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Preview: Glasgow v Scarlets

05th September 2012 13:05

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DTH Van Der Merwe Glasgow Warriors 2012

Winging it: DTH van der Merwe

Winger DTH van der Merwe has been named in Glasgow's starting line-up for Friday's PRO12 match against Scarlets at at Scotstoun Stadium.

Scrum-half Chris Cusiter and fly-half Ruaridh Jackson will also be reunited at half-back in the other changes behind the scrum.

Up front there is an all-new front row in the shape of Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur and Moray Low, while John Barclay comes in at openside flanker.

Friday's clash sees Glasgow throw open the doors of their new Scotstoun home for the first time, as the Warriors seek to bounce back from the disappointment of an 18-10 defeat to recent Heineken Cup finalists Ulster in Belfast last week.

"As ever, we've selected a team with one objective in mind: winning the match," said head coach Gregor Townsend.

"The quality and depth of our squad is reflected by the guys we're able to bring in this week, all of whom know they have to deliver with so many other players breathing down their necks.

"That's particularly the case in a position like wing. We're delighted to welcome back DTH van der Merwe, an experienced, quality campaigner coming into the side in a role where Tommy Seymour performed very well last week.

"Similarly in the front row, we're lucky to have a number of really good options.

"Ryan Grant and Moray Low both performed very well off the bench in Ulster, as did John Barclay, Chris Cusiter and Ruaridh Jackson, all of whom start this week.

"Ruaridh has applied himself excellently in training, working on various aspects of his game that will allow him to make even more of an impact.

"Duncan (Weir) wasn't helped last week by the indiscipline we showed, and we're well aware of how effective he can be when given a better platform.

"He and the other guys who will be on the bench come Friday have a massive role to play - we'll be looking to them to have a similar impact to that produced by the replacements who came on against Ulster."

Meanwhile, Welsh international Rhys Priestland starts at fly-half for Scarlets.

Up front captain and number eight Rob McCusker leads his side alongside Johnathan Edwards and Aaron Shingler in the back-row. Matthew Rees comes in at hooker with Rhodri Jones and Deacon Manu in the front-row.

Scarlets new forwards coach, Danny Wilson, said he was impressed with the early performance of his pack against Leinster last week; but said with just one game down, their feet were firmly on the ground and there was still plenty to work on.

"It was my first taste of what the boys could do in a competitive fixture against a Leinster pack made up of quality, experienced professionals and we were pleased with the performance - however it means nothing unless we back it up this weekend," he said.

"With a level of consistency in our game up front, we can unleash our back line and we saw at the weekend how very potent it is. There's some work to do with our scrum, but the line-out functioned well last weekend. We went into the game with a confidence and intent to put pressure on them up front and it went our way.

"There's a very strong work ethic and ambition in this Scarlets group and the boys know that there's plenty competition for places. We need to build continuity in our performance and there's a lot of that reflected in our selection this weekend but we also need to rotate some players to ensure we keep building our depth and give opportunities across our squad.

"There's a lot of rugby ahead of us so it's important we build a strong squad - as opposed to just a team."

Wilson said they had a big challenge ahead of them on Friday in Scotland.

"We've had a good look at the Warriors and their game last weekend, they were a very dogged side, and they'll put a lot of pressure on in the contact area. We know we'll have to be sharp this weekend - it's going to be a tough fixture as their opening game in the new home and they'll want to bounce back from their loss last weekend," he said.

"We are under no illusion as to what we are facing - they were a very strong side last season and reached the semi-finals just ahead of us by a couple of points. But we're confident in what we can bring, the players are gelling well and know they have to back up what they achieved last weekend."

Form: Glasgow tripped up 10-18 at Ulster in round one of the RaboDirect PRO12 - the Warriors also lost their opening two games of the 2011/12 season. The Warriors have lost just one of their last nine matches against the Welsh regions. Scarlets defeated Leinster 45-20 at Parc y Scarlets on Friday and are now unbeaten in their last four PRO12 encounters. Scarlets have lost on their last two visits to Scotland. Both clashes between the two sides last season were won by the home side on the day, whilst Scarlets have won just once in Glasgow on their last seven visits.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Barclay, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Moray Low, 1 Ryan Grant, 2 Pat MacArthur.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Mike Cusack, 18 Gordon Reid, 19 James Eddie, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Peter Horne.

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Rob McCusker (c), 7 Johnathan Edwards, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Richard Kelly, 4 George Earle, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Phil John, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Kieran Murphy, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Adam Warren.

Date: Friday, 7 September
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Jason Langdon (Wales)
Television match official: Neil Ballard (Wales)

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