Warriors eye kick start in Swansea summit
Glasgow Warriors will strive to pull together the positive elements of their first two RaboDirect PRO12 games and produce a more compelling all-round package when they face Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Friday (kick-off 7.05pm, live on BBC ALBA).
Like the reigning tournament champions, the Warriors are still on the trail of their first victory of the new campaign, having been narrowly edged out by Ulster in Belfast a fortnight ago, and by Scarlets at Scotstoun Stadium last Friday.
Glasgow significantly improved their discipline and set piece between the two games, but struggled to establish attacking momentum against Scarlets due to a high number of turnovers.
Gregor Townsend and his troops are well aware that all the pieces of the jigsaw will need to be in place if they are to deliver a repeat of the 26-20 success enjoyed on the club’s last visit to Swansea back in March.
The head coach said: “We’re clearly disappointed to have lost our opening two matches, and there’s a determination about the whole group to achieve a win this weekend.
“To do that away from home against a quality outfit like Ospreys, we know our performance will need to be spot on in all the key areas. In both the Ulster and Scarlets matches, we’ve done certain things very well, but haven’t been as accurate as we know we can be in other facets of the game.
“As well as ensuring we don’t turn the ball over as often this week, we’ll need to ensure our physicality is right up there.
“Ospreys have one of the most aggressive defensive lines in the competition, and they bring the same principles to the breakdown.
“We know our players are more than capable of matching that sort of relentlessness, and we’re heading to Swansea with confidence.”
There are six changes to the starting XV that ran out against the Scarlets.
With Pat MacArthur nursing a fractured foot and Moray Low a calf complaint, Dougie Hall starts at hooker and Mike Cusack at tight-head prop. In the back-row, John Barclay moves to blindside flanker with Chris Fusaro coming in at openside.
The backline switches see Duncan Weir replace Ruaridh Jackson at stand-off, Tommy Semour get the nod over Sean Lamont on the right wing, and Peter Horne (pictured) start at inside centre.
Townsend explained: “As a coaching group, we strongly believe this team has the necessary attributes to win Friday’s game.
“We’re sending out an experienced pack, and are happy with the balance of the combinations in there.
"John Barclay has played the majority of his rugby at openside, but he has significant, and recent, experience in the other back-row positions and we’ve every confidence he will bring his class to bear.
“Peter Horne has made an excellent case for selection with his form and appetite in training since the very start of pre-season, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he and Alex Dunbar produce as a pairing.
“Tommy Seymour is another player who has consistently put his hand up over the last few months, and we’re delighted to have a good number of strong options in the back three.
“As ever, the bench will have a big role to play in what is sure to be another intense contest. We have quality, experience and game-changing ability in there – all vital ingredients.
“We know this is going to be another very challenging match, but as a group, we’re primed to deliver the result that we and our supporters all want.”
GLASGOW WARRIORS TEAM TO PLAY OSPREYS
IN THE RABODIRECT PRO12 AT THE LIBERTY STADIUM ON FRIDAY 14 SEPTEMBER (KICK-OF 7.05pm, LIVE ON BBC ALBA)
15 Peter Murchie
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Duncan Weir
9 Chris Cusiter
1 Ryan Grant
2 Dougie Hall
3 Mike Cusack
4 Tom Ryder
5 Al Kellock (CAPTAIN)
6 John Barclay
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Ryan Wilson
16 Finlay Gillies
17 George Hunter
18 Gordon Reid
19 James Eddie
20 Angus Macdonald
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Ruaridh Jackson
23 Sean Lamont
Not considered for selection due to injury: Rob Harley (knee), Stuart Hogg (ankle), Ed Kalman (back), Rory Lamont (leg), Moray Low (calf), Pat MacArthur (foot), Tim Swinson (face), Jon Welsh (shoulder).