Graeme Morrison will make his first start for Glasgow Warriors since October, as the Warriors prepare to welcome Italian side Benetton Treviso to Scotstoun on Friday night (4 January, kick-off 7.30pm)
Morrison, back to full fitness following rehabilitation on a knee injury, made a substitute appearance in the Heineken Cup against Castres at the start of December and will form part of a reshuffled back line from last week’s win away at Edinburgh.
One of four changes to the starting XV in total, he lines up alongside Alex Dunbar, who is also making his return from injury.
Tommy Seymour is restored to the wing in place of Sean Maitland while Stuart Hogg retains his place at full-back
Ruaridh Jackson starts at stand-off for the fourth game in a row, with Henry Pyrgos partnering him at half-back.
DTH van der Merwe, who became the club’s leading league try-scorer with a double against Edinburgh at Scotstoun, keeps his spot on the left-wing.
With back-to-back wins against Edinburgh in the bag, Warriors are looking to make it three in a row against a Treviso side who are on a winning run, having triumphed twice in their own local derby against Zebre over the festive period.
Head coach Gregor Townsend said: “It’s fantastic to have Graeme and Alex back starting for the team and it gives us yet more options in the midfield to add to an already deep list of talent.
“Alex was in fine form until he suffered his injury and it will be great to see him getting back to that level of performance.
“Everyone knows exactly what kind of influence Graeme can have on a match and against a tough side like Treviso, it’s great to have someone of his experience at inside-centre.
“The selection this week again highlights the quality available to us as coaches and the fact that even with three changes to the back-line, it’s still a very strong line-up.”
There are minimal changes in the pack, with the heavy-hitting back row of Rob Harley, Josh Strauss and last week’s man of the match, Ryan Wilson, again reunited.
In the second row, Tim Swinson comes in for Tom Ryder to partner captain Al Kellock. Ryan Grant, Doug Hall and Moray Low, hugely impressive in the scrum against Edinburgh, will again pack down together for the tough Treviso test.
Townsend continued: “We were disappointed not to have picked up bonus points in both our games against Edinburgh and although defensively we were superb, and our scrum was a real weapon for us, there are still areas we need to improve upon.
“Our discipline needs to be better and all the players know that there are chances we should have taken in terms of scoring tries in the last couple of games.
“With so many players returning back from injury the strength of the squad is good and it’s important that the whole group is constantly striving to find ways to improve as a team.
“We’re right in the mix in the PRO12, with just a couple of points separating five teams so we know that every match from now on is a big occasion and we will relish each challenge as they come along.”
The RaboDirect PRO12 match against Benetton Treviso is not being televised, so the only place to watch the game is in person at Scotstoun Stadium (Friday, 4 January, kick-off 7.30pm).
You can get your tickets by calling the ticket hotline on 0844 800 3490 or buying online. You can save a fiver on the cost of the matchday ticket by buying before midnight the day before the game.