Planet Rugby

Preview: Scarlets v Glasgow

04th October 2013 12:38

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scarlets v glasgow

Powerhouse: Sean Lamont

The Scarlets will be looking to back up their win against Edinburgh with another strong performance as they host league leaders Glasgow.

Securing a vital four points away from home last weekend in Murrayfield showed the character and spirit of a Scarlets side that's also intent on improving home form starting with a big contest against an in-form Glasgow team that has a 100% record so far this season.

The Scarlets have won their last five matches against Scottish opponents. Glasgow Warriors have made a 100 per cent winning start to the 2013/14 season and have won their last six regular season encounters in the tournament.

The Warriors only loss to a Welsh Region in their last eight such encounters was to Scarlets in this equivalent fixture last season. The Scarlets have lost only once to the Warriors in their last six meetings: 9-19 at Firhill in February 2012.

"What was pleasing last weekend was to see the training transfer and clarity on how we wanted to play the game coming through our performance," said Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby.

"We were probably a little disappointed not to come away with another try last weekend but the four points was vital and the way we went about getting that win was impressive after the disappointment of the derby night.

"We had a reaction from the players last week and we need to build on what we achieved in Edinburgh; going away and getting a result in this competition is good but we also have to improve our home form. Building home success is crucial for us this season.

"We have to feel confident and happy that we can play the type of rugby we want to, but winning rugby as well and ensure we don't make the mistakes we did against Leinster when we just lost our composure and our way which allowed them back into the game.

"Glasgow have been very impressive, they were strong at the end of last season and have kicked off in the same vein.

"They were a top two side last year in the way they were playing and beating them at home for us at the end of the season was massive - we didn't allow them to get into their game and we will need to replicate that type of performance.

"They will come down with lots of confidence. If there is any momentum swing away from us, it's important we stick to our principals and keep our heads. We have to show balance and the ability to understand when we can play a certain way and how to manage a game well."

Easterby said they were expecting their new signing, New Zealand back-three player Frazier Climo to arrive at the end of October; bringing in some added experience at a time when a number of the Scarlets back line players will be leaving regional duty to join Wales.

Meanwhile, fly-half Duncan Weir returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up after almost six months out through injury.

The 22-year-old, who broke his leg against the Ospreys at Scotstoun last April, is one of ten changes to the team which beat Zebre in Parma last Friday.

Sean Maitland continues at full-back, while Niko Matawalu starts on the right wing in place of Tommy Seymour and Sean Lamont replaces Byron McGuigan on the opposite flank.

Mark Bennett comes in at outside centre to partner Alex Dunbar, with Gabriel Ascarate dropping to the bench.

Weir forms a new half-back partnership with scrum-half Chris Cusiter, with Ruaridh Jackson and Henry Pyrgos not involved this weekend.

In the front row Ryan Grant comes in for Gordon Reid, Pat MacArthur replaces Dougie Hall at hooker and Moray Low starts ahead of Jon Welsh.

Captain Al Kellock will combine with Tim Swinson in the engine room, with Rob Harley moving from second-row back to blindside flanker.

Chris Fusaro starts at openside and Richie Vernon replaces the injured Josh Strauss at number eight.

The Warriors bench includes the club's record try scorer DTH van der Merwe who is available again after illness, along with former Scotland under-20 number eight Adam Ashe.

Scarlets have won their last five matches against Scottish opponents and the Warriors only loss in their last eight encounters against Welsh opposition was to Scarlets in the equivalent fixture last season.

"We've had a good week of training and the players are full of determination going into the game tomorrow," said Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend.

"Scarlets are a very strong side who are well coached under Simon Easterby. They have a good record against us and we'll need to improve a number of aspects of our game if we're to come away with a positive result.

"I'm delighted that Duncan (Weir) is able to re-join the squad after several months out of action. He has worked hard throughout his rehab and looked sharp in training, as well as during his recent games with Stirling County.

"We were disappointed to lose both games against Scarlets last season, especially in Llanelli towards the end of the season and we're looking for a much better performance this weekend."

Form: Scarlets have an even won two, lost two record after the first for rounds of this season's RaboDirect Pro12. The Welshmen's most recent try bonus point came during a 29-28 victory at Murrayfield in October 2012. Scarlets have won their last five matches against Scottish opponents. Glasgow Warriors have made a 100 per cent winning start to the 2013/14 season and have won their last six regular season encounters in the tournament. The Warriors only loss to a Welsh Region in their last eight such encounters was to Scarlets in this equivalent fixture last season. Scarlets have lost only once to the Warriors in their last six meetings: 9-19 at Firhill in February 2012.

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Nick Reynolds, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Gareth Maule, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 John Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Jacobie AdriaanseSamson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Steve Shingler, 23 Adam Warren.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Niko Matawalu, 13 Niko Matawalu, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Robert Harley, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Moray Low, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 on Welsh, 19 James Eddie, 20 Adam Ashe, 21 Scott Wight, 22 Gabriel Ascarate, 23 DTH van der Merwe.

Date: Saturday, October 5
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Kick-off: 18:30 BST
Referee: Giuseppe Vivarini (FIR)
Assistant Referees: Chris Williams, Phil Fear (both WRU)
TMO: Tim Hayes (WRU)

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