RaboDirect Pro12 preview: Glasgow Warriors take on Scarlets
Last Updated: 21/03/14 1:56pm
Al Kellock: Back after three months out with an arm injury
There is all to play for when Glasgow Warriors take on Scarlets in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Saturday, while Munster entertain Treviso.
The Warriors will run out at their Scotstoun base for the first time in six weeks against opponents whom they beat 17-12 at Parc y Scarlets in October, but the Welshmen have won on two of their last three visits to Glasgow.
Fifth-placed Glasgow sit three points off fourth-placed Ospreys and a play-off spot, but have two games in hand, while sixth-placed Scarlets are seven points behind the Warriors.
Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend said: "We're looking forward to our first game at Scotstoun in six weeks. This is a really important period of the season and it's great that six of our last eight games will be in front of our home support.
"Scarlets are a quality side, who finished in the top four last season and are only seven points and one place behind us in sixth, so they pose a huge threat."
The Warriors have been boosted by the return of a number of Scotland internationals, along with club captain Al Kellock and winger Sean Maitland.
Kellock has been out for three months with an arm injury, while Maitland was injured in Scotland's opening game of the Six Nations and both have been named among the replacements.
Alex Dunbar returns from Dark Blues duty at centre and Duncan Weir at fly-half, with Cusiter named at scrum-half.
In the pack, Dougie Hall comes in for Pat MacArthur at hooker and Jon Welsh replaces Ed Kalman at tight head.
Opponents Scarlets also welcome several players back from international duty, with centre Jonathan Davies leading the side in the absence of injured Rob McCusker.
Liam Williams returns at full-back with Welsh front row duo Ken Owens and Samson Lee packing down in the scrum. Jordan Williams moves to the wing, replacing the injured Frazier Climo, whilst Tongan international Sione Timani replaces injured captain McCusker.
Second-placed Munster have named Paul O'Connell and Keith Earls in their starting line-up for the home clash against Treviso.
O'Connell starts after captaining Ireland to Six Nations glory in Paris last weekend, with Earls coming into the side for the first time since injuring his knee against Edinburgh in January.
Damien Varley returns to captain the side in his first start since January as Rob Penney makes eleven changes to the side that were beaten by Scarlets.
Earls starts on the right wing as one of four changes to the backline with Felix Jones at 15, James Downey coming in to partner Casey Laulala in the centres and JJ Hanrahan at 10.
Donnacha Ryan is the only forward to keep his place in the starting XV, shifting to flanker.
Varley, James Cronin and John Ryan make up the front-row. Billy Holland comes into the side to partner O'Connell in the second-row. Sean Dougall and Paddy Butler, who makes his first appearance since January after suffering a spinal concussion on club duty, are named in the back-row with Ryan.
New Zealand hooker Quentin MacDonald could make his debut off the bench with Irish internationals Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer completing the front-row cover.
Record appearance holder Donncha O'Callaghan and CJ Stander are also named amongst the replacements.
Simon Zebo and Ian Keatley will be hoping to make an impact off the bench with Keatley looking to reach 500 points for Munster, the fly-half has scored 497 points in 66 games.
Meanwhile, Treviso have named Italy internationals Angelo Esposito, Michele Campagnaro, Edoardo Gori, Robert Barbieri, Lorenzo Cittadini and Alberto De Marchi in their starting side.
It appears hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini and full-back Luke McLean are being eased back into club rugby as they must make do with places on the replacements bench.