the Cardiff City Stadium, Glasgow Warriors will seek another big away day success when they play the Blues in the RaboDirect PRO12 this Saturday (kick-off 6.30pm, live on S4C).
Sean Lineen’s team are looking to put the disappointment of last week’s narrow home defeat to Benetton Treviso well behind them, and add a Welsh scalp to the Leinster one landed in Dublin a fortnight ago.
The Warriors haven’t won in the Principality since a victory over Scarlets in May 2010, but will take confidence from memories of the fantastic 21-9 success recorded at Cardiff City Stadium on 3 October 2009.
One of the Glasgow try scorers that day, Johnnie Beattie, will make his first start of the season on Saturday evening, having had a 22-minute run-out off the bench in the Treviso game.
That change (Beattie replacing Ryan Wilson at No.8) is one of nine made by Lineen for the trip to southern Wales, the head coach having taken the opportunity to freshen up his side.
Kiwi lock Rob Verbakel (pictured), recently arrived in Scotland after playing a key role in Otago’s ITM Cup campaign, is to make his debut in the boiler house. An all-new front row will see Gordon Reid make a first competitive Warriors start at loose-head, Finlay Gillies return to the hooker berth, and Mike Cusack come back in at tight-head.
In the back row, meanwhile, captain Rob Harley moves from blindside flanker to the openside, with James Eddie set to don the number six jersey.
In the backs, Colin Gregor comes in for Henry Pyrgos at scrum-half, and Tommy Seymour makes a first start on the wing since suffering a back injury in the wake of the opening night trip to Ulster. Rob Dewey will begin the game at outside centre, a role he was due to perform against Treviso before being forced to withdraw shortly before kick-off because of a tight groin.
Lineen today called on his remodelled team to prove they have taken cognisance of the causes of last week’s defeat by ensuring there is no repeat against the Blues.
He told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “Everyone at the club was hugely disappointed with how we followed up that great win against Leinster, and I’m confident we’ll see the fruits of that frustration in Cardiff on Saturday night.
“There’s been a real edge to training all week, and a clear understanding from the players that, against Treviso, they fell well short of the standards they set themselves in Dublin.
“I’ve been really impressed with the response from the guys, and I’m looking forward to seeing them translate the hunger and hurt that have been there these past few days into a winning performance come the weekend.”
On the changes to his starting XV, Lineen said: “We’ve had four really tough, physical battles to start the season, and we feel it’s the right time to shuffle our pack and give guys who have been knocking on the door an opportunity to show their worth.
“I’ve been very pleased with how Rob Verbakel has integrated into the group in the couple of weeks he’s been here, and his partnership with Tom Ryder will hopefully bring a lot to our game. Nick Campbell has been excellent in the second row, but he’s still young and we need to manage his workload carefully so that we get the best out of him over the course of the season.
“Gordon Reid has settled in well since stepping up to a full-time contract in the summer, and we’ll be looking to him and Mike Cusack to help establish the sort of set-piece platform that’s so crucial to the sort of game we want to play.
“Johnnie [Beattie] did well off the bench last weekend, and is raring for a start, Colin Gregor gives us a great deal of experience at half-back, while Tommy Seymour had really hit the ground running as a Warrior before picking up that injury. It’s great to have him back in harness for what is going to be another extremely difficult game.
“We’ve won at this ground before so we know we’re up to the task, but we’re under no illusions that it will take a much better performance than last week to come away with the result that we and our supporters all want.”
GLASGOW WARRIORS TEAM TO PLAY CARDIFF BLUES IN THE RABODIRECT PRO12 AT CARDIFF CITY STADIUM ON SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER (KICK-OFF 6.30PM, LIVE ON S4C)
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Rob Dewey
12 Troy Nathan
11 Colin Shaw
10 Duncan Weir
9 Colin Gregor
1 Gordon Reid
2 Finlay Gillies
3 Mike Cusack
4 Rob Verbakel
5 Tom Ryder
6 James Eddie
7 Rob Harley (captain)
8 Johnnie Beattie
16 Pat MacArthur
17 Ryan Grant
18 Ed Kalman
19 Rory Pitman
20 Ryan Wilson
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Alex Dunbar
23 Peter Horne
Not considered due to injury: Calum Forrester (knee), Dave McCall (hamstring), Peter Murchie (shoulder), Fergus Thomson (shoulder), Jon Welsh (ankle).
Full match coverage from Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors will be available on the club’s online home, www.glasgowwarriors.org, with live score updates via our official Twitter feed @glasgowwarriors