Planet Rugby

Preview: Glasgow v Scarlets

21st April 2011 13:21


Bernardo Stortoni Glasgow Scarlets

Final push: Glasgow are looking to end on a high

Glasgow Warriors head coach Sean Lineen has called for a big performance in the Warriors' final Magners League home game against the Scarlets on Friday.

Lineen has selected four of the available leavers already announced (Bernardo Stortoni, Kevin Tkachuk, Aly Muldowney and Richie Vernon), whilst confirming that flanker James Eddie will join them in departing for pastures new.

"It was a tough call to make [handing the leavers a start] but it was for the right reasons," said the head coach.

"But I have a huge amount of respect for the players and what they have done for this club over the years.

"When you look at some of the names like Bernardo Stortoni, Kevin Tkachuk, James Eddie and Richie Vernon, these guys are fantastic players. You know they're going to give their all in front of a home crowd - it will be quite an emotional night but it has to be a professional night too. We have to go about doing our job right."

Scrum-half Chris Cusiter who will make his first appearance at Firhill in what is the final home game of the campaign. Cusiter's comeback is bolstered by stand-in captain Graeme Morrison's return to form having scored a scorching try against Treviso last weekend.

"It's great to have a guy the quality of Chris Cusiter back who will be making his first appearance at Firhill this season," said Lineen.

"Graeme Morrison scored a cracker last week as well so they're like new signings. Their enthusiasm rubs off on the other players."

Looking ahead to the threat posed by play-off chasing Scarlets, Lineen added: "It's going to be a tough game. Llanelli play a fantastic brand of rugby so we can't sit off and watch them play it.

"They are very close to top-four qualification so they'll be coming up here to try and win the game."

Meanwhile, Scarlets will be looking for vital points as they try to sneak into the play-offs.

Having kicked off strongly in the league this season, the Scarlets spent 12 consecutive weeks in the play-off zone in the league. The now 6th placed Scarlets need to secure points in their final two games of the season and will look to the experience of some of their senior players to lead their performance away in Glasgow.

Wales fly-half Stephen Jones takes the helm in the pivotal role at 10, with a powerful and creative backline including Morgan Stoddart at full-back, George North and Scotland international Sean Lamont on the wing, Gareth Maule and Scott Williams in centre partnership and Tavis Knoyle starting again at scrum-half.

"We were disappointed with the final result last week against Munster, in many areas of the game we out-played and performed them but lacked that edge and winning mentality - which Munster have," said Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies.

"It was a performance reflective of our season, with a lot of promise but we're just not able to finish off tight encounters. We've created lots of scoring opportunities and played all the rugby - but we have to be more accurate and balance our performance with the right mentality to win.

"The structure's good, and defensively since Europe we've been one of the top three performers in the league. There's a lot of good stuff happening but we're just not nailing those wins - it's a big frustration to us and we have to put it right.

"We've been very hard on ourselves this week - we have to get results in our next two games and that is all that we can focus on. Europe is important to us and to maintain control of that we have to win our final games. We know that there's pressure on but we have to deal with that and I'm expecting this team to go out there and perform.

"It's a difficult place to play and Glasgow will play to their strengths and their home field. We've trained on a reduced size pitch this week and the side that wins the kicking battle and exerts the most pressure in that area will undoubtedly come out on top."

Form: Glasgow Warriors have won only two of their last ten Magners League matches. The Warriors are without a victory in their last five matches against Welsh opponents in the Magners League. Scarlets have slipped to three defeats in their last four matches, and have lost five in a row away from home since their 21-16 win at Edinburgh on 8 January. Scarlets ended a five game losing run against Glasgow with their 18-14 victory at Parc y Scarlets in round seven, but have not achieved a league double over the Scotsmen since season 2003/04.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Bernardo Stortoni, 14 Hefin O'Hare, 13 Peter Murchie, 12 Graeme Morrison (c), 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Richie Vernon, 6 James Eddie, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Aly Muldowney, 3 Moray Low, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Kevin Tkachuk.
Replacements: 16 Fergus Thomson, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Ryan Grant, 19 Robert Harley, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Colin Gregor, 23 Federico Aramburu.

Scarlets:15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 George North, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Ben Morgan. 7 Johnathan Edwards, 6 Rob McCusker, 5 Aaron Shingler, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Iestyn Thomas.
Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Phil John, Simon Gardiner, Dominic Day, David Lyons, Martin Roberts, Rhys Priestland, Daniel Evans.

Date: Friday, April 22
Venue: Firhill Stadium
Kick-off: 20.05 BST
Referee: Carlo Damasco

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