McLean returns for 1872 Cup decider
Glasgow Warriors and Scotland winger Rufus McLean will make his first appearance for over three months this weekend, as he returns from injury to start on the wing in tomorrow night’s winner-takes-all clash with Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield.
The 22-year-old is one of three changes ahead of the showdown in the capital, with the 1872 Cup, the Scottish-Italian Shield and Heineken Champions Cup qualification all on the line at the home of Scottish rugby.
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One of those alterations comes in the front row, as George Turner is promoted into the starting XV to pack down between Scotland colleagues Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson.
An unchanged second row sees Rob Harley and Richie Gray pack down in the engine room, the latter leading the United Rugby Championship with 12 lineout steals to date in the competition.
Thomas Gordon comes back into the starting lineup after passing return to play protocols after a concussion against the Vodacom Bulls, joining captain Ryan Wilson and number eight Jack Dempsey as the loose forwards.
Ali Price starts at scrum-half for the fifth successive match in Glasgow colours, partnering Ross Thompson – just 15 months on from making his debut in an 1872 Cup clash at BT Murrayfield in January 2021 – in the half-backs.
The centres see Sam Johnson and Sione Tuipulotu continue their partnership in the midfield, with both men having made the shortlist for the 2021/22 McCrea Financial Services Player of the Season.
McLean’s inclusion is the only change to the backline that took to the field in Lyon a fortnight ago, as Josh McKay and Ollie Smith complete the back three.
Head Coach Danny Wilson reverts to the traditional five-three split of forwards and backs amongst the replacements, as Johnny Matthews rotates to the bench to join Nathan McBeth and Simon Berghan as the front-row cover.
Kiran McDonald wears the number 19 jersey, whilst Gregor Brown is set to make his first league appearance for Glasgow Warriors since March 2021’s visit to Zebre Parma.
Having been named as the Player of the Match in the first leg of the 1872 Cup, Jamie Dobie is selected amongst the replacement backs, with Domingo Miotti set for his first taste of the inter-city rivalry off the bench.
Stafford McDowall completes the squad, coming into the matchday 23 after missing out on the meeting with Lyon.
Speaking following selection, Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org: “We played some outstanding rugby in the first leg of the 1872 Cup at Scotstoun to earn a 30-17 lead, but we know that we’ll need to up our level again to get the job done on Saturday.
“Edinburgh are a side who have gone very well at home this season.
“We’ve had a number of games on the road recently; however, as this match is being played just along the M8 we know our supporters will turn out in force which is massively exciting and motivating for our players.
“It’s great to welcome Rufus McLean and Thomas Gordon back into the starting side. Thomas returns after a short term injury and Rufus has worked really hard with our performance staff to be ready for this game.
“Derbies are the biggest games of the season and with a lot riding on this game it certainly lives up to the billing.”
Glasgow Warriors team to face Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield, Saturday 21 May, kick-off 6.30pm, live on Premier Sports 1. You can also follow all the action in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
1. Jamie Bhatti (65)
2. George Turner (75)
3. Zander Fagerson (113)
4. Rob Harley (265)
5. Richie Gray (81)
6. Ryan Wilson (C) (211)
7. Thomas Gordon (50)
8. Jack Dempsey (20)
9. Ali Price (109)
10. Ross Thompson (35)
11. Rufus McLean (19)
12. Sam Johnson (91)
13. Sione Tuipulotu (18)
14. Josh McKay (13)
15. Ollie Smith (18)
16. Johnny Matthews (29)
17. Nathan McBeth (5)
18. Simon Berghan (11)
19. Kiran McDonald (53)
20. Gregor Brown (3)
21. Jamie Dobie (36)
22. Domingo Miotti (4)
23. Stafford McDowall (37)
Unavailable for selection: Fraser Brown, Sebastian Cancelliere, Scott Cummings, Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson, Oli Kebble, Ally Miller, Kyle Steyn, Duncan Weir.