Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Munster

Date published: December 19 2014

Glasgow Warriors boss Gregor Townsend has named his matchday 23 for the clash with Munster at Scotstoun on Saturday.

The Warriors are one point behind league leaders Munster and level on points with Ospreys and Ulster going into this encounter.

Peter Murchie replaces Stuart Hogg at full-back, while Sean Lamont comes in for Sean Maitland on the right wing, and the club’s record try scorer DTH van de Merwe replaces Tommy Seymour on the opposite side.

Richie Vernon continues at outside centre, with Peter Horne coming in for the injured Alex Dunbar.

Finn Russell keeps his place at stand-off, while Niko Matawalu comes in for Henry Pyrgos at scrum-half.

It’s an all-new front-row, from the one which started against Toulouse last weekend, with Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Euan Murray replacing Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur and Jon Welsh.

Leone Nakarawa replaces Tim Swinson in the second-row, with Jonny Gray continuing in the engine room.

In the back-row Rob Harley moves to the blindside, Tyrone Holmes comes in at openside and Josh Strauss once again captains the side at number 8.

Among the replacements is Dougie Hall, who returns from a six-week spell out injured and James Downey, who could come on to face his former club.

Townsend said: “After our European double header with Toulouse, our focus now returns to the Pro12 and our clash with the league leaders.

“Munster are incredibly tough opponents and we know we face another huge challenge at Scotstoun tomorrow.

“With both teams coming off the back of losses in Europe, we will see two highly motivated sides and with Munster sitting one point above us in the Pro12 it is shaping up to be a cracking match.

“Once again we’re expecting a large crowd to get behind the team.”

Meanwhile, Munster head coach Anthony Foley has rung the changes to his starting XV.

Foley makes eight personnel changes to the starting side that suffered defeat to Clermont in the European Champions Cup last Sunday. In rotating the squad there are five changes to the pack with Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Archer joining John Ryan in the front row.

Billy Holland is named alongside Paul O’Connell in the second row while captain Peter O’Mahony is joined by Sean Dougall and Robin Copeland in the back row.

The changes to the backline see Denis Hurley and Pat Howard return as the centre partnership with JJ Hanrahan making the positional switch to fly-half this week.

In the final change Johne Murphy starts at full-back and joins wingers Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway in the back three.

Form: Glasgow Warriors’ last four fixtures in the Guinness PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day. The Warriors have won their last twelve PRO12 matches at Scotstoun continuing their club record for home wins since losing there to the Dragons in November 2013. Munster’s only defeat since Round One of the Guinness PRO12 came at home to Ospreys in Round Four. The Munstermen have not lost a PRO12 encounter outside Ireland since they visited Scarlets on 1 March. In last season’s PRO12 each side won its respective away game before Glasgow won the Play-Off 16-15 at Scotstoun. The Warriors have won three of their last four clashes against the Munstermen.

The teams:

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 James Downey, 23 Tommy Seymour.

Munster: 15 Johne Murphy, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Pat Howard, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Conor Murray, 8Robin Copeland, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Billy Holland, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Kevin O’Byrne, 1 John Ryan.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Eusebio Guinazu, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Donncha O’Callaghan, 20 Dave O’Callaghan, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Felix Jones.

Date:Saturday, December 20
Kick-off: 14:40 GMT
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland), Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Scotland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)