Heineken Cup Pool 2: Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues match preview

Last Updated: 13/12/13 7:27pm

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Leone Nakarawa will make his first Glasgow Warriors start in Friday's Heineken Cup clash with Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun, live on Sky Sports 3 from 7pm.

Fijian second-row Nakarawa scored on his debut in the competition last week at Cardiff Arms Park after coming off the bench in the second-half, and has featured twice as a replacement for Glasgow in the Pro12.

In the backs Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Sean Maitland keeps his place on the right wing, while Tommy Seymour returns from injury to line-up on the left wing in place of DTH van der Merwe.

It's a new centre partnership with Byron McGuigan coming in for Gabriel Ascarate at outside centre, while Alex Dunbar wears the number 12 jersey. Ruaridh Jackson replaces Duncan Weir at fly-half and Niko Matawalu continues at scrum-half.

In the pack Ryan Grant plays his third consecutive game at loosehead, with Pat MacArthur replacing Dougie Hall at hooker and Jon Welsh coming in for Moray Low at tighthead.

Nakarawa will combine with captain Al Kellock in the engine room. In the back row Rob Harley continues at blindside flanker, with Tyrone Holmes coming in for Chris Fusaro at openside.

After a long spell on the sidelines through injury Ryan Wilson makes his first start of the season at number eight in place of Josh Strauss.

Prop Jerry Yanuyantawa returns to the squad after featuring for Fiji in November and is named among the replacements.

Opportunity

"We can still progress in this tournament and a huge positive for us is that we have an early opportunity to make amends for last week's defeat," said head coach Gregor Townsend. "Cardiff Blues are a quality side."

Meanwhile, fly-half Gareth Davies will start for Cardiff. Davies, the late try hero in the epic late win over champions Toulon in Round 2, comes into the starting line-up as Director of Rugby Phil Davies makes just one chance to his side.

Rhys Patchell, who scored a try in the closely fought 29-20 win when the teams met last week at Cardiff Arms Park, moves to inside centre with Dafydd Hewitt (shoulder) ruled out.

Second-row James Down and back row Andries Pretorius are called onto the replacements bench.

"I expect Glasgow to play like men possessed," said Phil Davies. "We looked to play a certain way last week against them and executed it. But we know how good they can be and have had some terrific games up there. Friday will be no different."

Glasgow: 15 Hogg, 14 Maitland, 13 McGuigan, 12 Dunbar, 11 Seymour, 10 Jackson, 9 Matawalu; 1 Grant, 2 MacArthur, 3 Welsh, 4 Nakarawa, 5 Kellock (c), 6 Harley, 7 Holmes, 8 Wilson.

Replacements: 16 Hall, 17 Yanuyanutawa, 18 Kalman, 19 Strauss, 20 Fusaro, 21 Cusiter, 22 Weir, 23 Van der Merwe.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Halfpenny, 14 Cuthbert, 13 Smith, 12 Patchell, 11 Robinson, 10 Davies, 9 Williams; 1 Hobbs (c), 2 Dacey, 3 Filise, 4 Dicomidis, 5 Paulo, 6 Cook, 7 Watts-Jones, 8 Copeland.

Replacements: 16 Breeze, 17 Davies, 18 Bourrust, 19 Down, 20 Jenkins, 21 Pretorius, 22 Jones, 23 Fish.

Watch Glasgow play Cardiff on Sky Sports 3 tonight, with coverage from 7pm

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