Yes, that old thing’s still going on. Here are the teams shorn of international stars, and the opposition. Hey at least John Barclay’s not playing.
Glasgow v Scarlets
Glasgow have Rory Hughes, Scott Cummings and the mighty Richie Vernon back which might allow Townsend a little sleep, while Rob Harley has been returned from Scotland duty.
Glasgow Warriors team to play Scarlets in the Guinness PRO12 at Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 10 February, live on Sky Sports 3 (kick-off 7.35pm):
15. Peter Murchie (112), 14. Lee Jones (47), 13. Nick Grigg (11), 12. Sam Johnson (21), 11. Rory Hughes (24), 10. Rory Clegg (15), 9. Henry Pyrgos (117); 1. Alex Allan (41), 2. Pat MacArthur (148), 3. D’arcy Rae (17), 4. Brian Alainu’uese (7), 5. Scott Cummings (9), 6. Rob Harley (153), 7. Chris Fusaro (118), 8. Adam Ashe (32)
Replacements: 16. James Malcolm (16), 17. Jamie Bhatti (1), 18. Sila Puafisi (34), 19. Richie Vernon (86), 20. Lewis Wynne (10), 21. Grayson Hart (29), 22. Hagen Schulte (0), 23. Sean Lamont (108)
Players unavailable due to injury: Peter Horne (knee / ankle), Greg Peterson (shoulder) and Leonardo Sarto (shoulder).
Scarlets: 15 Johnny Mcnicholl, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (capt), 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Werner Kruger, 4 Tom Price, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 Will Boyde
Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Luke Garrett, Nicky Thomas, Tadhg Beirne, Joshua Macleod, Aled Davies, Aled Thomas, Steff Hughes
Ulster v Edinburgh
Edinburgh have named a more settled team with a classy looking back row, as per usual. Didn’t help them against Munster last time though… No sign of Cornell du Preez this week. Ulster have Tommy Bowe and Stuart McCloskey available on the bench.
UPDATE: due to Hardie being called up to Scotland, Jamie Ritchie now starts at 7.
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium, Friday 10 February, kick-off 7.35pm – live on BBC ALBA:
15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Damien Hoyland, 13. Chris Dean, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Tom Brown, 10. Jason Tovey, 9. Sean Kennedy; 1. Jack Cosgrove, 2. Neil Cochrane (capt), 3. Murray McCallum, 4. Fraser McKenzie, 5. Ben Toolis, 6. Viliame Mata, 7.
John Hardie Jamie Ritchie, 8. Magnus Bradbury
Replacements: 16. Stuart McInally, 17. Derrick Appiah, 18. Nick Beavon, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20. Viliami Fihaki, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Michael Allen, 23. Rory Scholes
Players unavailable due to injury: Kevin Bryce (shoulder), Alasdair Dickinson (foot), Will Helu (hand), Nasi Manu (shoulder), WP Nel (neck), Alex Northam (Achilles), Rory Sutherland (groin), Kyle Whyte (knee)
Ulster: L Ludik, J Stockdale, D Cave, S Olding, C Piutau, P Nelson, P Marshall; A Warwick, J Andrew, R Lutton, K Treadwell, A O’Connor, R Diack, C Henry (C), M Coetzee
Replacements: J Murphy, C Black, W Herbst, P Browne, S Reidy, D Shanahan, S McCloskey, T Bowe.
In other news, Hughes, Rory Sutherland and Nathan Fowles have also joined Nick Grigg and Sam Johnson in signing new contracts for the pro teams this week.
Glasgow are bringing in Manuwatu/Hurricanes back row Callum Gibbins to replace the popular if foolhardy Simone Favaro (who will be a catch for someone), and they are also rumoured (again) to be courting Stormers prop Oli Kebble as a project player. Gibbins brings a reputation for fitness as well as previous experience working with Dave Rennie and Jason O’Halloran and 25 Super Rugby appearances.
Glasgow Warriors have also signed fly-half Brandon Thomson on a short-term deal from the Stormers in South Africa. He has started training with his new teammates at Scotstoun, after arriving in Glasgow from Cape Town. The 21-year-old will be at the club for the next two months, with Finn Russell away with Scotland and Peter Horne currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
Thomson has played six times in Super Rugby for the Stormers and has scored 26 points. Should he stick around, he has a Scottish father.