IF Glasgow are to beat Leinster tomorrow night and keep alive their hopes of a place in the Rainbow Cup final, they will have to do it without their two British & Irish Lions. Although head coach Danny Wilson declined to say earlier in the week whether he would rest Zander Fagerson and Ali Price, the way in which he spoke about how much the pair had already contributed was a strong suggestion that they would indeed be rested.
Enrique Pieretto starts at tighthead prop in place of Fagerson, with D’Arcy Rae as back-up, while George Horne replaces Price at scrum-half, with Sean Kennedy on the bench. There is only one other change to the 15 that began last week’s win at the Dragons, at hooker, where Fraser Brown takes over from George Turner.
On the bench, Tom Gordon returns as back-row replacement instead of Fotu Lokotui, and Niko Matawalu is a backs replacement in place of Rufus McLean. Unless the Warriors reach the final, it will be a last appearance in a Glasgow jersey for Adam Hastings, who is again named at full-back, and for Rae and Matawalu if they come off the bench.
Of the nine players listed as unavailable for selection, the majority are also moving on at the end of the season. Alex Allan, Hamish Bain, Jamie Dobie, Chris Fusaro, TJ Ioane, Huw Jones, Ian Keatley, Oli Kebble and Tommy Seymour are the nine in question, with only Bain, Dobie and Kebble staying on.
If the Warriors win with or without a bonus point, they will go to the top of the table until next weekend’s final round of games, which they sit out. However, even with a bonus-point win, their fate is out of their own hands.
Leinster are also technically still in the running for a place in the final – they would have to win both their remaining games to have any chance. The key remaining fixture in the competition, however, is a week on Saturday, when Benetton travel to Ospreys knowing that any kind of win – and possibly even a draw – will be enough to take them into the final.Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 39)
“Three good performances in recent weeks have given us an opportunity in this competition,” said Wilson.
“We obviously face a very strong side in Leinster, however we approach this game with some confidence and are excited to challenge ourselves against the current Guinness PRO14 champions.
“We’ve continued our approach to this tournament, blending youth and experience. The boys have had a short training week but are looking forward to our final game at Scotstoun on Friday night.”
Glasgow Warriors (v Leinster at Scotstoun, Friday 8.15pm): A Hastings; K Steyn, N Grigg, S Johnson, C Forbes; R Thompson, G Horne; A Seiuli, F Brown, E Pieretto, R Harley, S Cummings, R Wilson, R Darge, M Fagerson. Substitutes: G Turner, T Lambert, D Rae, K McDonald, T Gordon, S Kennedy, S McDowall, N Matawalu.
Referee: F Murphy (Ireland).