TIM Swinson will make his first start of the season tomorrow in a Glasgow side that shows eight changes from the team that began last week’s win over Cardiff. Most of the Warriors who took part in the Autumn Internationals are rested, one exception being George Horne, who returns at scrum-half in place of Ali Price.
Brandon Thomson replaces Pete Horne at stand-off, while the other change in the back division sees Robbie Nairn come in for his first start – and just second appearance overall – instead of Tommy Seymour on the right wing. In the pack, Scott Cummings returns to partner Swinson in the second row, Alex Allan takes over at loosehead from Jamie Bhatti, and Matt Smith and captain Chris Fusaro are in the back row instead of Callum Gibbins and Matt Fagerson. One positional changes sees Adam Ashe move from blindside to No 8, while prop Siua Halanukonuka will make his comeback off the bench after being out since the summer with a foot injury.
Swinson, who was injured during Scotland’s win over Argentina in June and subsequently needed leg surgery, was a substitute in the 40-15 victory over the Blues. “I’m delighted to see him back,” Glasgow coach Dave Rennie said. “He’s a wrecking ball, Swinno.
“It’s also a chance to freshen up Rob Harley, who’s had a massive workload with us and was also helping Scotland to prepare throughout their campaign. He’s a very similar type of player to come in, so we’ll be rapt to get Swinno out there tomorrow.
“It can be frustrating for guys who are out long term, but to his credit he’s worked really hard and he’s probably back a week early. I know he’s excited, because it can be frustrating. He’s now keen to put a bit of pressure on us going forward.”
Nairn, who made his debut as a replacement against the Southern Kings earlier in the season, has had to wait patiently to begin a match for the first time, according to the coach. “We’re missing a handful of players out wide and we’ve been really keen to get Robbie involved for a number of weeks. He’s trained really well and he’s a big man who’s very explosive and powerful. And I think he’s got a big future in the game, so it’s the perfect time.”
Glasgow are nine points clear of Munster at the top of Conference A, while Scarlets are second in Conference B, 10 points adrift of Leinster. Scarlets welcome Wales and Lions centre Jonathan Davies back from international duty, and he captains their side in place of Ken Owens, who is rested. Wales stand-off Rhys Patchell is partnered at half-back by Kieran Hardy, with former Edinburgh scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne on the bench.
Glasgow Warriors (v Scarlets at Scotstoun, Saturday 5.15pm, live on Premier Sports 1): Ruaridh Jackson; Robbie Nairn, Nick Grigg, Stafford McDowall, Niko Matawalu; Brandon Thomson, George Horne; Alex Allan, George Turner, D’Arcy Rae, Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings, Matt Smith, Chris Fusaro, Adam Ashe. Subs: Kevin Bryce, Oli Kebble, Siua Halanukonuka, Kiran McDonald, Tevita Tameilau, Nick Frisby, Paddy Kelly, Ratu Tagive.
Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl; Tom Prydie, Jonathan Davies, Kieron Fonotia, Steff Evans; Rhys Patchell, Kieran Hardy; Rob Evans, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Jake Ball, Steve Cummins, Will Boyde, Dan Davis, Uzair Cassiem. Subs: Dafydd Hughes, Wyn Jones, Simon Gardiner, Lewis Rawlins, Tom Phillips, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Paul Asquith, Clayton Blommetjies.