Cusack returns for trip to Newport

Mike Cusack will return to action on Sunday after 14 months out through injury, when Glasgow Warriors face the Dragons at Rodney Parade.Mike Cusack

The 29-year-old prop has been on the sidelines with a shoulder injury since December 2012, but returns to the Warriors starting line-up for the trip to Newport.

Ruaridh Jackson moves from fly-half to full-back, with Niko Matawalu switching to scrum-half and Henry Pyrgos named amongst the replacements..

Lee Jones continues on the right wing, while Byron McGuigan returns from injury and lines up on the opposite side, in place of Rory Hughes, who drops to the bench.

Mark Bennett and Richie Vernon continue in the centres, while 21-year-old Finn Russell makes only his second start for the club and first at fly-half, after impressing as a substitute against Cardiff Blues last weekend.

In the pack Cusack makes his first start of the season at tight-head in place of Ed Kalman, while Jerry Yanuyanutawa replaces Gordon Reid at loose-head and Dougie Hall starts at hooker, in place of the injured Pat MacArthur.

Jonny Gray comes into the second-row for Tom Ryder and he’ll partner Fijian Leone Nakarawa in the engine room.

The backrow is unchanged with Tyrone Holmes starting at openside, Rob Harley at blindside and captain Josh Strauss at number 8.

American centre Folau Niua has once again been named amongst the replacements and could make his debut for the club from the bench.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We were really pleased to win down at Cardiff last weekend and there were plenty of positives which we can take into our game on Sunday.

“The Dragons have already beaten us at home this season, so we know how big a challenge we face at Rodney Parade.

They are a well organised team and are tough to play against, they also have a very good home record, having only lost twice since last March, so we know we’ll have to play well to come away with a positive result.

“Mike (Cusack) has worked extremely hard to get back fit and has been training really well. It’s great news for the club that he can now return to action at a crucial period of the season."

Glasgow Warriors team to play the Dragons, RaboDirect PRO12, Rodney Parade, Sunday 23 February (kick-off 2.30pm):

15. Ruaridh Jackson
14. Lee Jones
13. Richie Vernon
12. Mark Bennett
11. Byron McGuigan
10. Finn Russell
9. Niko Matawalu

1. Jerry Yanuyanutawa
2. Dougie Hall
3. Mike Cusack
4. Leone Nakarawa
5. Jonny Gray
6. Rob Harley
7. Tyrone Holmes
8. Josh Strauss (Captain)

Substitutes

16. Fraser Brown
17. Gordon Reid
18. Jon Welsh
19. Tom Ryder
20. James Eddie
21. Henry Pyrgos
22. Folau Niua
23. Rory Hughes

Not available due to injury: Peter Horne (knee), Al Kellock (arm), Pat MacArthur (shoulder), Sean Maitland (knee/ankle), Peter Murchie (shoulder) and DTH van der Merwe (shoulder).