Preview: Glasgow v Ulster

Date published: May 21 2015

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Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend has made two personnel changes and one positional switch to the side which defeated Ulster last weekend, ahead of the PRO12 semi-final against the same opponents.

The Scottish side finished top of the PRO12 table for the first time in the club's history and are unbeaten at home in the league since November 2013.

This game will be the final home match for Al Kellock, Niko Matawalu and DTH van der Merwe, with the Canadian international named among the replacements and set to return from injury.

Kellock, who will captain the side once again having led the club for the last nine years, is set to retire at the end of the season.

Coming into the side which started the 32-10 win over Ulster last Saturday is scrum-half Henry Pyrgos and after being named Player of the Season last night at the club's Awards Dinner, Matawalu moves from scrum-half to the left wing in place of Sean Lamont.

In the forwards Fraser Brown returns to the line-up after recovering from a hamstring injury and he replaces Dougie Hall at hooker.

"It will be a big challenge facing one of the best sides in Europe for the second time in a week and it's knock-out rugby now so we know what's at stake," said head coach Townsend.

"We've had some epic battles with Ulster over the last few seasons and they'll be eager to reverse the scoreline from last week.

"Tomorrow we expect to be playing in front of another sell-out crowd at Scotstoun for a place in another final and everyone at the club is really looking forward to the match."

Meanwhile, Ulster head coach Neil Doak has made eleven changes to his side.

Ten internationals come back into a XV that boasts 304 test caps, with only Louis Ludik, Ricky Lutton, Lewis Stevenson and Chris Henry retained from the starting XV that played last Saturday.

Ludik starts at full-back, with British and Irish Lions winger Tommy Bowe reinstated on the right wing. The PRO12’s joint top try scorer, Craig Gilroy, returns from injury and takes his place on the left wing.

Jared Payne and Darren Cave are paired in midfield, with Paddy Jackson named at fly-half and Springbok, Ruan Pienaar, coming back in at scrum-half.

Up front, captain Rory Best, is joined by Emerging Ireland props Callum Black and Lutton in the front row.

Stevenson and Dan Tuohy are selected in the second-row with Iain Henderson, Henry and Roger Wilson forming an all-Ireland international back-row.

Form: The Warriors were the only side during the Guinness PRO12 regular season to have a 100% winning record at home and have won their last 19 matches at Scotstoun in the tournament since Newport Gwent Dragons won there in November 2013. The Scotsmen's only defeat in the last six rounds of PRO12 play came at Ospreys in round 21. This match is Glasgow's seventh at a semi-final stage in major competitions, with their solitary victory being over Munster at Scotstoun in this equivalent encounter last season. This is Ulster's third successive appearance in the Play-Offs, progressing on to the Final only in 2013 when they overcame Scarlets in Belfast at this stage. The Ulstermen's last six away games in all competitions have resulted in three wins and three losses. Ulster have reached this stage eight times previously in all major tournaments, where their record is an even won four, lost four.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Ryan Grant.

Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Sean Lamont, 23 DTH van der Merwe.

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Stuart McCloskey, 23 Michael Allen.

Date: Friday, May 22
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Kick-off: 19:45 local (18:45 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy
Assistant Referees: John Lacey, Dudley Phillips
TMO: Gwyn Bowden

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