Seven changes ahead of Newcastle clash
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson has made seven alterations to the starting XV that earned a bonus-point win over Zebre Parma last time out, as his team travels to Kingston Park to take on Newcastle Falcons in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16.
It will be the first competitive meeting between the two teams in the professional era, with the Warriors keen to better their 2020/21 showing in the competition and progress to the quarter-finals.
Simon Berghan comes into the side to start at tight-head in the only change to the front-row that got the better of Zebre Parma a fortnight ago, meaning Oli Kebble and Johnny Matthews – following his history-making hat-trick – retain their places at the coal face.
Richie Gray returns to the second-row, the 2013 British and Irish Lion resuming his partnership with Scott Cummings at the expense of Rob Harley.
Thomas Gordon makes his return from injury to start at openside flanker, with Rory Darge shifting to number eight to accommodate Gordon’s inclusion in a back-row completed by captain Ryan Wilson.
Ali Price draws back into the starting lineup to partner Ross Thompson in the half-backs, the latter having come off the bench in last season’s last-16 tie with Montpellier for his European debut.
The midfield sees Sam Johnson and Sione Tuipulotu renew their combination in the centres, pairing up for the first time in Glasgow colours since January’s narrow defeat to La Rochelle at Scotstoun.
As a result, Kyle Steyn shifts out to the wing, with the newly-crowned McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month for March, Sebastian Cancelliere, and the returning Josh McKay completing the back-three.
Fresh from signing a new contract earlier this week, George Turner is set to make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance in almost three months this weekend, after being named in the matchday 23 for tomorrow night’s clash.
Indeed, an all-international front-row is ready to make an impact as and when called upon from the replacements, with Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson joining Turner as the front-row cover.
Rob Harley rotates to the bench after starting against Zebre Parma last time out, as Ally Miller continues in the number 20 jersey for Wilson’s men.
Sean Kennedy continues as the replacement scrum-half, whilst Duncan Weir – scorer of Glasgow’s only try against the Falcons in The Famous Grouse Pre-Season Challenge back in September – provides cover at fly-half.
The matchday squad is completed by the returning figure of Ollie Smith, who will be hoping to replicate his two-try impact made on his European debut against La Rochelle back in January.
Speaking following selection, Head Coach Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org: “We’re looking forward to resuming our European campaign this weekend.
“Newcastle are a powerful team with threats across the park.
“It’s great to welcome back our internationals and the likes of Josh McKay and Ollie Smith who have recovered from injuries.
“Everyone is looking forward to the challenge of playing Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.”
Glasgow Warriors team to face Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park, Friday 15 April, kick-off 8pm, live on epcrugby.tv. You can also follow all the action as it happens on our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
1. Oli Kebble (72)
2. Johnny Matthews (26)
3. Simon Berghan (7)
4. Scott Cummings (89)
5. Richie Gray (77)
6. Ryan Wilson (C) (208)
7. Thomas Gordon (47)
8. Rory Darge (17)
9. Ali Price (105)
10. Ross Thompson (31)
11. Kyle Steyn (47)
12. Sam Johnson (87)
13. Sione Tuipulotu (14)
14. Sebastian Cancelliere (8)
15. Josh McKay (9)
16. George Turner (71)
17. Jamie Bhatti (61)
18. Zander Fagerson (109)
19. Rob Harley (261)
20. Ally Miller (10)
21. Sean Kennedy (19)
22. Duncan Weir (122)
23. Ollie Smith (14)
Unavailable for selection: Jack Dempsey, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Rufus Mclean.