OLLIE SMITH will make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance of the season against a star-studded Sharks outfit in Durban tomorrow afternoon. He has been selected at full-back, with Josh McKay shifting to the left wing.
Head coach Franco Smith has made one other change to the backline which started against the Bulls last weekend, with Ali Price swapping in at scrum-half for the benched George Horne. Smith himself has not yet been able to travel to his native South Africa because of what the Warriors website called visa delays, so attack coach Nigel Carolan will take charge of the team at Kings Park.
Meanwhile, in the pack, George Turner rotates in at hooker with Fraser Brown dropping to the bench, while Sintu Manjezi joins Richie Gray in the second-row with Scott Cummings shifting to blindside flanker and Gregor Brown dropping to the bench.
Fit again stand-off Ross Thompson is also primed for his first appearance of the season off the bench, as is prop Murphy Walker.
“As last week’s game proved the South African sides are really physical and we will have to take our level of physicality to another level away from home tomorrow,” said Smith. “Tomorrow is another challenge and we will need to be ruthless in the contact area and in attack on away soil.
“We’re pleased to be able to welcome Ollie Smith and Ross Thompson back into the side. Both have worked hard to recover from injury and we’re looking forward seeing both men pull on the jersey for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, South African rugby legend Eben Etzebeth will make his run-on debut for the Sharks, as one of several Springboks who are back in URC action following the conclusion of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
Jaden Hendrikse starts at scrum-half, while Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and Makazole Mapimpi will make an impact off the bench.
Glasgow Warriors (v Cell C Sharks at Kings Park, Saturday @ 3.05pm): O Smith; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu (captain), S Johnson, J McKay; T Jordan, A Price ; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, S Manjezi, R Gray, S Cummings, T Gordon, M Fagerson. Substitutes: F Brown, O Kebble, M Walker, JP du Preez, R Wilson, G Brown, G Horne, R Thompson.
Cell C Sharks: A Fassi; W Kok, M Potgeiter, V Tapuai, A Volmink; B Chamberlain, J Hendrike; N Mchunu, K van Vuuren, T du Toit, E Etzbeth, H Andrews, D Richardson, V Tshituka, P Buthelezi. Substitutes: B Mbonambi, O Nche, C Sadie, R Hugo, K Kolisi, S Notshe, C Wright, M Mapimpi.
Unavailable for selection: Allan Dell (calf), Rory Darge (ankle), Jack Dempsey (rib), Huw Jones (back), Rufus McLean (hamstring), Ally Miller (back), Enrique Pieretto (shoulder), Kyle Steyn (hamstring) Duncan Weir (hamstring), Max Williamson (head).