Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh: six changes for home team as Jamie Ritchie returns for visitors

Dave Rennie calls for more incisive display in attack from Glasgow after first-leg loss at Murrayfield

Alex Dunbar in action for Glasgow Warriors against Edinburgh last December. Image: ©INPHO/Craig Watson.

DAVE Rennie has made half a dozen changes to his Glasgow Warriors line-up for tomorrow’s second 1872 Cup match against Edinburgh at Scotstoun, including returns for Alex Dunbar and Ryan Wilson. Richard Cockerill, whose team won the first leg 23-7 at BT Murrayfield, has brought back Jamie Ritchie in his only alteration from last week’s starting 15.

Dunbar takes over from Grigg in the centre for the home side, while the other two changes in the back division see Ali Price start at scrum-half instead of George Horne, and Niko Matawalu replace DTH van der Merwe in the pack. Wilson resumes at blindside instead of Adam Ashe, Tim Swinson is at lock instead of Rob Harley, and D’Arcy Rae wears No 3 in place of Siua Halanukonuka. Centre Sam Johnson returns from a two-month injury lay-off to take a place on the bench, ousting Huw Jones.

“Defensively we played well last weekend but we didn’t ask enough questions of Edinburgh in attack,” Rennie said. “We’re going to have to be better in that department tomorrow.

“We’re in a position where we can replace quality with quality. Five of the six players we’re bringing in to the starting line-up are internationals, all six have played over 50 games for the club and four are centurions. We’ve named a very strong side.

“It’s also a positive to welcome Sam back to the mix. He’s battled a bit this season, so we’re looking forward to seeing him get back out there and do what he does best.”

Ritchie, who missed Edinburgh’s last two games because of injury, is at blindside in place of Luke Hamilton, who drops out of the 23. Luke Crosbie retains his spot on the bench. The only other change to the visitors’ squad sees Simon Berghan return as replacement tighthead prop instead of Pietro Ceccarelli.

“We were delighted with the result and the performance against Glasgow last weekend, but we know they’ll be hurting and we expect them to come back at us even stronger,” Cockerill said after announcing his team. “There were a lot of positives to take out of last weekend’s win. We were really happy with our physicality and our set-piece, whilst we defensively we were really solid. The boys have enjoyed a little bit of time off over Christmas, but we’ve come back in, trained really well and we’re excited for the challenge that awaits us at Scotstoun tomorrow.”

A win in Glasgow would see Edinburgh retain the trophy, which is again being played over three legs this season. The final leg is at Scotstoun in late April.

Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Pete Horne, Niko Matawalu; Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Oli Kebble, Grant Stewart, D’Arcy Rae, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, Callum Gibbins, Matt Fagerson. Substitutes: Kevin Bryce, Jamie Bhatti, Siua Halanukonuka, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Sam Johnson, DTH van der Merwe.

Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn; Darcy Graham, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Bill Mata. Substitutes: David Cherry, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Callum Hunter-Hill,  Luke Crosbie, Nathan Fowles, Simon Hickey, Juan Pablo Socino.

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About Stuart Bathgate 587 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.