Preview: Glasgow v Cardiff Blues

Date published: April 9 2015

Glasgow can take another step closer to a home semi-final with a Pro12 victory over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun on Friday night.

The league leaders picked up a valuable draw away at Leinster last time out, and will be hoping to extend a run of seven straight league wins over the Blues.

The Warriors have made seven changes from the side that drew with Leinster last time out with Finn Russell leading the way at fly-half.

He comes in for Mark Bennett, as Peter Horne and Richie Vernon each shift out a position, while Peter Murchie comes in at full-back.

Henry Pyrgos is the other change in the backline, replacing Niko Matawalu, while there are a further four changes in the pack.

It's a new-look front row with starts for Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Dougie Hall and Mick Cusack, while Adam Ashe comes in at number eight for Josh Strauss.

"Cardiff Blues always give us a tough game and we’re well aware of the challenge they will pose," said Gregor Townsend.

"It’s great to see some players back from injury with Gordon (Reid), Jon (Welsh) and Duncan (Weir) on the bench, after working really hard to get back to full fitness."

Cardiff come into the game on the back of a Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat to Welsh rivals the Dragons, and have made eight changes to that team.

Garyn Smith is set to make his full debut in the centres, alongside Tom Isaacs, while Gareth Anscombe moves back to full-back, handing Gareth Davies the start at ten.

Tavis Knoyle returns to his usual position at scrum-half, after filling in at 12 last weekend, while in the pack there is a new front row.

Adam Jones, who impressed off the bench against the Dragons, replaces Scott Andrews, while Sam Hobbs and Kristian Dacey also start. The final switch sees Macauley Cook come into the side at blindside, but the Blues are without a number of injured players including Argentine pair Joaquin Tuculet and Lucas Amorosino.

Form: Glasgow Warriors have been defeated only once in their last six Guinness PRO12 encounters: 10-22 against Munster in Cork on 28th February. The Scotsmen have not lost at Scotstoun in the tournament since Dragons were the visitors in November 2013. Cardiff Blues have lost their last two matches, at Ulster in the Guinness PRO12 and at Dragons in the quarter-final of the European Challenge Cup. The Blues have not won outside Wales in the competition since they visited Zebre in round 1. Warriors have won their last seven encounters with the Blues in the PRO12, although the Welshmen were victorious both home and away in last season's European Cup. The Blues have scored only one try at Scotstsoun on their three visits – by Josh Navidi on 1 March 2013.

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Peter Horne, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Jerry Yanuyanutawa.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Ali Price, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Lee Jones

Cardiff Blues: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Garyn Smith, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Lou Reed, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Taufa'ao Filise, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Simon Humberstone, 23 Richard Smith

Date: Friday, April 10
Kick-off: 19:35 local
Venue: Scotstoun, Glasgow
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Mike Adamson (both SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU )