Glasgow Warriors have announced their side that will face Ulster in their Heineken Cup Pool 4 showdown at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday.
Glasgow Warriors have announced their side that will face Ulster in their Heineken Cup Pool clash on Friday.
Townsend's starting XV for the game in part depends on the outcome of the Tommy Seymour disciplinary hearing being held in Dublin today.
The winger was cited in the aftermath of the Northampton game for an alleged dangerous tackle on the Saints player Vas Artemyev.
IRB Regulation 17 states that a cited player is not eligible to play until the disciplinary process has been concluded, and as such Seymour has not been named in the Warriors team at this stage.
Should Seymour be cleared to play, he will start the game on the right wing. If he is not cleared to play, Byron McGuigan will make his Heineken Cup debut in that role.
Elsewhere in the backline, Peter Murchie will start at outside centre, Sean Lamont missing out with the facial injury he suffered at Northampton and which is still subject to further assessment. Alex Dunbar will line up on the left wing.
There are two changes up front, Tom Ryder getting the nod over Tim Swinson at lock and Chris Fusaro coming in for John Barclay at openside flanker. The Warriors welcome back Rob Harley, who has been missing since the start of September with a knee injury.
“Whatever happens with Tommy's hearing, our team tomorrow night will be strong and more than capable of delivering the right result, said Townsend.
“With a number of injuries in the backs, we've had to do some rejigging, but both Alex Dunbar and Peter Murchie have plenty of experience in the positions they'll be playing and, like the rest of the team, have gone really well in training this week.”
Meanwhile, number eight Nick Williams and scrum-half Ruan Pienaar have been included in Ulster's starting line up.
Stephen Ferris has failed to recover from a back injury so impressive youngster Iain Henderson retains his place at blindside flanker, as Mark Anscombe made just two changes to the starting XV.
Williams has recovered from a rib injury picked up in the PRO12 win over Connacht a fortnight ago and will start the game at number eight in place of Mike McComish, who is named on the bench.
Pienaar showed his class in scoring the vital bonus-point winning try as a replacement last week against Castres and will start at scrum-half. Paul Marshall, who had ably deputised for the Springbok during the Rugby Championship, scored two tries in a man-of-the-match display against the French side, highlighting Ulster's strength in depth.
Indeed, Mark Anscombe admits it was a tough decision on the number 9 jersey.
“Paul played outstanding last week and he showed what he is capable of with a man of the match performance. But we're in the position where we have two fantastic options at scrum-half,” said Anscombe.
“Ruan came on and showed what a quality player he is with his distribution and try and the end. We have to select the team to win specific games and that's what we've done for this weekend. Rugby is an 80 minute game and it's important to have someone like Paul, who can come on and make an impact.”
Anscombe's reign as Ulster coach has been characterised by squad rotation but there has been a more settled look about the team in recent weeks.
“We're getting more and more players back from injury and it is allowing us to get close to a full strength team. We now just have a couple of players missing so it's looking quite promising,” he commented.
Glasgow have beaten the Ulstermen in just one in their last five encounters. This is the first Heineken Cup tie to be played at Scotstoun since Ulster visited the ground to play Glasgow & District in October 1997.
Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Peter Murchie, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Alex Dunbar, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock (capt), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Ofa Fainga'anuku, 18 Gordon Reid, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Rob Harley, 21 John Barclay, 22 Scott Wight, 23 Niko Matawalu.
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johan Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements:16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.
Date: Friday, October 19
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Christophe Berdos (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
Television match official: Vincent Azoulay (France)
Timekeeper: John McLaughlin (Scotland)
Assessor: Clayton Thomas (Wales)
Citing commissioner: Yann Le Dore (France)