RaboDirect Pro12: Glasgow travel to Scarlets, Munster host Leinster
Last Updated: 05/10/13 11:12am
Duncan Weir: Makes welcome return to Glasgow starting line-up after injury
Scotland stand-off Duncan Weir will bring his six-month injury lay-off to an end when he reclaims his place in the Glasgow side for Saturday's clash with Scarlets.
Weir broke his leg against Ospreys last April but will start for the Warriors side as they look to maintain their 100 per cent start to the RaboDirect Pro12 season.
The Dark Blues back has already come through two matches with club side Stirling County to prove his fitness to Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend.
As well as 22-year-old Weir, Townsend makes nine other changes to the team which beat Zebre in Parma last Friday.
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, while 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.
Scarlets have won their last five matches against Scottish sides, but the Warriors' only loss in their last eight encounters against Welsh opposition was to the Llanelli side in the equivalent fixture last season.
In Saturday's other game, Munster host Leinster in an Irish derby at Thomond Park.
Felix Jones and Paul O'Connell, who both returned to Munster action last weekend against Dragons, make their first start of the season.
Further positive news sees the return of BJ Botha and Conor Murray, who are both named among the replacements.
Botha, who sustained a knee injury in Munster's pre-season game against London Irish, has displayed great commitment to the rehab programme set out by Munster's medical staff in getting match-ready for the round five fixture.
Head Coach Rob Penney has opted to start with Jones at full-back on Saturday with Keith Earls switching to the wing, as Casey Laulala and James Downey resume their centre partnership.
With the return of Conor Murray, Cathal Sheridan misses out this week with Duncan Williams starting alongside Ian Keatley in the half-backs.
For Leinster, former Wallaby Lote Tuqiri will start at outside centre alongside Gordon D'Arcy in a new-look midfield. Brian O'Driscoll picked up a minor calf strain in training this week and will be assessed by the medical team over the coming days regarding his availability for next week's opening Heineken Cup clash away to the Ospreys.
Jamie Heaslip will lead the squad for the 15th time for the trip to Limerick on what will be his 168th appearance for the province. The Naas man is named in a back-row which includes fellow Ireland international Kevin McLaughlin and the returning Sean O'Brien.
Mike McCarthy locks down alongside Devin Toner in an all-Ireland qualified pack, with Cian Healy named in the front-row alongside Sean Cronin and Mike Ross. Ian Madigan starts at fly-half and will make his 85th appearance.
Luke Fitzgerald is named on the bench having been sidelined since the opening round victory over the Scarlets. Dominic Ryan's next appearance will be his 50th in Leinster colours.
But in bad news for Leinster fans, last year's Young Player of the Year Jordi Murphy has undergone a procedure on an ankle injury and will be out for a number of weeks.