Preview: Glasgow v Ulster

Date published: September 22 2016

Glasgow Warriors fly-half Finn Russell will make his return from injury in Friday's game against Ulster at a sold-out Scotstoun Stadium. 

Russell, who has not featured for the Warriors since last season's play-off defeat to Connacht in Galway, will wear the 10 shirt on his 24th Birthday.

Scottish Rugby Academy stage 3 player Lewis Wynne will make his first start and fourth appearance for the Warriors lining up at openside flanker.

Namibian international Tjiuee Uanivi will also make his first start on his third competitive appearance for the club.

On the bench 18-year-old back-rower Matt Fagerson, brother of Zander, and 22-year-old second-row Sam Thomson could both feature for the first time.

Stuart Hogg once again lines up at full-back, with Italian international Leonardo Sarto returning to the side and taking his place on the right wing. Tommy Seymour completes the back three.

Mark Bennett comes back into the Warriors midfield after coming off the bench against Cardiff Blues last weekend and he'll partner the returning Alex Dunbar, who was rested last week.

Scrum-half and co-captain Henry Pyrgos also returns from injury and forms a new half-back partnership with Russell.

It’s the same front-row which started in Cardiff last Friday with Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson all combining.

Co-captain Jonny Gray partners USA international Greg Peterson in the engine room.

In the back-row Ryan Wilson switches to number eight, with Uanivi coming in at blindside flanker and Wynne wearing the number 7 shirt.

Meanwhile, Les Kiss has made a total of nine personnel and positional changes as Ulster hope to maintain their unbeaten run of three wins from the opening three games.

Returning Irish international Jared Payne will make his first appearance of the season as he starts at full-back, in a back three that sees Charles Piutau move to the left wing, with Louis Ludik starting on the right.

Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson, who have both already picked up Man of the Match awards in the opening three rounds, are retained at half-back, while Stuart McCloskey will be joined in the midfield by Darren Cave.

Rob Herring will captain the side from hooker and will be joined in the front-row by Andy Warwick and Rodney Ah You, while Franco van der Merwe comes in to join Alan O'Connor in the second-row.

Following a second-half appearance in last week's victory over Scarlets at Kingspan Stadium, Iain Henderson will start against Glasgow and will be partnered in the back-row by Sean Reidy and Roger Wilson.

Ireland captain Rory Best will hope to make his first appearance of the season as he makes up a strong looking list of replacements alongside fellow forwards Callum Black, Ross Kane, Pete Browne and Clive Ross. Paul Marshall, Stuart Olding and Rob Lyttle will cover the backline from the bench.

Form: Glasgow Warriors have won their last nine home games at Scotstoun in the Guinness PRO12 since Scarlets won there on the opening round last season. This represents their only defeat at the venue in the Championship since November 2013. Ulster’s only loss in their last eight Guinness PRO12 encounters came in last season’s semi-final to Leinster at the RDS Arena. The Ulstermen have not lost a regular season away game in the Championship since they last visited Scotstoun on 25 March. Warriors have lost just one of their last four fixtures with Ulster: 10-13 in Belfast last February, whilst Ulster’s most recent victory in Glasgow in the Guinness PRO12 was at Firhill in March 2011.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Henry Pyrgos (cc), 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Lewis Wynne, 6 Tjiuee Uanivi, 5 Jonny Gray (c), 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Sam Thomson, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Nick Grigg, 23 Rory Hughes

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ross Kane, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Rob Lyttle

Date: Friday, September 23
Venue: Scotstoun
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Greg Morgan (Wales), Sam Grove-White (Scotland)