Eight changes for Connacht encounter

Eight changes for Connacht encounter

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson has named a starting XV containing 12 internationals ahead of the resumption of the United Rugby Championship this weekend, as his side travels to Galway to take on Connacht tomorrow afternoon.

The visitors will be looking to bounce back from their Heineken Champions Cup exit last weekend, as attentions turn to chasing down the three sides above them in the URC standings.

Enrique Pieretto comes into the starting lineup in place of Zander Fagerson at tight-head, with the Argentinian international joining up with Oli Kebble and co-captain Fraser Brown in the front-row.

The second-row sees Kiran McDonald pair up with Richie Gray, the latter currently leading the league in lineout steals with seven to his name to date this season.

Jack Dempsey continues at number eight as he looks to add to his URC-topping 52 carries in the season thus far, as Thomas Gordon – coming in for his first appearance since the victory over the Ospreys at Scotstoun earlier this month – and co-captain Ryan Wilson complete the back-row.

A new half-back combination sees George Horne line up at scrum-half, with Duncan Weir coming into the side for his first start since October’s meeting with Leinster at Scotstoun.

Sione Tuipulotu shifts from outside to inside centre for the trip to Galway, a shift that sees Kyle Steyn move into the midfield to start in the number 13 shirt.

Ollie Smith’s impressive try-scoring cameo off the bench against La Rochelle sees the former Ayr man selected at full-back, joining fellow former Scotland U20 star Rufus McLean and Argentinian flyer Sebastian Cancelliere in a back three packed with pace.

The bench sees Simon Berghan continue as the replacement tight-head, having made his first Glasgow Warriors appearance since the opening round of the URC last weekend after recovering from injury.

Johnny Matthews and Jamie Bhatti join Berghan as the front-row reinforcements, whilst Lewis Bean returns to the matchday 23 after missing last weekend’s clash with La Rochelle.

Ally Miller provides cover in the back-row, the former Scotland 7s star joining Scotland scrum-half Jamie Dobie amongst the replacements.

Ross Thompson rotates to the bench after seven consecutive starts at fly-half, whilst Stafford McDowall completes the matchday squad after his first selection since October’s victory away to Zebre Parma.

Speaking following selection, Head Coach Danny Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org: “We’re looking forward to resuming our league campaign tomorrow afternoon.

“We know the conditions we could face at The Sportsground and how Connacht like to play, and we’re ready for the challenge they present.

“Connacht are a side who have played well recently and are very consistent at home.

“We welcome back a couple of guys coming back to us at the end of the week from Scotland camp.

“The boy have trained well and we look forward to the challenge.”

Glasgow Warriors team to face Connacht at The Sportsground, Saturday 29 January, kick-off 2.55pm, live on Premier Sports 1. You can also follow all the action as it happens in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.

1. Oli Kebble (67)
2. Fraser Brown (116) (CC)
3. Enrique Pieretto (27)
4. Kiran McDonald (43)
5. Richie Gray (71)
6. Ryan Wilson (201) (CC)
7. Thomas Gordon (42)
8. Jack Dempsey (10)

9. George Horne (75)
10. Duncan Weir (116)
11. Rufus McLean (16)
12. Sione Tuipulotu (12)
13. Kyle Steyn (42)
14. Sebastian Cancelliere (3)
15. Ollie Smith (10)

16. Johnny Matthews (19)
17. Jamie Bhatti (58)
18. Simon Berghan (2)
19. Lewis Bean (14)
20. Ally Miller (3)
21. Jamie Dobie (26)
22. Ross Thompson (26)
23. Stafford McDowall (30)

Unavailable for selection: Hamish Bain, Rob Harley, Ewan McQuillin*, Josh McKay, Tom Lambert.

International duty: Scott Cummings, Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, Sam Johnson, Ali Price, George Turner.

*Short-term loan to Ampthill RUFC

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