Townsend Seeks French Renaissance


Head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to the Glasgow Warriors side which was beaten by Munster last week as they prepare to face French Top 14 team Castres Olympique in the Heineken Cup.

Tommy Seymour, the clubs joint top scorer, returns on the wing; Scott Wight takes back the number 10 berth and Josh Strauss comes back into the back row in place of Ryan Wilson who moves to the bench.

Sean Maitland, who has joined the Warriors from Canterbury Crusaders, is in line to make his Warriors debut off the bench.

Winger Tommy Seymour at training in Ravenscraig

Townsend told "We"re keeping faith with the core group of players who were beaten by Munster as we know that that level of performance was not a true reflection of that side.

"I expect see a reaction and a determination from those players to prove that they deserve their place.

"We are coming off the back of what was a disappointing performance against Munster last week, particularly as we believed we were capable of leaving Thomond Park with a win.

"We pride ourselves on being tough to beat and we didn't do that in Ireland. There has been a renewed determination this week as that was a difficult defeat to take."

Mike Cusack, who this week extended his stay at Glasgow Warriors until at least May 2016, once again takes up the tight-head role, continuing his run of appearances this season.

With Sean Lamont rested, the wing spots will be filled by the club's two top scorers, Tommy Seymour and DTH van der Merwe while Stuart Hogg again plays outside centre to Peter Horne's 12.

Scott Wight starts at stand-off with Henry Pyrgos as his half-back partner and Josh Strauss returns to his back row role alongside Rob Harley and John Barclay at blindside and openside flanker respectively.

In line for his Glasgow Warriors debut is new signing Sean Maitland. The former Canterbury Crusaders flyer starts on the substitutes bench and can cover any of the back three positions._ Pat MacArthur has also been drafted into the Heineken Cup squad.

Townsend commented: 'sean hasn't played a lot of rugby over the last couple of months but he's shown up well in training and he's desperate to get stuck in for his first appearance.

"We"ve prepared very well this week and have some existing knowledge about Castres, having played them earlier this year in a pre-season match. They have clear strengths that they will want to bring out on Friday night, so we"ve worked hard at how best we can nullify these, while also looking at opportunities for us to win the game.

'they are on a fantastic run at the moment in the Top 14 and will be looking forward to carrying on that form in this competition.

"We know our record in the Heineken Cup is not as good as it should be and we"re fighting to stay in the tournament._ The next two games will determine how the rest of our season will go and we"ll be doing all we can to still be in contention in this competition."

Glasgow Warriors team to face Castres Olympique in round three of the Heineken Cup

Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 7 December, kick off 7.35pm

15. Peter Murchie"
14. Tommy Seymour
13. Stuart Hogg
12. Peter Horne"
11. DTH van der Merwe

10. Scott Wight"
9. Henry Pyrgos

8. Josh Strauss
7. John Barclay
6. Rob Harley"
5. Al Kellock (capt)
4. Tim Swinson
3. Mike Cusack
2. Dougie Hall
1. Ryan Grant


16. Pat Macarthur
17. Moray Low
18. Gordon Reid
19. Tom Ryder
20. Ryan WIlson
21. Niko Matawalu
22. Duncan Weir
23. Sean Maitland

Not available for selection due to injury: Chris Cusiter (shoulder), Alex Dunbar (ankle), Ofa Fainga'anuku (shoulder), Chris Fusaro (groin), Ed Kalman (back), Rory Lamont (leg), Angus MacDonald (neck), Graeme Morrison (knee), Jon Welsh (shoulder).