Gregor Townsend has recalled Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Ryan Grant to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Munster at Scotstoun Stadium tomorrow, after the trio missed last weekend’s match at Leinster.
Ruaridh Jackson, Sean Lamont, Ryan Wilson, Jon Welsh and Pat MacArthur have been promoted from the bench, while Peter Murchie, James Eddie, Gordon Reid and Ed Kalman drop out of the 23-man squad. Alex Dunbar and Tommy Seymour both picked up knocks in Dublin and are also not involved tomorrow night.
Gregor Townsend said: “We were disappointed to leave Dublin last weekend with just one point but there were a number of good elements to our game. The effort our players put in was excellent and they fought right to end of what was a highly competitive match. We’ll need to replicate that level of commitment tomorrow night against a very good Munster side.
“It’s nice to be in a position where we have an increasing number of players fighting to get into the starting XV. Stuart (Hogg) and Sean (Maitland) were injured last week while Ryan (Grant) has played a lot of rugby recently, so it’s nice to be able to welcome the three of them back.”
The Warriors are currently second in the RaboDirect PRO12, just one point behind leaders Leinster and ahead of Ulster on points difference.
Glasgow have won their last five matches in all competitions at Scotstoun, since losing 6-9 to Castres in the Heineken Cup in December. Munster have not won outside of Ireland in the PRO12 since they defeated Cardiff Blues 24-18 in November.
Fijian Niko Matawalu continues at number nine and Jackson replaces Duncan Weir at stand-off. Peter Horne starts at inside centre, with Sean Lamont replacing Dunbar in the 13 jersey, reuniting the midfield combinationthat was so effective in the 1872 Cup games against Edinburgh.
Canadian flyer, DTH Van der Merwe starts on the left wing, with Sean Maitland starting on the right side, ahead of Tommy Seymour. Stuart Hogg replaces Peter Murchie at full-back, after playing in all five of Scotland’s Six Nations games.
Scotland prop Ryan Grant comes in at loosehead with Moray Low dropping to the bench and after signing his new two-year deal with the Warriors this week, Jon Welsh starts at tighthead, in place of Ed Kalman. Pat MacArthur starts at hooker ahead of Dougie Hall, who drops to the bench.
Tim Swinson is back in the second row alongside captain Alastair Kellock and it’s a familiar looking back row with John Barclay, Josh Strauss and Ryan Wilson combining.
Mark Bennett and Ofa Fainga’anuku come into the squad and start on the bench alongside Duncan Weir, Henry Pyrgos, Rob Harley, Tom Ryder, Moray Low and Dougie Hall.
In total there are nine changes from the team that lost to Leinster, with one positional switch.
Gregor Townsend said: “We weren’t as accurate as we’d have liked against Leinster and we know we have to improve, especially defensively.
"Our passing also needs to be much better. The focus at training this week has been very similar to how we prepared for our clash with Ulster a few weeks ago; this is a very important match for us and we’ll need to be at the top of our game.
“Munster are a strong defensive team so we must take any opportunities we get. Despite being sixth in the league, they are only seven points of the top four and they can still qualify for the play-offs. That makes them extremely dangerous opponents and we must approach the game in the right manner.
“There are a number of players unlucky to miss out this week, notably the likes of Ed Kalman and Peter Murchie who put in big performances against Leinster. Mark Bennett has been in cracking form for Scotland U20s and been doing well in training so he deserves his chance to be involved tomorrow night.
“Injured pair Michael Cusack and Chris Fusaro are both progressing well and we hope they’ll be available to play in the next few weeks.”
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Sean Maitland
13 Sean Lamont
12 Peter Horne
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Ruaridh Jackson
9 Niko Matawalu
8 Ryan Wilson
7 John Barclay
6 Josh Strauss
5 Al Kellock (Captain)
4 Tim Swinson
3 Jon Welsh
2 Pat MacArthur
1 Ryan Grant
16 Mark Bennett
17 Duncan Weir
18 Henry Pyrgos
19 Rob Harley
20 Tom Ryder
21 Moray Low
22 Dougie Hall
23 Ofa Fainga’anuku
Not available for selection through injury:
M Cusack (shoulder), C Cusiter (shoulder), A Dunbar (knee), C Fusaro (groin), F Gillies (neck), R Lamont (ankle), T Seymour (knee).