Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues

Date published: March 4 2016

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Henry Pyrgos will make his comeback from injury and captain Glasgow Warriors on his 100th appearance as they take on Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun Stadium on Sunday.

Mark Bennett and Tim Swinson will also start after playing for Scotland in the victory over Italy last weekend in the Six Nations.

Henry Pyrgos will become the latest in a long line of centurions at the club, making his first appearance of the season after playing in the Rugby World Cup, captaining Scotland in a warm-up test against Ireland before leading the team in the group stage match against USA.

The 26-year-old received surgery on his wrist following the Rugby World Cup and becomes the second player in-a-row to make their 100th appearance after Peter Murchie reached the milestone last week in Newport.

Murchie will start at full-back again, while Rory Hughes and Lee Jones are on the wings.

Bennett and Alex Dunbar link up in the centre for the first time since December 2015 when the Warriors defeated Scarlets 9-6 in the Champions Cup where Dunbar picked up the Man of the Match award.

Duncan Weir will play his third consecutive match for Glasgow, pairing up with Henry Pyrgos, whose last game for the club was the PRO12 Final when the Warriors lifted the trophy.

In the front row, Gordon Reid and Zander Fagerson pack down alongside Fraser Brown who starts once again after recovering from injury to take on the Dragons in Newport last week.

Tim Swinson and Greg Peterson are named as the second-rows, while centurions Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro are in the back row.

Leone Nakarawa starts at number eight for the second time this season.

Fresh from captaining the Scotland U20s to victory over England and Italy in the Six Nations, Scott Cummings is named on the bench with Sam Johnson also a replacement.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We are really looking forward to making our return to Scotstoun on Sunday. We’ve missed playing at our home ground, but we’ve picked up two good wins recently and the players can’t wait to get out on the pitch in front of a big crowd.

“Cardiff Blues are a well coached team who are organised in defence and innovative in attack. We will have to play very well to continue our winning run."

“It’s great to welcome back Henry Pyrgos, who has been stuck on 99 caps since playing so well in last year’s PRO12 final. To have him coming back into the selection mix with so much rugby still left to play is a real boost for the squad.”

Meanwhile, fly-half Jarrod Evans returns to the starting line-up as Cardiff Blues travel to Scotland.

Former Wales U20s ace Evans is one of two changes to the starting line-up that defeated Ulster last time out.

Head coach Danny Wilson moves Rhys Patchell to full-back for the fixture while Dan Fish will operate on the wing.

The final change is a call-up for loosehead prop Thomas Davies. Back-row Josh Turnbull is released from Six Nations duty with Wales but hooker Kristian Dacey and prop Brad Thyer both miss the game through injury.

Wales U20 international front row Corey Domachowski and international team-mate Harri Millard could both make their senior debuts after being named among the replacements.

Head coach Wilson said: "We expect Glasgow to have some good and experienced players released back from Scotland, with there no Six Nations fixture this weekend, and at home they are dangerous to play.

"Glasgow Warriors hold their home performances in high regard and they are proud of what they do.

"We know we face a big ask, but it's one that if we can get a result it will do us the world of good in terms of league position and pushing for the top six."

Form: Glasgow Warriors' only loss in their last four PRO12 matches was 10-13 away to Ulster in Round 14. The Warriors have lost just one home game in the PRO12 since round one; 11-14 to Edinburgh, played at Murrayfield on January 2, with their only defeat to a Welsh region this season coming when Scarlets visited Scotstoun in round 1. Cardiff Blues beat Ulster 23-13 at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday, whilst away from home the Blues' only victory in their last 13 trips in the PRO12 was 21-20 at Dragons on December 27. Glasgow have won their last nine fixtures with Blues in the PRO12 since the Welshmen's 26-15 victory at Firhill in February 2011. The Blues most recent victory in Scotland came when they faced Edinburgh at Meggetland in April 2014.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Peter Munchie, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Pyrgos (c), 8 Leone Nakarawa, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 James Malcolm, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Simone Favart, 21 Mike Blair, 22 Sam Johnson, 23 Glenn Bryce

Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Aled Summerhill, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 James Down, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Thomas Davies
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Harri Millard

Date: Sunday, March 6
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Dunx McClement (both SRU)
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

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