Preview: PRO14 semi-final, Glasgow v Scarlets

Date published: May 17 2018

Finn Russell will start his last home game for Glasgow Warriors against the Scarlets in the PRO14 semi-final at an expanded Scotstoun on Friday.

Russell, who is leaving the club in the summer, kicked a late touchline conversion in the club’s last home semi-final to win the game and 10,000 Warriors supporters will be hoping for another inspired performance from their fly-half against the reigning champions.

George Horne will partner Russell at scrum-half with Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg starting in midfield. Johnson returns to the side having missed the final game of the regular season against Edinburgh.

Tommy Seymour was also missing at Murrayfield that day and he returns to the starting XV and will play alongside DTH van der Merwe and Stuart Hogg in the back three.

Jonny Gray is also fit to play and starts alongside Tim Swinson in the second-row. Ahead of them Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson complete the tight forwards.

Ryan Wilson captains the side from number eight as Matt Fagerson and Callum Gibbins start on the flanks.

Peter Horne was another player to miss the game against Edinburgh and he is named on an experienced bench that includes club centurions Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Henry Pyrgos and Ruaridh Jackson.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie said: “We’ve prepared well and it’s great to be able to bring back Jonny (Gray), Sam (Johnson) Pete (Horne)and Tommy (Seymour) who were late withdrawals ahead of our last game.

“Scarlets are a quality side, they’re reigning Champions for a reason and we’re looking forward to the challenge on what is will be a special night for our players and supporters.”

Meanwhile, Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has selected a strong side for the clash peppered with international talent both in the pack and across the backline.

With Leigh Halfpenny unavailable due to a hamstring injury, sustained in the quarter-final clash against Cheetahs, Scarlets have been forced to make one change to the backline. Kiwi Johnny McNicholl makes a timely recovery from shoulder injury to take Halfpenny’s place at full-back.

Two personnel changes upfront see Aaron Shingler returning to the starting XV, which in turn sees fans favourite Tadhg Beirne return to the second-row to partner Steve Cummins with Lewis Rawlins moving to the replacements bench.

Looking ahead to the game, Pivac said: “They’ve got a very good record at home. They play on a different surface, which they’re used to, so they have a bit of an advantage there, but it’s 80 minutes of knockout rugby. We think we’re in a reasonably good position in terms of our form going in to it.

“We’re really looking forward to it. We have a lot of respect for Glasgow, they have a good coaching group, some greats players and they’ve got a very strong home record. It makes for a good match-up. Both teams like to play, use the width of the field, and with that type of play it could be a great game.”

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 George Horne, 8 Ryan Wilson (c), 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti
16 George Turner, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Ruaridh Jackson

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Steff Hughes

Date: Friday, May 18
Venue: Scotstoun
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Ollie Hodges (Ireland)