Glasgow Warriors prepare to host Edinburgh
Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh will go head-to-head at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow this evening, in the second 1872 Cup derby of the season.
Glasgow Warriors duo Ross Thompson and Rufus McLean will make their first starts for the club, as Danny Wilson makes four changes to his starting XV, following last weekend's narrow defeat at BT Murrayfield.
It will be a debut appearance in a Glasgow jersey for Scotland U20 star McLean, whilst Thompson is selected at fly-half after impressing in his cameo off the bench last weekend.
Oli Kebble’s return to full fitness sees the Scotland prop come into the lineup at loose-head, joining George Turner and Zander Fagerson in an otherwise unchanged front row.
Scotland pair Richie Gray and Scott Cummings continue in the second row, the former having led the Guinness PRO14 with four lineout steals in last weekend’s clash at BT Murrayfield.
Ryan Wilson once again captains the side from the blindside flank, as Tom Gordon and Matt Fagerson round out the pack.
Thompson’s first run out at Scotstoun will see him partner Ali Price in the half-backs, with the scrum-half the player with the most club appearances in the Warriors back-line.
Robbie Fergusson comes into the midfield in place of Sam Johnson, the Scotland 7s captain resuming his centre partnership with Nick Grigg.
The back-three sees McLean and Lee Jones start on the wings, with Huw Jones getting the nod once more at full-back.
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach, Danny Wilson, said: “We wanted to give an opportunity to a few boys we think deserve their shot based on their efforts in training over the last couple of weeks.
“We’re excited to see how Ross [Thompson] goes at fly-half and for Rufus [McLean] to get his first run out for the club – he’s a young man with an impressive skillset and electric pace.
“At the same time, though, it’s all about continuing to gel and grow as a squad."
Meanwhile, Scotland international second-row and Edinburgh co-captain Grant Gilchrist will return from injury, handing Gregor Townsend a boost ahead of the upcoming Guinness Six Nations.
Gilchrist, who has been sidelined with a groin injury since October, will partner Andrew Davidson in the engine room.
The two remaining changes to the pack sees Rory Sutherland (loosehead) and Simon Berghan (tighthead) start, trading places with counterparts Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel – who move to the bench – where WP Nel could make his 150th appearance for the club if called into action.
Three further changes occur in the back line where wings Jack Blain and Eroni Sau come into the squad for Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham – absent through injury (knee) and personal reasons respectively – while scrum-half Nic Groom starts in place of Henry Pyrgos, who moves to the bench.
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, said: “It was a turgid affair last time as both sides cancelled each other out for much of the match.
“We were happy to get the win and with certain elements of our game – and will certainly look to exert pressure in those areas again – but there’s a lot we need to improve on if we’re going to come away from Glasgow with the points.
“We’ve picked a good side and it’s good to add Gilcho [Grant Gilchrist] back into that mix because he adds a lot of experience and quality."