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Preview: Glasgow v Cardiff Blues

11th December 2013 09:00

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Tommy Seymour for Glasgow Warriors

Returning: Tommy Seymour

Leone Nakarawa will make his first Glasgow Warriors start in Friday's Heineken Cup clash with Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun.

Fijian second-row Nakarawa scored on his debut in the competition last week at Cardiff Arms Park after coming off the bench in the second-half, and has featured twice as a replacement for Glasgow in the Pro12.

In the backs Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Sean Maitland keeps his place on the right wing, while Tommy Seymour returns from injury to line-up on the left wing in place of DTH van der Merwe.

It's a new centre partnership with Byron McGuigan coming in for Gabriel Ascarate at outside centre, while Alex Dunbar wears the number 12 jersey.

Ruaridh Jackson replaces Duncan Weir at fly-half and Niko Matawalu continues at scrum-half.

In the pack Ryan Grant plays his third consecutive game at loosehead, with Pat MacArthur replacing Dougie Hall at hooker and Jon Welsh coming in for Moray Low at tighthead.

Nakarawa will combine with captain Al Kellock in the engine room.

In the back row Rob Harley continues at blindside flanker, with Tyrone Holmes coming in for Chris Fusaro at openside.

After a long spell on the sidelines through injury Ryan Wilson makes his first start of the season at number eight in place of Josh Strauss.

Prop Jerry Yanuyantawa returns to the squad after featuring for Fiji in November and has been named amongst the replacements.

"As a group we were frustrated by the nature of our defeat in Cardiff last week, as we gave up a number of scoring chances," said head coach Gregor Townsend.

"We undid so much of our good work primarily by allowing Cardiff to disrupt the ruck area. We pride ourselves on being tough to beat through our defence and being aggressive in contact, but we fell short of the required standards last Friday night.

"Despite having so much possession and territory in the first half we were unable to translate that into points and that is something we've worked hard to improve this week.

"We can still progress in this tournament and a huge positive for us is that we have an early opportunity to make amends for last week's defeat.

"Cardiff Blues are a quality side and played tough rugby for 80 minutes, so we know we'll face a very difficult game.

"But it looks like we'll have a big home crowd behind us and I'm confident that those selected will be full of determination and focus to make our supporters proud."

Meanwhile, fly-half Gareth Davies will start for Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun on Friday.

Davies, the late try hero in the epic late win over champions Toulon in Round 2, comes into the starting line-up as Director of Rugby Phil Davies makes just one chance to his side.

Rhys Patchell, who scored a try in the closely fought 29-20 win when the teams met last week at Cardiff Arms Park, moves to inside centre with Dafydd Hewitt (shoulder) ruled out.

Second-row James Down and back row Andries Pretorius are called onto the replacements bench.

"We were pleased with the motivation and spirit we showed last week," said Phil Davies.

"We have been getting better all year and at moment the performance levels are growing.

"We will need to work even harder up in Scotland. We need to go up level physically and tactically, be more accurate with the ball. Last week was about desire and performance, this week we need to extract even more from the players.

"I expect Glasgow to play like men possessed.

"We looked to play a certain way last week against them and executed it.

"But we know how good they can be and have had some terrific games up there. Friday will be no different.

"The team that controls the ball in the opposition attacking third will be hard to beat. It's a tough game because they will have been disappointed by last week, but we need to build on what we have achieved in this competition."

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Byron McGuigan, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Josh Strauss, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 DTH van der Merwe

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Rhys Patchell, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Rory Watts-Jones, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs (c)
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 James Down, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Andries Pretorius, 22 Lewis Jones, 23 Dan Fish

Date: Friday 13th December
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Kick-off: 2000 (local & GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert, Jean-Luc Rebollal (both France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)

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PosTeamPPts
1Toulon624
2Cardiff Blues614
3Exeter612
4Glasgow Warriors611