FRASER Brown will return to action for Glasgow against the Dragons on Sunday after more than three months out with a neck injury. The hooker sustained the injury while playing for Scotland in the Autumn Nations Cup match against Ireland at the start of December, and is returning to action slightly ahead of schedule.
Adam Hastings also returns to the Warriors line-up after serving a three-week ban for the red card he received against Leinster. The Scotland stand-off will start the game at 15, with Ross Thompson retaining the No 10 jersey after playing so well in last week’s win over the Ospreys. Ollie Smith, yellow-carded in his last two games, drops down to the bench to make way for Hastings.
The return of Hastings is the only change made by head coach Danny Wilson to the back division. In the pack, meanwhile, there are three alterations: Brown comes in for Grant Stewart, while Richie Gray and Kiran McDonald replace James Scott and Leone Nakarawa at lock. Nakarawa and Stewart drop to the bench, where they are joined by Pete Horne, who has been out with concussion since December. Back-row forward Fotu Lokotui also returns to the bench and is set to make his first appearance of the year.
Alex Allan, Scott Cummings, Cole Forbes, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Paddy Kelly, Johnny Matthews, Tommy Seymour and Kyle Steyn are all unavailable because of injury. Matt and Zander Fagerson, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Oli Kebble, Ali Price and George Turner are on Scotland duty.
That 30-25 victory against the Ospreys kept the Warriors’ chances of a top-three finish in Conference A alive, but their hopes will be extinguished tonight if the Ospreys beat Leinster in their last game of the PRO14 season. Victory in Dublin would give the Welsh side 36 or 37 points, while Glasgow, who have two games left, can reach a maximum of 35 points.
If the Ospreys lose tonight without a bonus point they will have finished their campaign on 32 points. That would allow the Warriors to go above them by winning their own remaining games, against the Dragons this Sunday then at home to Benetton next Saturday. With 25 points at present, the Warriors will move up to at least 33 points with two wins.
A top-three finish is the only guarantee of a place in next season’s Champions Cup. There will almost certainly be more than six PRO14 clubs in that competition, but no details have been given on how teams outwith the top three will qualify, other than an assertion by a league official that there will not be a play-off between the two fourth-placed teams.
Glasgow Warriors (v Dragons at the Principality Stadium, Sunday 3pm): A Hastings; R McLean, N Grigg, R Fergusson, L Jones; R Thompson, S Kennedy; A Seiuli, F Brown, E Pieretto, R Gray, K McDonald, R Harley, T Gordon, R Wilson (captain). Substitutes: G Stewart, D Evans, D Rae, L Nakarawa, F Lokotui, J Dobie, P Horne, O Smith.
Dragons: J Lewis; J Holmes, A Owen, J Roberts, A Hewitt; S Davies, G Bertranou; B Harris, R Hibbard, L Fairbrother, J Davies, M Screech, H Keddie, O Griffiths, R Moriarty. Substitutes: R Lawrence, J Reynolds, C Coleman, B Carter, B Fry, R Williams, N Tompkins, J Williams.
One the moments of the season that Rufus McLean try
Good to see Fraser coming back.