Preview: Glasgow v Ospreys

Date published: November 24 2016

Chris Fusaro will start his first game for Glasgow Warriors since April when they face Ospreys in the PRO12.

The Scotland international makes his first appearance of the season at Scotstoun on Friday night, as third play fourth.

Josh Strauss, released from Scotland camp, joins Fusaro in the back-row and will captain the side from number eight with Lewis Wynne starting at blind-side.

Tim Swinson is another player made available to the Warriors this weekend and he joins Brian Alainu'uese in the second-row. They will scrum down behind Gordon Reid fresh from Scotland duty as well as Corey Flynn and D'Arcy Rae, with the tight-head prop making his first start of the season.

Grayson Hart also makes his first start of the campaign, pairing up with Rory Clegg in the half backs while in the centres Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg combine.

The back three boast nearly 250 Warriors appearances between them as Lee Jones and Sean Lamont flank full-back Peter Murchie. There is another injury boost on the bench as Ryan Grant is included in a match day squad for the first time since the opening day of the season.

Stirling County prop Adam Nicol will look to bring his fine BT Premiership form to the PRO12, involved with the Warriors for the first time.

Scottish Rugby Academy players George Horne and Patrick Kelly are in line to make their competitive Glasgow debuts, with both having impressed in the side's pre-season victory over Canada 'A'.

Junior Bulumakau also features for the first time this season, rewarded for his fine try-scoring form for Glasgow Hawks.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: "Welcoming Chris Fusaro and Ryan Grant back after injury is a real boost.

"They have both worked very hard to get back to full fitness and their inclusion will lift the side for what is going to be a huge challenge against Ospreys. Adam Nicol has played very well for Stirling County this season and has looked very impressive training with us over the past few weeks.

"George Horne and Patrick Kelly have earned their first opportunities to be involved with the squad and wre looking forward to see them take the game to the opposition."

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy said: "Going away to Glasgow is never an easy ask. They have been one of the most consistent teams in the PRO12 over the last three or four years and their success has been built on an impressive home record. We've come up short there ourselves recently, so we know what we are walking into on Friday night.

"Both of us had a disappointing result in our last PRO12 game and, with the table being so tight right the way from top down to the Blues in 7th, we know that there can be plenty of movement in the table on one weekend. We go there in third place, which looks pretty good off the back of a positive start to the season, at home in particular, but that can change pretty quickly when you are away to one of your rivals in the play-off positions.

"There's a long way to go this season, whatever happens on Friday night there'll still be 12 PRO12 games to play, but we know that getting our performance right up in Glasgow can really strengthen our position and set up a huge month in December with some big games at the Liberty Stadium.

"The mindset this weekend has to be a positive one, the boys need to embrace the challenge and make sure that they are accurate, clinical and relentless for the whole 80 minutes. Anything less and we know we'll be up against it, but the mindset is good and we are excited about building on the good work we've done so far."

Form: Glasgow Warriors 3-27 reversal at Scarlets in round 8 ended their three game winning run in the PRO12. The Warriors have suffered only one defeat at Scotstoun in any competition in the last twelve months: 17-22 to Ulster in the PRO12 on 23 September. Ospreys last six matches in the PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Welshmen have not won on the road in the Championship since their round 2 victory at Connacht. Ospreys have lost on their last eight visits to Scotland. Warriors only defeat in their last ten fixtures against Ospreys was 10-21 at Liberty Stadium on 8 May 2015. Ospreys are the only Welsh region not to have tasted success so far at Scotstoun. 

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Lewis Wynne, 5 Brian Alainu'uese, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 D'arcy Rae, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Adam Nicol, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Langilangi Haupeakui, 21 George Horne, 22 Patrick Kelly, 23 Junior Bulumakau

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Dafydd Howells, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Grabham, 10 Josh Matavesi, 9 Tom Habberfield (c), 8 Dan Baker, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Paul James
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Luke Price, 23 Tom O'Flaherty

Date: Friday, November 25 
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Time: 19:35 local (19:35 GMT) 
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland) 
Assistant Referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland) Bob Nevin (Scotland) 
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)