JACK DEMPSEY has been recalled to the Glasgow Warriors’ starting XV at No 8 for tomorrow’s European Champions Cup pool stage clash away to Exeter Chiefs, in the only personnel change from last weekend’s match against Ospreys, with Matt Fagerson shifting to blindside flanker and club co-captain Ryan Wilson dropping to the bench.
Wilson will make his 200th appearance for the club when he joins the fray later in the match. Meanwhile, scrum-half George Horne and winger Sebastian Cancelliere have also joined the replacements, in place of Jamie Dobie and Walter Fifita, respectively.
The consistency in selection by head coach Danny Wilson is partly a function of so many members of the squad being fresh following their two week Covid lay-off over Christmas, and also a recognition of the rich vein of form the squad has hit over the last month. Warriors are hoping to back up their impressive 22-7 home win over the Chiefs at the start of December in this re-match.
“After a good result on the weekend and a good week’s training, we are really looking forward to resuming our European campaign,” said Wilson.
“After a good performance at home against Exeter, we know we’ll need to go up another level to beat them at Sandy Park.
“There is an added motivation to tomorrow’s game with Ryan Wilson being involved in his 200th game for the club. It’s a massive milestone and something we have talked about a lot week.”
Glasgow have five players listed as unavailable. They are Hamish Bain, Richie Gray, Sean Kennedy, Tom Lambert and Ally Miller.
Jonny Gray is not in the Exeter Chiefs side after picking up an injury last weekend, but fellow Scotland internationals Stuart Hogg and Sam Skinner both start.
Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter has backed his team to bounce back from that defeat at Scotstoun last month.
“It was a mixed performance,” he said. “It was a weird one in a way, just because we had a good focus on what we wanted to achieve and physically we were in the fight, particularly in the first half, without being technically good enough.
“We dropped a lot of ball, we didn’t get through our phases, we were passive and out set-piece wasn’t great on the day. In the second half, other than one decent period where we did get things right and we did score, we weren’t all that great and subsequently got nothing from the game.
“Yes, you have to give Glasgow some credit for the way they played and the things they did in the game, but watching it back it was clear to see where we had some of our issues.
“That said, we have played away to Glasgow before and not come away with much and that’s not been the be all and end all of our European season. We have learnt from those games and quickly moved on – and that’s what we need to do again this weekend.
“I’d like to think the Glasgow performance was a bit of a blip for us, just because for the last five or six weeks it’s felt like we have been on a real upward curve. I include last week’s game at Harlequins in that, even though with loss, as there were a lot of positives to take out of the game.
“Some of our physical stats from that game were fantastic – and when I say fantastic, that is players putting in physical efforts that compare with any game, over any time in the last few years when we have been very successful. We did that even playing with one man down in the second half, so it shows there is fight in us, all we have to do is align it in the right way and keep producing it each week.”
Glasgow Warriors (v Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park, Saturday 5.30pm): J McKay; K Steyn, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, C Forbes; R Thompson, A Price©; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, S Cummings, K McDonald, M Fagerson, R Darge, J Dempsey. Replacements: F Brown, O Kebble, E Pieretto, L Bean,, R Wilson, G Horne, D Weir, S Cancelliere.
Exeter Chiefs: S Hogg; J Nowell, H Slade, I Whitten, T O’Flaherty; J Simmonds, J Maunder; B Moon, L Cowan-Dickie ©, J Iosefa-Scott, S Skinner, S Lonsdale, D Ewers, J Kirsten, S Simmonds. Replacements: J Innard, J Kenny, P Schickerling, D Jenins, D Armand, S Maunder, H Skinner, T Hendrickson.
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