Proper Pressure For Ulster

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend says his side is ready to take on Europe's form team as they travel to Belfast to play Ulster in this weekend's Heineken Cup.

The Warriors are still winless in the competition this year but Townsend wants to see Ulster under pressure on their own patch.

He said: "Ulster are clearly a very fine side, they"ve only been beaten once at Ravenhill in the last 13 Heineken Cup games but this is the kind of challenge we look forward to, it means we"re testing ourselves against the best sides around.

"We performed very well in the Heineken Cup last time out against Castres and we"re coming off a good run of wins in the league so there's a confidence about the squad at the moment that their hard work is paying off."

"We know our results in the Heineken Cup haven't been good enough so we want to show that we"re capable of performing at an elite level regardless of the opponent or the situation."

Townsend has opted for six changes from the side which defeated Benetton Treviso at Scotstoun in the RaboDirect PRO12 with Duncan Weir coming in to partner Henry Pyrgos at half-back while Peter Horne returns to the side at inside centre.

Alex Dunbar keeps his spot at outside-centre with Peter Murchie taking up the full back slot._ Sean Maitland returns in place of Tommy Seymour with DTH van der Merwe on the opposite wing.

Tom Ryder starts alongside Al Kellock in the second row while James Eddie will start in the back row after Ryan Wilson suffered a shoulder injury in the win over Treviso.

The front row remains the same for the third match in a row but the Warriors will have to contend with a squad of just twenty-two due to a number of propping options unavailable for the game.

While Ofa Fainga"anuku was injured in the week leading up to Round 4 of the Heineken Cup, Mike Cusack was injured during the game against Castres Olympique and George Hunter suffered a foot injury the following week away at Castres, robbing the Warriors of three Heineken Cup eligible front-rows in a matter of a fortnight.

Neither Jon Welsh nor Ed Kalman have been available since the summer and therefore were not included in the Heineken Cup squad, leaving Gordon Reid the only other fit and eligible prop available to the Warriors.

Following extensive discussions between the club and the competition organisers, the ERC confirmed that tournament rules would not allow another front row to be added to the list of eligible players.

Townsend said: "We"re in a situation which we have never experienced before in the Heineken Cup.

"We"ve used all our options in terms of nominating additional players for the tournament so, even though German Araoz is fit and ready to play, the rules of the competition mean we can't bring in another player.

"It's unfortunate to have so many props out and that means, by tournament regulations, we have to go into the game a man down.

"Ryan (Grant) can cover both sides of the scrum so we do have some flexibility in terms of bringing Gordon on for either of our starting props."

Pat MacArthur joins Gordon Reid as front-row cover on the bench while Nick Campbell and Tim Swinson provide further options in both front and back five.

Townsend can call on flair and pace from the backs on the bench with Stuart Hogg and Niko Matawalu while Scott Wight returns to the match-day squad to cover the stand-off role.


Glasgow Warriors team to play Ulster at Ravenhill in Round 5 of the Heineken Cup (Friday, 11 January, kick-off 8pm.)

15 Peter Murchie
14 Sean Maitland
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 DTH van der Merwe

10 Duncan Weir
9 Henry Pyrgos

1 Ryan Grant
2 Doug Hall
3 Moray Low
4 Tom Ryder
5 Al Kellock (Captain)
6 James Eddie
7 Robert Harley
8 Josh Strauss

16 Pat MacArthur
17 Gordon Reid
18 N/A
19 Nick Campbell
20 Tim Swinson
21 Nikola Matawalu
22 Scott Wight
23 Stuart Hogg

Not available for selection due to injury:

John Barclay (leg) Mike Cusack (shoulder) Chris Cusiter (shoulder) Ofa Fainga"anuku (shoulder) George Hunter (foot) Finlay Gillies (neck) Angus MacDonald (neck) Chris Fusaro (groin) Sean Lamont (rib) Ryan Wilson (shoulder) Ruaridh Jackson (ribs) Tommy Seymour (leg) Fergus Scott (shoulder)