Bhatti to make 50th appearance for Glasgow Warriors
Jamie Bhatti will bring up a half-century of appearances in Glasgow colours tomorrow afternoon, after the loose-head was named in the starting XV for the visit of the Emirates Lions to Scotstoun.
The 28-year-old – who scored his first try for the Warriors in last weekend’s 35-24 home victory over the Sharks – is part of a starting line-up showing four changes from Saturday’s encounter, as Danny Wilson’s side looks to make it back-to-back wins over South African opposition.
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An unchanged front-row sees Fraser Brown continue at hooker, with the club co-captain packing down between Bhatti and Murray McCallum for tomorrow afternoon’s clash.
Lewis Bean makes his first start of the 2021/22 season as the Army man comes into the second-row alongside Richie Gray, after Scott Cummings underwent surgery on a hand injury that will keep the Scotland international on the sidelines for six to eight weeks.
Rory Darge returns to the matchday 23 after missing the win over the Sharks, with the openside looking to build upon his Player of the Match-showing against Ulster in a back-row triumvirate completed by Ryan Wilson and Jack Dempsey.
The back division sees Jamie Dobie promoted to the starting XV for the first time this season, as the Inverness-born scrum-half forms a half-back combination with fly-half Ross Thompson.
Nick Grigg also comes in for his first start of the campaign, forming an all-Scotland centre partnership with last weekend’s Player of the Match, Sam Johnson.
For the third weekend in succession, the back three is unchanged, meaning Cole Forbes – fresh from his brace against the Sharks – will once again link up with Kyle Steyn and Rufus McLean.
The bench sees the return of the club’s most-capped player to the matchday 23, as Rob Harley brings his 252 appearances’ worth of experience to the squad.
At the other end of the experience spectrum, tight-head Murphy Walker retains his place amongst the replacements after making his professional debut last time out.
Johnny Matthews and Brad Thyer join Walker as the front-row cover, whilst George Horne and Sione Tuipulotu rotate to the bench after starting the opening two matches of the United Rugby Championship.
The replacements are rounded out by two players coming back into the fold after injury lay-offs; Duncan Weir returns to the squad after sitting out the Sharks victory with a head knock, whilst Matt Fagerson is in line for a first appearance since last season’s win over Leinster following successful arm surgery.
Speaking following selection, Head Coach Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org: “We’re looking forward to taking on another South African opposition tomorrow afternoon.
“Last week we played some really good rugby against the Sharks, finding a good balance between our kicking and running game. We scored some really good tries, but we took our foot off the pedal at around the 50th minute.
“This weekend against the Lions we’ll need to ensure we bring a complete performance and finish out the game strongly.
“We want to continue to build our strength in depth and tomorrow is another opportunity to do just that. We’re looking forward to seeing a different centre partnership in Nick [Grigg] and Sam [Johnson] run out this weekend and it’s great to welcome back Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson from injury.
“We’re up for the challenge the Lions will bring; they a big physical side and we’ll need to ensure our set piece is accurate.”
Glasgow Warriors team to face the Emirates Lions at Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 9 October, kick-off 3.05pm. You can follow the match live on Premier Sports 1 and our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
1. Jamie Bhatti (49)
2. Fraser Brown (111)
3. Murray McCallum (2)
4. Lewis Bean (7)
5. Richie Gray (63)
6. Ryan Wilson (194)
7. Rory Darge (5)
8. Jack Dempsey (2)
9. Jamie Dobie (22)
10. Ross Thompson (16)
11. Rufus McLean (11)
12. Sam Johnson (75)
13. Nick Grigg (91)
14. Kyle Steyn (33)
15. Cole Forbes (8)
16. Johnny Matthews (13)
17. Brad Thyer (2)
18. Murphy Walker (1)
19. Rob Harley (252)
20. Matt Fagerson (71)
21. George Horne (68)
22. Duncan Weir (108)
23. Sione Tuipulotu (2)
Unavailable for selection: Simon Berghan, Scott Cummings, Sebastian Cancelliere, Zander Fagerson, Oli Kebble, Tom Lambert, Kiran McDonald, Ewan McQuillin, Domingo Miotti, Ali Price, Ratu Tagive, George Turner.