McDowall captains squad for Dragons visit
Stafford McDowall is one of six players released from Scotland camp to line up for Glasgow Warriors in Newport tomorrow afternoon, as the centre captains a side containing 10 internationals for this weekend’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash with the Dragons.
Franco Smith’s men travel to Wales defending an eight-match unbeaten run across all competitions, as they seek to finish a 10-week block of fixtures on the right note.
An all-Scotland front-row sees Jamie Bhatti and Simon Berghan pack down either side of Fraser Brown, with all three men part of Gregor Townsend’s squad for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations.
Lewis Bean partners JP du Preez in the second-row, the latter having been involved in every matchday 23 apart from the Round One visit to Benetton.
Thomas Gordon makes his first start in Glasgow colours since October’s trip to the Cell C Sharks after returning from a calf injury in the club’s recent EPCR Challenge Cup ties, the flanker joining Sione Vailanu and Jack Dempsey in the back-row.
Behind the scrum, Ali Price is released from Scotland camp to partner Duncan Weir in an experienced half-back combination, the pair having made more appearances for the club than the rest of the back-line combined.
Sam Johnson partners captain McDowall in the midfield, the pair having combined to good effect during the 40-26 victory away to Perpignan a fortnight ago.
Cole Forbes comes into the starting XV on the wing in the final change to the starting lineup, meaning Sebastian Cancelliere – who leads the league in both defenders beaten and clean breaks – and Josh McKay continue in the back three.
A six-two split of forwards and backs on the bench sees Jamie Dobie and Tom Jordan cover the back line, the former having set the benchmark in the Challenge Cup with four try assists in a single match during the win over Perpignan.
Nathan McBeth and Lucio Sordoni provide the cover at prop, with Johnny Matthews joining them as the front-row options amongst the replacements.
Alex Samuel rotates to the bench after starting against Bath last weekend, whilst Cameron Neild comes back into the squad after missing the clash with the English outfit.
Euan Ferrie completes the matchday 23, the former Scotland U20 standout having agreed terms on his first professional deal with the club earlier this week.
Speaking following selection, Head Coach Smith told glasgowwarriors.org: “Tomorrow is an important game for us to finish this block of fixtures well.
“The players we have selected are keen to pull on the Glasgow shirt, and we know that the Dragons at Rodney Parade are always a tough opponent.
“We know we will have to be at our best to meet their determination to keep Rodney Parade a fortress, as we know the Dragons are a proud team.”
Glasgow Warriors team to face the Dragons at Rodney Parade, Saturday 28 January, kick-off 3pm. You can watch the match live on Viaplay Sports, or follow the action in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
1 Jamie Bhatti (80)
2 Fraser Brown (133)
3 Simon Berghan (23)
4 Lewis Bean (29)
5 JP du Preez (13)
6 Thomas Gordon (59)
7 Sione Vailanu (9)
8 Jack Dempsey (31)
9 Ali Price (121)
10 Duncan Weir (130)
11 Cole Forbes (30)
12 Sam Johnson (97)
13 Stafford McDowall (C) (47)
14 Sebastian Cancelliere (21)
15 Josh McKay (23)
16 Johnny Matthews (38)
17 Nathan McBeth (14)
18 Lucio Sordoni (9)
19 Alex Samuel (4)
20 Euan Ferrie (6)
21 Cameron Neild (4)
22 Jamie Dobie (42)
23 Tom Jordan (13)
Unavailable for selection: Scott Cummings (foot), Rory Darge (ankle), Zander Fagerson (hamstring), Oli Kebble (shoulder), Sintu Manjezi (knee), Jack Mann (head), Domingo Miotti (back), Enrique Pieretto (chest), Ross Thompson (ankle), Murphy Walker (neck), Ryan Wilson (knee).