RaboDirect PRO12 preview: Glasgow Warriors v Munster preview

Last Updated: 16/05/14 7:35pm

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Glasgow Warriors host Munster at Scotstoun on Friday with a place in this season's RaboDirect PRO12 final up for grabs.

Glasgow finished second in the league at the end of the regular season after winning their last eight games - a club record - completing the campaign with a 54-0 demolition of Zebre.

Following back-to-back semi-final defeats, it is the first time the Warriors have hosted a play-off and Tommy Seymour hopes home advantage will prove crucial.

The winger told the competition's official website: "It's huge to get the home semi. We've played the last couple of years away to Leinster and we've had a narrow loss in both of those which was hard for us to take.

"But if anything it just shows how important getting a home semi-final is and we needed to make sure we go that because of the advantage it can lead to.

"The boys have dug in and played well and the last seven weeks have helped us secured that but there's no point in having a home semi-final if we don't play the way we have been."

But it will be tough against a Munster side who finished third in the league and edged the contest between the sides at Scotstoun 13-6 back in October.

However, the Warriors then gained revenge when they inflicted Munster's first defeat at Thomond Park this season with an impressive 22-5 win.

Team news

In team news, Fijian flyer Niko Matawalu is benched for Glasgow, and there is no place in the squad for British and Irish Lion Stuart Hogg, with the in-form Peter Murchie given the nod at full-back.

The little-known pivot Finn Russell starts at ten having burst onto the scene mid-season, while there is no place for Duncan Weir. In the second-row, Jonny Gray teams up with skipper Al Kellock.

For Munster, head coach Rob Penney has named Damien Varley as captain of a line-up which sees four changes to the starting XV which lost to Ulster last time.

BJ Botha returns at tight-head to join Varley and Dave Kilcoyne in the front row, while CJ Stander is the only change in the back row at 6.

Conor Murray returns to the starting line up to partner Ian Keatley in the half backs while in the back three, winger Keith Earls makes his first start since Munster's Heineken Cup defeat to Toulon.

In the replacements, Andrew Conway returns following a speedy and successful rehab to a sprained toe sustained against Edinburgh.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Chris Cusiter; 1 Ryan Grant, 2 Dougie Hall, 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Al Kellock (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Rob Harley, 7 Chris Fusaro, 8 Josh Strauss.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Leone Nakarawa, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Sean Lamont

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Dave Kilcoyne, 2 Damien Varley (c), 3 BJ Botha, 4 Dave Foley, 5 Paul O'Connell, 6 CJ Stander, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 James Coughlan.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Andrew Conway.

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