As Glasgow prepare to take their Scotstoun bow in Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Scarlets (kick-off 7.35pm), head coach Gregor Townsend today backed his team to deliver the key ingredient for a successful opening night: a first Warriors win of the season.
The clash with the men from Llanelli sees Glasgow throw open the doors of their great new home for the first time, and Townsend is determined to ensure the hospitality does not extend to the visiting dressing room.
As well as looking to christen their new surroundings with a victory, the Warriors will seek to bounce back from the disappointment of an 18-10 defeat to recent Heineken Cup finalists Ulster in Belfast last week.
Townsend told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “Friday is a massive night for the whole of Glasgow Warriors: supporters, players, coaches and staff.
“A lot of hard work has gone into making the move to Scotstoun a reality, and we as team and coaching group want to do our bit to get things off to a flying start by recording a win.
“There will be a lot of emotion attached to the occasion with us taking up residence in our own home for the first time in our history, but we’ve got to make sure we keep our focus and play with discipline, precision and aggression.
“We want to get the great Glasgow crowd right behind us from the start, and there’s no doubt they’ll have their part to play.
“As Scarlets showed by beating Leinster last week, they’re a very talented and hard working side, so we know it’s going to take a concerted effort from all concerned to land the result we all want.”
Townsend today named his team for the game, including popular winger DTH van der Merwe in the starting line-up after a busy summer that saw him represent Canada and get married.
The other changes behind the scrum see Chris Cusiter and Ruaridh Jackson re-united at half-back.
Up front, meanwhile, there is an all-new front row in the shape of Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, and Moray Low, while John Barclay comes in at openside flanker.
Townsend explained: “As ever, we’ve selected a team with one objective in mind: winning the match. The quality and depth of our squad is reflected by the guys we’re able to bring in this week, all of whom know they have to deliver with so many other players breathing down their necks.
“That’s particularly the case in a position like wing. We’re delighted to welcome back DTH van der Merwe, an experienced, quality campaigner coming into the side in a role where Tommy Seymour performed very well last week.
“Similarly in the front row, we’re lucky to have a number of really good options. Ryan Grant and Moray Low both performed very well off the bench in Ulster, as did John Barclay, Chris Cusiter and Ruaridh Jackson, all of whom start this week.
“Ruaridh has applied himself excellently in training, working on various aspects of his game that will allow him to make even more of an impact.
“Duncan [Weir] wasn’t helped last week by the indiscipline we showed, and we’re well aware of how effective he can be when given a better platform.
“He and the other guys who will be on the bench come Friday have a massive role to play – we’ll be looking to them to have a similar impact to that produced by the replacements who came on against Ulster.
“To a man, the players are looking forward to getting out there and showing how proud they are to pull on a Glasgow Warriors shirt in the inspiring setting that our new stadium undoubtedly represents.
“Our off-field colleagues at the club and at Scottish Rugby have put in a lot of graft alongside Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council, and it’s great to have such a fantastic facility at our disposal as we continue to grow and develop.”
The Glasgow Warriors bench will be confirmed on Thursday.
With Scotstoun’s limited capacity and tickets selling fast, supporters are strongly advised to purchase their tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.??
Tickets purchased before Midnight on match-day (i.e. Thursday night into Friday morning) also offer a £5 saving on match-day adult, senior citizen and student prices.??
Reserved/allocated seating is in place in both the Main and North stands, with unreserved tickets available for the pitchside standing areas, located behind the posts at either end of the stadium.??
Tickets are available via www.glasgowwarriors.org and by calling 0844 800 3490.
??A full match-day info pack, featuring everything supporters need to know ahead of their first experience of a Warriors match-night at Scotstoun, is available in the “Scotstoun” section of www.glasgowwarriors.org.
GLASGOW WARRIORS TEAM TO PLAY SCARLETS IN THE RABODIRECT PRO12 AT SCOTSTOUN STADIUM ON FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER (KICK-OFF 7.35PM)
15 Peter Murchie
14 DTH van der Merwe
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Graeme Morrison
11 Sean Lamont
10 Ruaridh Jackson
9 Chris Cusiter
1 Ryan Grant
2 Pat MacArthur
3 Moray Low
4 Tom Ryder
5 Al Kellock
6 Rob Harley
7 John Barclay
8 Ryan Wilson
Substitutes from: Finlay Gillies, Dougie Hall, Mike Cusack, Gordon Reid, James Eddie, Chris Fusaro, Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir, Peter Horne, Byron McGuigan, Tommy Seymour.
Not considered for selection due to injury: Stuart Hogg (ankle), Ed Kalman (back), Rory Lamont (leg), Tim Swinson (face), Jon Welsh (shoulder), Scott Wight (groin).