Two changes for Celtic Challenge finale

Two changes for Celtic Challenge finale

A Glasgow Warriors side showing two changes will take to the field in Belfast tomorrow afternoon, as Chris Laidlaw’s squad close out their inaugural Celtic Challenge campaign by taking on the Gwalia Lightning.

After representing their clubs of origin in last weekend’s historic double-header at Scotstoun, the Warriors travel to the Kingspan Stadium for their final match in the 2023/24 competition as they look to finish their first-ever season on a high.

An unchanged front-row sees Ailie Tucker and Chloe Brown named as the starting props, with Nikki Simpson packing down at hooker in the week she earned a professional development contract with Scottish Rugby.

Ellie Williamson and Sophie Anderson continue their partnership in the second-row, the pair having each contributed strongly with ball in hand last time out.

Lucy Winter comes in to start on the openside flank in the only change to the starting pack, joining Holland Bogan and Megan Hyland in a dynamic back-row trio.

Behind the scrum, Ceitidh Ainsworth continues her run of starting in every match in the competition, the fly-half lining up alongside captain Rhea Clarke in the half-backs.

The midfield combination is retained from last weekend’s clash with the Brython Thunder, meaning that Claudia McLaren – fresh from scoring her first try in Glasgow colours last weekend – lines up outside Giselle Chicot.

Sky Phimister is the only alteration to the back-line, the winger returning from an injury sustained against the Clovers last month to complete a back-three that also includes Roma Fraser – scorer of three tries in her last two starts – and Lucy MacRae.

Rebekah Douglas could become the 36th player to represent Glasgow Warriors in their inaugural campaign this weekend, the scrum-half in line for her club debut in Belfast tomorrow afternoon.

Karis Craig  and Eilidh Fleming are included after recovering from injury, joining Demi Swann as the front-row cover amongst the replacements.

Club co-captain Emma Turner returns to the matchday 23 after missing last weekend’s clash with the Thunder, with Alex Love and Izzy Hannay completing a six-two split of forwards and backs on the bench.

Carla McDonald completes the cohort of replacements, joining Douglas as the back-line cover for tomorrow’s trip to Belfast.

Speaking following selection, Head Coach Laidlaw said: “We’re really excited to head to Belfast as we look to finish our campaign on a high note.

“We’re delighted to welcome our co-captain Emma Turner back into the matchday 23 today, as well as welcoming Sky [Phimister], Karis [Craig] and Eilidh [Fleming] back into the squad after their recovery from their respective injuries.

“We’ve stayed pretty consistent with our selection this week, with Lucy Winter back in the starting lineup and a potential debut for Rebekah Douglas from the bench.

“The energy in the group this week has been like week one all over again and that’s a huge credit to the players and staff who have worked so hard throughout preparing for performances.

“We know Gwalia pose a physical test; however, we can’t wait to take the challenge head and put on one last big performance for Warrior Nation.”

Glasgow Warriors team to take on Gwalia Lightning at Kingspan Stadium, Saturday 24 February, kick-off 12.15pm. You can watch the match live for free on RugbyPass TV.

1 Ailie Tucker
2 Nikki Simpson
3 Chloe Brown
4 Sophie Anderson
5 Ellie Williamson
6 Holland Bogan
7 Lucy Winter
8 Megan Hyland

9 Rhea Clarke (CC)
10 Ceitidh Ainsworth
11 Sky Phimister
12 Giselle Chicot
13 Claudia McLaren
14 Roma Fraser
15 Lucy MacRae


16 Karis Craig
17 Demi Swann
18 Eilidh Fleming
19 Emma Turner (CC)
20 Alex Love
21 Izzy Hannay
22 Rebekah Douglas
23 Carla McDonald

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