Preview: Ospreys v Glasgow

Date published: May 7 2015

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Scotland international fly-half Duncan Weir returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting XV for their Pro12 trip to face the Ospreys in Swansea on Friday.

The playmaker has made two appearances off the bench since recovering from a bicep injury, which has kept him out of action for Glasgow since December.

The Warriors, who have already booked their place in the Pro12 play-offs, take on fourth-placed Ospreys in their penultimate match of the regular season as they attempt to secure a home play-off for the second consecutive season.

Weir replaces Finn Russell in the ten shirt, which is the only change to the backline which started the 31-13 win over Connacht almost a fortnight ago.

In the forwards Ryan Grant comes in for Jerry Yanuyanutawa at loosehead, Pat MacArthur replaces Fraser Brown at hooker and Jon Welsh continues at three.

Tim Swinson comes in for Leone Nakarawa in the second-row and he'll partner Jonny Gray in the engine room.

In the back-row Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro continue at blindside and openside respectively, while Josh Strauss replaces Adam Ashe at number eight and captains the side.

"We're well aware of the importance of tomorrow night's game and what it means to everyone associated with the club," said head coach Gregor Townsend.

"Securing our place in the playoffs is a massive achievement, but we're now playing for home advantage and we know these next two games are crucial to achieving that outcome.

"Ospreys are only four points behind and they too are playing for a home playoff, so we're expecting an extremely tough game at the Liberty Stadium.  

"They have played at a consistently high level throughout the season and have a good balance in their play – a strong, aggressive defence allied to an excellent attacking game.

"We will need to put in one of our best performances of the season to come away with a positive result."

Meanwhile, the Ospreys are boosted by the return to their backline of Canadian international wing Jeff Hassler, who takes over from Tom Grabham.

In the pack there is a chance on the blindside as James King replaces the benched Dan Lydiate while Tyler Ardron comes in for Lloyd Peers at lock.

Form: Ospreys have won their last four Pro12 matches and have not been defeated in the tournament since Glasgow lowered their colours at Scotstoun in round 15. Ospreys are one of three teams to be undefeated at home in the Pro12  this season – the others being Ulster and Glasgow Warriors. Ospreys have not lost in the Pro12  at Liberty Stadium since Munster were the visitors on 23 February 2014. Glasgow Warriors have lost just one of their last eight Pro12  fixtures: 10-22 to Munster in Cork in round 16, but still remain the second best away side in the Pro12 this season. The Warriors lost 9-19 at Scarlets last November on their most recent visit to Wales. Glasgow have won their last seven matches against Ospreys since the Welsh region were triumphant 37-6 at Liberty Stadium in March 2011.

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben John, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Dmitri Arhip, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jonathan Spratt.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Euan Murray, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Lee Jones, 22 Fraser Lyle, 23 Peter Murchie.

Date: Friday, May 8
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy, Martyn Lewis (WRU)
TMO: Derek Bevan (WRU)

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