RaboDirect Pro12: Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys preview
Last Updated: 28/03/14 10:47pm
Ospreys will be looking to avoid slipping to a fifth straight defeat away from home in all competitions when they take on Glasgow in Friday's crucial RaboDirect Pro12 clash at Scotstoun.
The Warriors will be aiming for a third victory on the trot on home soil to close the gap on the fourth-placed Welsh side with just four points separating the sides.
And they will be favourites to come away with the win with Ospreys having recorded just one success in their last eight visits to Scotland since 2009.
Gregor Townsend has made three changes to the side that defeated Scarlets 14-6 at Scotstoun last Saturday.
Finn Russell has been handed his fourth start for the Warriors, lining up at centre alongside Alex Dunbar.
Russell, 21, comes in at inside centre with Dunbar moving outside in place of Richie Vernon, who has been named among the replacements.
Peter Murchie continues at full-back and Tommy Seymour and Niko Matawalu keep their places on either wing.
Duncan Weir and captain Chris Cusiter continue their half-back partnership. Pat MacArthur comes in for Dougie Hall at hooker and he'll play alongside props Jon Welsh and Gordon Reid in the front row. Leone Nakarawa replaces the injured Tim Swinson in the second row and partners Jonny Gray.
"This is our biggest game of the season so far with valuable league points up for grabs," said Warriors head coach Townsend.
Hanno Dirksen and James King come into the Ospreys starting XV as Sam Lewis makes his 50th appearance for the region.
"This is a massive game for us and the group are under no illusions of the size of the task ahead over next couple of months," said Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy.
Glasgow: 15 Murchie, 14 Seymour, 13 Dunbar, 12 Russell, 11 Matawalu, 10 Weir, 9 Laidlaw (c); 1 Reid, 2 MacArthur, 3 Welsh, 4 Nakawara, 5 Gray, 6 Harley, 7 Fusaro, 8 Strauss
Replacements: 16 Hall, 17 Yanuyanutawa, 18 Low, 19 Wilson, 20 Holmes, 21 Jackson, 22 Vernon, 23 Maitland
Ospreys: 15 Davies, 14 Hassler, 13 Dirksen, 12 Spratt, 11 Natoga, 10 Biggar, 9 Webb; 1 Duncan Jones, 2 Baldwin, 3 Jarvis, 4 King, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Lewis, 7 Tipuric, 8 Baker
Replacements: 16 Otten, 17 Smith, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Ardron, 20 Allen, 21 Bearman, 22 Habberfield, 23 Fusell
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 R18
Glasgow moved into the top four of the RaboDirect PRO12 standings with a 29-10 victory over Benetton Treviso.
Full-back Jack Cuthbert kicked 13 points as Edinburgh secured a 23-19 win at Newport Gwent Dragons.
Scarlets held off a spirited late fightback by Connacht to claim a 32-30 bonus-point victory at Parc y Scarlets.