BRUCE FLOCKHART will make his first start for Glasgow Warriors when Dave Rennie’s side go in search of their maiden win of the season in their third competitive outing against Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun tonight [Saturday]. He takes over the No 6 jersey from Rob Harley, who shifts into the second-row in place of the benched Tim Swinson.
The 22-year-old from Inverness has previously played five matches off the bench for Warriors since returning at the start of last season from a year playing in France as part of Scottish Rugby’s partnership programme with Stade Nicois.
“Our intention was to start Bruce last weekend, but he didn’t quite make it,” explained Rennie. “He’s a powerful man, very dominant defensively and a guy who carries well. He spent a lot of last season injured, but we think he’s got massive potential and hope he shows that tomorrow.”
In the front-row, Alex Allan comes in at loose-head in place of Oli Kebble, who has a head injury, while Adam Nicol gets the nod at tight-head in place of D’Arcy Rae, who drops to the bench.
George Thornton, who was part of the Scotland Under-20s side which achieved a highest ever fifth place finish at the 2017 World Championship in Georgia – playing alongside Flockhart, Nicol, No 8 Matt Fagerson and centre Stafford McDowall – is set to make his debut for the club off the bench, after moving north this summer from the Wasps academy set-up.
Other members of the age-grade squad were Darcy Graham and Blair Kinghorn, who are currently at the Japan World Cup with the senior Scotland team.
“We were keen to get George back to Scotland, so we’re excited to give him his opportunity tomorrow. His line-out lifting is excellent and he’s made good shifts around his scrummaging. We’re looking forward to seeing how he goes,” said Rennie.
The only change behind the scrum is Nick Grigg’s returns at outside centre in place of Huw Jones.
“We’re pretty blessed with our depth in midfield. Even with a few guys away at the Rugby World Cup, we’ve still got Huw Jones, Stafford McDowall, Nick Grigg and Kyle Steyn, who’s starting on the wing,” said Rennie.
“Nick’s a really good defender and someone who’s played a lot of games for us, and he runs great lines with ball in hand. We started him and Huw in Bloemfontein, Huw and Stafford last week and now we’re keen to give Nick and Stafford a crack together. We expect them to make an impact.”
Glasgow Warriors (versus the Scarlets in the Guinness PRO14, Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 12 October, kick-off 7.35pm): R Jackson; K Steyn, N Grigg, S McDowall, R Hughes; B Thomson, N Frisby; A Allan, G Stewart, A Nicol, R Harley, K McDonald, B Flockhart, C Gibbins, M Fagerson. Subs: J Matthews, G Thornton, D Rae, T Swinson, C Fusaro, J Dobie, H Jones, G Bryce.