Glasgow v Dragons: Fotu Lokotui comes in for first start

Niko Matawalu returns on wing as Danny Wilson restricts himself to two changes

Tongan international Fotu Lokotui has so far made five appearances for Glasgow, all off the bench. Image: © Craig Watson.

TONGAN international Fotu Lokotui will make his first start for Glasgow tomorrow, replacing the injured Tom Gordon in the back row against Dragons. The 28-year-old has made five appearances off the bench since signing in the summer, most recently in Sunday’s 19-10 win against Cardiff.

Lokotui is one of just two changes by Danny Wilson to the 15 that began that morale-boosting defeat of the Blues, the other being Niko Matawalu, who takes over from Ratu Tagive on the left wing. Matawalu was omitted from the 23 last week to accommodate Huw Jones, who has since returned to Scotland duty and is a substitute in Dublin tomorrow. Tagive drops to the bench, where lock Hamish Bain is the only other newcomer from the last match.

“After a victory away to Cardiff and with a number of individuals putting in impressive performances we’ve looked to keep consistency in our starting line-up,” the head coach explained.  “Tom Gordon has picked up a short-term injury and is replaced by Fotu, who has earned the opportunity to make his first start for the club.

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“Lee Jones was excellent against Cardiff, having come back into the squad for the first time in nearly two years: he is thoroughly deserving of another start. Tomorrow night’s game is an opportunity for us to continue to build on our recent performances. Dragons are coming off the back of a good away game and I know they’ll be coming here ready to take us on.”

The Dragons are on nine points in PRO14 Conference A, the same as Glasgow, but have played two games fewer due to a lengthy Covid-enforced break. They returned to action last weekend, beating Benetton 26-19 in Italy. 

The Warriors’ win over Cardiff ended a run of four losses, and was arguably their most impressive performance of the season. However, they will be wary of a Dragons squad who are far closer to full strength, with only four of their players being in the Wales 23 to play Italy tomorrow, all on the bench.

Besides Gordon, seven Warriors are listed as unavailable due to injury: Chris Fusaro, Richie Gray, Adam Hastings, Stafford McDowall, Leone Nakarawa, Tommy Seymour and Kyle Steyn. Ten players are absent on international duty: Fraser Brown, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Zander Fagerson, George Horne, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Oli Kebble, Ali Price and George Turner.

Glasgow Warriors (v Dragons at Scotstoun, tomorrow 7.15pm): G Bryce; L Jones, N Grigg, R Fergusson, N Matawalu; P Horne, S Kennedy; A Seiuli, G Stewart, E Pieretto, L Bean, K McDonald, R Harley, F Lokotui, R Wilson (captain). Substitutes: J Matthews, A Allan, D Rae, H Bain, T Ioane, J Dobie, B Thomson, R Tagive. 

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About Stuart Bathgate 1393 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.