GLASGOW WARRIORS: Glasgow quartet return for Ulster trip
Stuart Hogg, Ryan Grant, DTH van der Merwe and Josh Strauss all return to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Ulster at Ravenhill tomorrow night (kick-off 7.05pm).
Gregor Townsend’s squad kicked off their new season with a 22-15 win over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun Stadium last Friday and now face last season’s RaboDirect PRO12 finalists in Belfast.
The Warriors were the last Scottish team to win at Ravenhill back in December 2009.
Hogg makes his first start at full-back since representing the British & Irish Lions in Australia over the summer. The club’s record try scorer DTH van der Merwe comes in on the left wing and last week’s try scorer Tommy Seymour starts on the right.
Sean Lamont and Mark Bennett will combine at centre with Ruaridh Jackson promoted from the bench to start at fly-half and Henry Pyrgos wearing the number nine jersey.
In the pack Ryan Grant returns from Lions duty at loose-head, with hooker Pat MacArthur and tight-head Ed Kalman keeping their places in the front row.
Scotland under-20 captain Jonny Gray replaces the injured Al Kellock and he’ll combine with Tim Swinson in the engine room.
Josh Strauss returns at number eight, with Tyrone Holmes set to make his first competitive start for the club at openside, while Rob Harley keeps his place on the blindside.
Scotland hooker Dougie Hall is named on the bench, returning to the matchday squad for the first time since the victory over Connacht in Galway at the end of last season.
The Warriors other replacements include Gordon Reid, Moray Low, James Eddie, Chris Fusaro, Richie Vernon, Chris Cusiter and new Argentinean back Gabriel Ascarate.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Although it wasn’t our most accurate performance last week, we were pleased to win our opening game against Cardiff Blues.
“The players showed great resilience and ambition in the final quarter to deliver our first victory of the season.
“Our work in defence and in the contact area on Friday was positive and is something we can build on going into our game against Ulster.
“We are well aware of the strengths of our opponents and their home record, so we will have to be close to our best at Ravenhill.
“We’re delighted to be able to welcome back Stuart Hogg and Ryan Grant into the squad. They returned to pre-season training slightly later than the rest of the group, but have trained really well over the last few weeks.
“We’re also pleased to be able to welcome back DTH van der Merwe and Josh Strauss for this game, while Ruaridh Jackson will make his first start since he played for Scotland in the summer.
“Al Kellock’s injury is still being assessed, so Henry Pyrgos will captain the side, as he did in our win against Exeter Chiefs a few weeks ago.
“Our games against Ulster last season were very competitive and I see Friday’s contest following a similar pattern.”
Glasgow Warriors team to play Ulster, RaboDirect PRO12, Ravenhill, Friday 13 September (kick-off 7.05pm):
15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Tommy Seymour, 13. Sean Lamont, 12. Mark Bennett, 11. DTH van der Merwe, 10. Ruaridh Jackson, 9. Henry Pyrgos (Captain), 1. Ryan Grant , 2. Pat MacArthur, 3. Ed Kalman, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Rob Harley, 7. Tyrone Holmes, 8. Josh Strauss. Substitutes: 16. Dougie Hall, 17. Gordon Reid, 18. Moray Low, 19. James Eddie, 20. Chris Fusaro, 21. Richie Vernon, 22. Chris Cusiter, 23. Gabriel Ascarate
Not available due to injury: Mike Cusack (shoulder), Alex Dunbar (thigh), Peter Horne (knee), Al Kellock (leg), Byron McGuigan (hip), Niko Matawalu (ankle), Tom Ryder (head), Duncan Weir (ankle) and Ryan Wilson (shoulder).