Fifita in line for Glasgow Warriors debut
Tongan international Walter Fifita could make his first appearance for Glasgow Warriors tomorrow evening, after the winger was selected amongst the replacements for this weekend’s United Rugby Championship clash with the Ospreys at Scotstoun.
The 24-year-old will become the twelfth player to make his club debut should he come off the bench, a feat that would see him become the first Tongan back to pull on Glasgow colours in the club’s professional history.
Head Coach Danny Wilson has named a starting XV showing just two changes from the club’s 22-7 victory over Exeter Chiefs for tomorrow’s match, both alterations coming in the pack as the club prepares to return to URC action.
An unchanged front-row sees George Turner continue at hooker, with fellow Scotland internationals Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson packing down either side of the 29-year-old.
Kiran McDonald will make his first start of the 2021/22 campaign after being named in the second-row, partnering Scott Cummings in the engine room for the visit of the men from Swansea.
The back-row sees the return of club co-captain Ryan Wilson for the first time since December’s win over the Dragons at Scotstoun, as he comes into the side in place of the unavailable Jack Dempsey to join Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson in the starting lineup.
Ali Price retains the captaincy for the third successive match, the scrum-half once again linking up with Ross Thompson in the half-backs.
Sam Johnson and Sione Tuipulotu continue their partnership in the midfield, with the pair having beaten 24 defenders between them in the URC to date this campaign.
Josh McKay makes his fourth consecutive start since linking up with his team-mates at Scotstoun, the full-back flanked once more by Kyle Steyn and Cole Forbes in the back-three.
The bench sees the inclusion of Fraser Brown for the first time since October, the club co-captain returning from a knee injury sustained against Zebre Parma to join Oli Kebble and Enrique Pieretto as the front-row replacements.
Lewis Bean wears the number 19 jersey, whilst Thomas Gordon retains his spot in the matchday squad after coming off the bench against Exeter last time out.
Jamie Dobie comes back into the fold after missing out on both of the club’s Heineken Champions Cup fixtures, whilst Duncan Weir joins Fifita in rounding out the matchday 23.
Speaking following selection, Head Coach Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org: “After a couple of weeks with no game and a good week’s training this week, we are really looking forward to getting back to league rugby at Scotstoun tomorrow evening.
“Ospreys are a quality side full of international experience. They sit above us in the league and this will be another huge challenge, but one we’re excited about and looking forward to.
“We’re pleased to welcome back the experience and leadership of both Ryan Wilson and Fraser Brown, and Walter Fifita has the opportunity to make his first involvement for the club.”
Glasgow Warriors team to face Ospreys at Scotstoun, Saturday 8 January, kick-off 5.15pm, live on Premier Sports 1. You can also follow the action as it happens in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
1. Jamie Bhatti (55)
2. George Turner (68)
3. Zander Fagerson (105)
4. Scott Cummings (82)
5. Kiran McDonald (40)
6. Ryan Wilson (198)
7. Rory Darge (12)
8. Matt Fagerson (76)
9. Ali Price (C) (101)
10. Ross Thompson (23)
11. Cole Forbes (15)
12. Sam Johnson (80)
13. Sione Tuipulotu (9)
14. Kyle Steyn (39)
15. Josh McKay (3)
16. Fraser Brown (113)
17. Oli Kebble (64)
18. Enrique Pieretto (25)
19. Lewis Bean (12)
20. Thomas Gordon (41)
21. Jamie Dobie (25)
22. Duncan Weir (113)
23. Walter Fifita (0)
Unavailable for selection: Simon Berghan, Jack Dempsey, Richie Gray, Rob Harley, Robbie Fergusson, Sean Kennedy, Tom Lambert, Rufus McLean, Ewan McQuillin, Domingo Miotti, Grant Stewart.