Glasgow Warriors will be going all out to claim a first win in their new home, Scotstoun Stadium, when they square up to Connacht on Friday night (kick-off 7.35pm).
Gregor Townsend’s team head into the game fresh from beating reigning RaboDirect PRO12 champions Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium last Friday, and will be looking to banish memories of the 18-13 Scotstoun reverse they suffered at the hands of Scarlets a fortnight ago.
Glasgow won the most recent meeting between the teams 24-3 at Firhill back in May, their single success in the last four head-to-heads.
Head coach Townsend is expecting another tough encounter this time round. He told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “Connacht are a battle-hardened, very proud unit whose defeat to tournament leaders Scarlets last weekend didn’t reflect how well they performed in the game.
“Our recent record against them underlines just how disciplined, aggressive and accurate a performance will be required to follow up our excellent win over Ospreys with another victory this weekend.
“As a group, we are really energised by the opportunity to give our supporters a first win at Scotstoun, but are fully aware of what it will take to bring about a positive result.”
Townsend’s starting XV for the game shows four changes to that which ran out in Swansea.
In the backs, Sean Lamont comes in for Tommy Seymour on the wing and Henry Pyrgos (pictured) replaces shoulder injury victim Chris Cusiter at scrum-half.
Up front, meanwhile, Moray Low has recovered from a calf complaint to start at tight-head prop. Ryan Wilson, who missed the Ospreys game to be present at the birth of his daughter Ava, resumes his No.8 duties, with flanker Chris Fusaro rested for this match.
Tim Swinson, a key summer signing from Newcastle Falcons, could make his competitive Warriors debut off the bench after recovering from a facial injury sustained in the pre-season friendly against Sale Sharks.
Stand-off Scott Wight and centre Troy Nathan are also set for their first action of the campaign, with both having been included among the replacements.
Townsend explained: “This is another strong team we’re sending out. We’re clearly disappointed to lose a scrum-half of the calibre of Chris Cusiter for what looks likely to be a significant period of time, but Henry Pyrgos is a player who works very hard on his game, and we’ll also be welcoming [Fiji international] Niko Matawalu to the fold in the next few days.
“Both individually and collectively, the pack performed well last week in Swansea, and we’ll be looking to them to bring the same relentlessness to the set-piece and contact area on Friday.
“It’s great for us that Tim Swinson has recovered from his injury. He’s a quality second row with considerable experience and nous, and we’re looking forward to seeing him at work.
“Scott Wight has been pushing hard for an opportunity, and we’ve made it clear from the start of pre-season that it’s very much a three-way battle between him, Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson for the number 10 jersey.
“As ever in this competition, we need 23 players at the top of their game come Friday night. We’re firmly focussed on the challenge of beating Connacht and are relishing the prospect of getting back out there in front of our own supporters.”
Before Friday’s game, there will be a moment’s silence in memory of Nevin Spence, the Ulster player who tragically passed away last week along with his father and brother. The players from both teams will also wear black armbands.
Tickets for the match are on sale now via www.glasgowwarriors.org and by calling 0844 800 3490 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).
Standing tickets are also available in store at the Gordon Street and Sauchiehall Street branches of Greaves Sports, our official retail partner.
Tickets purchased in advance give supporters a better choice of seats, and also offer a £5 saving on match-day adult, student and senior citizen prices.
Turnstiles will be open from 6pm on Friday, as will the stadium bars and the Glasgow Warriors Clubhouse at the north-east corner of the stadium.
The under-16s of Falkirk and Stirling County will be taking to the IRB-approved 3G surface adjacent to the main pitch for a curtain raiser game from 6pm, when the Kids Zone rugby inflatable challenges will also be rolled out at the west end of the stadium.
All under-18s are welcome to try their hand at the inflatables, collect some Warrior signatures and pick up a 2012/13 team poster. The Kids Zone will run until 7.15pm.
There will be a separate autograph session post-match in the standing area at the east end of the stadium.
GLASGOW WARRIORS TEAM TO PLAY CONNACHT IN THE RABODIRECT PRO12 AT SCOTSTOUN STADIUM ON FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER (KICK-OFF 7.35pm)
15 Peter Murchie
14 Sean Lamont
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Duncan Weir
9 Henry Pyrgos
1 Ryan Grant
2 Dougie Hall
3 Moray Low
4 Tom Ryder
5 Al Kellock (CAPTAIN)
6 James Eddie
7 John Barclay
8 Ryan Wilson
16 Finlay Gillies
17 Mike Cusack
18 Gordon Reid
19 Tim Swinson
20 Angus Macdonald
21 Sean Kennedy
22 Scott Wight
23 Troy Nathan
Not considered for selection due to injury: Chris Cusiter (scrum-half), Rob Harley (knee), Stuart Hogg (ankle), Ed Kalman (back), Rory Lamont (leg), Pat MacArthur (foot), Graeme Morrison (knee), Jon Welsh (shoulder)