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Preview: Ospreys v Glasgow

13th September 2012 12:55

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Glasgow Warriors John Barclay v Ospreys 2011

Chasing first win: Ospreys and Glasgow

Left wing Tom Grabham will make his first competitive start for the Ospreys in Friday's PRO12 clash with Glasgow at Liberty Stadium.

Like the reigning tournament champions, the Warriors are still on the trail of their first victory of the new campaign, having been narrowly edged out by Ulster in Belfast a fortnight ago, and by Scarlets at Scotstoun Stadium last Friday.

Ospresy Head Coach Steve Tandy said on win on Friday was vital for the home side.

"This is an important game for us, against a very good, very powerful and very dangerous Glasgow team. Like us they'll be disappointed at the start they've had, but we know they are a real threat," said Tandy.

"They were in the PRO12 semis last season, as they were two years ago, and just as we haven't become a bad team on the back of two defeats neither have they.

"We are well aware that we need to improve from where we've been over the last two weeks but we also know where we are in terms of a long season and the need to balance things out for the squad and take a look at everybody. We've been able to change things about to give some more boys a chance, but we've selected a team good enough to do the job, just as was the case in the last two games.

"Obviously we've been hugely disappointed by how things have gone but the finger isn't hovering over the panic button. We've reviewed Saturday's game and what went right and wrong on the night. We aren't that far away from where we want to be, but in reality we need big improvements in application, discipline and accuracy if we are going to turn possession and chances into wins. We need to get back to what we were doing at the end of last season, playing mature, intelligentrugby that allowed us to go through the phases and really make it count."

Meanwhile Glasgow Warriors will strive to pull together the positive elements of their first two games and produce a more compelling all-round package at the Liberty Stadium.

Glasgow significantly improved their discipline and set piece between the two games, but struggled to establish attacking momentum against Scarlets due to a high number of turnovers.

Gregor Townsend and his troops are well aware that all the pieces of the jigsaw will need to be in place if they are to deliver a repeat of the 26-20 success enjoyed on the club's last visit to Swansea back in March.

"We're clearly disappointed to have lost our opening two matches, and there's a determination about the whole group to achieve a win this weekend," the head coach told glasgowwarriors.org

"To do that away from home against a quality outfit like Ospreys, we know our performance will need to be spot on in all the key areas. In both the Ulster and Scarlets matches, we've done certain things very well, but haven't been as accurate as we know we can be in other facets of the game.

"As well as ensuring we don't turn the ball over as often this week, we'll need to ensure our physicality is right up there.

"Ospreys have one of the most aggressive defensive lines in the competition, and they bring the same principles to the breakdown.

"We know our players are more than capable of matching that sort of relentlessness, and we're heading to Swansea with confidence."

There are six changes to the starting XV that ran out against the Scarlets.

With Pat MacArthur nursing a fractured foot and Moray Low a calf complaint, Dougie Hall starts at hooker and Mike Cusack at tight-head prop. In the back-row, John Barclay moves to blinside flanker with Chris Fusaro coming in at openside.

The backline switches see Duncan Weir replace Ruaridh Jackson at stand-off, Tommy Semour get the nod over Sean Lamont on the right wing, and Peter Horne (pictured) start at inside centre.

Townsend explained: "As a coaching group, we strongly believe this team has the necessary attributes to win Friday's game.

"We're sending out an experienced pack, and are happy with the balance of the combinations in there.

"John Barclay has played the majority of his rugby at openside, but he has significant, and recent, experience in the other back-row positions and we've every confidence he will bring his class to bear.

"Peter Horne has made an excellent case for selection with his form and appetite in training since the very start of pre-season, and we're looking forward to seeing what he and Alex Dunbar produce as a pairing.

"Tommy Seymour is another player who has consistently put his hand up over the last few months, and we're delighted to have a good number of strong options in the back three.

"As ever, the bench will have a big role to play in what is sure to be another intense contest. We have quality, experience and game-changing ability in there - all vital ingredients.

"We know this is going to be another very challenging match, but as a group, we're primed to deliver the result that we and our supporters all want."

Form: Ospreys have begun the defence of their RaboDirect PRO12 title with a pair of defeats, the only other reigning champion to have equalled this was the Ospreys themselves in 2007, when they lost the first three games of their defence. The Welshmen have lost at home to a Scottish side just once since 2009: 26-20 to today's visitors, Glasgow Warriors, on 2 March 2012. Glasgow Warriors have also begun the season with back to back losses to Ulster and Scarlets, but were at least victorious on their most recent visit to Wales. The Warriors have lost just one of their last nine matches against the Welsh regions. Glasgow achieved the double over Ospreys for the first time last season including a first ever victory on Ospreys home turf.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Grabham, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric (c), 6 George Stowers, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Andrew Bishop.

Glasgow Warriors:15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 John Barclay, 5 Al Kellock (c)), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 George Hunter 18 Gordon Reid, 19 James Eddie, 20 Angus Macdonald, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Sean Lamont.

Date: Friday, September 14
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Kick-off: 19.05 BST (18.05 GMT)
Referee: Leo Colgan (IRFU

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3Ulster2065
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5Ospreys1956