There are both team and personal landmarks on the horizon for Glasgow Warriors in tomorrow night’s clash with Dragons at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).
Having won their last five RaboDirect PRO12 matches, Gregor Townsend’s side can establish a new club record for the most consecutive tournament victories in a single season.
For several Warriors, the import of the occasion will not stop there. Taylor Paris, the youngest player ever capped by Canada at both 7s and 15s, will make his Glasgow debut on the wing, while Argentina prop German Araoz is also in line for his first involvement off the bench.
Ryan Wilson, one of the most consistent performers in the Warriors ranks over the last two years, will celebrate his 50th appearance for the club if and when he appears as a replacement. The side will be captained by his fellow back-rower Chris Fusaro, who skippered Glasgow to victory against Zebre in September.
For the first time this season, the Warriors game is not on TV this week and as such the only way for supporters to see the action live is in person at Scotstoun Stadium.
Head coach Townsend told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “As ever, there is a lot at stake in tomorrow’s match. First and foremost, we know we have to win to maintain our momentum in the RaboDirect PRO12 and consolidate our position in the table ahead of the November break.
“To do that, we’ll need everyone at the top of their game once more. It’s about being very accurate in contact and ensuring our set piece is spot on, so that we can control the pace of the game.
“Dragons will pose questions all over the field, and we’ll have to work extremely hard and effectively to play the game on our own terms.”
There are seven changes to the Warriors side that ran out for the 24-13 win away to Benetton Treviso last Saturday, a number of them owing to players’ involvement with Scotland ahead of the first EMC Test against New Zealand next Sunday.
In the backline, Troy Nathan will make his first start of the season at inside centre, with Alex Dunbar moving out one to 13. With Paris on the wing, Niko Matawalu switches to scrum-half, while Scott Wight, named RaboDirect Man of the Match for his late contribution in Italy, starts at stand-off.
The other four changes come in the pack. Gordon Reid lines up at loose-head prop, with Tim Swinson joining forces with Tom Ryder in the second row. Josh Strauss comes into the back row at No.8, with Fusaro at openside.
Townsend said: “Considering we’ve had 13 players away with Scotland this week, we’ve been able to name another very strong side to tackle the Dragons.
“I’m excited about the potential of the half-back pairing of Niko and Scott, both of whom were excellent in Treviso, while Taylor has worked hard in training and in his games with Dundee and deserves an opportunity.
“Chris Fusaro is a great option for us to have as captain when Al Kellock isn’t available, and our strength in depth in the back row is reflected both by the guys who are starting this week and those we have on the bench.
“I’ll be delighted for Ryan when he hits 50 appearances. He’s a great professional with a lot of potential, and a real asset for the club. With Friday night’s game not on TV, it would be terrific to have another big crowd behind us for what is a vital encounter.”
Great Main and North stand seats for the game are now on sale online via www.glasgowwarriors.org and by calling 0844 800 3490. Tickets are also available for the covered East Terrace that was put in place for the recent Ulster match.
Book before midnight on match-day (i.e. Thursday night into Friday morning) to save £5 on match-day adult, student and senior citizen prices.
GLASGOW WARRIORS TEAM TO PLAY DRAGONS IN THE RABODIRECT PRO12 AT SCOTSTOUN STADIUM ON FRIDAY 2 NOVEMBER (KICK-OFF 7.30PM)
15 Peter Murchie
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Troy Nathan
11 Taylor Paris
10 Scott Wight
9 Niko Matawalu
1 Gordon Reid
2 Dougie Hall
3 Mike Cusack
4 Tom Ryder
5 Tim Swinson
6 Rob Harley
7 Chris Fusaro (CAPTAIN)
8 Josh Strauss
16 Finlay Gillies
17 Ofa Fainga’anuku
18 German Araoz
19 James Eddie
20 John Barclay
21 Ryan Wilson
22 Sean Kennedy
23 Peter Horne
Not considered for selection due to injury: Chris Cusiter (shoulder), Ed Kalman (back), Rory Lamont (leg), Sean Lamont (face), Moray Low (knee), Pat MacArthur (foot), Angus Macdonald (neck), Byron McGuigan (ribs), Graeme Morrison (knee), DTH van der Merwe (hamstring), Jon Welsh (shoulder), Duncan Weir (knee).