Glasgow Warriors begin a key phase of their RaboDirect PRO12 campaign when they take on Scarlets at Firhill on Thursday night (kick-off 7.05pm, live on BBC ALBA).
The match is the first in a series of fixtures that will be crucial to the Warriors’ bid to make the end of season tournament play-offs. After 13 regular season matches, they sit fourth in the competition table, one point ahead of this week’s visitors.
As well as seeking to keep the pressure on Leinster, Ospreys and Munster, Sean Lineen’s men will be out to avenge the 16-14 defeat they suffered to the same opposition in Llanelli last month.
That loss was the Warriors’ first in the RaboDirect PRO12 since September, and brought to an end a club record unbeaten run in the competition.
Stand-off Ruaridh Jackson is in line to start Thursday’s game, having made good progress following a recent upper leg injury.
Head coach Lineen today named a 24-man squad for the game, including our pal Alan Dymock. This group may be supplemented by players from Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations squad, the Warriors coaches remaining in regular communication with their national team counterparts. So there’s no guarantee you’ll get to see him on the telly yet.
Lineen told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “We’re heading into an absolutely massive run of games, starting with Scarlets on Thursday night.
“We’ve done well in the first part of the season to put ourselves in a position to kick on and keep right in contention in the RaboDirect PRO12, and it’s now about maintaining that momentum over the next couple of months.
“As was the case during the Rugby World Cup, we’ve got a number of guys away with Scotland, but we’ve been pleased with the strength in depth that’s been developing in the squad this season and we’re confident that will stand us in good stead over this period.
“It’s great to have Ruaridh back in the mix. He’s had a frustrating time of it since the World Cup, not being able to get up a head of steam or a run of games because of injury.
“But he’s had a month away from the field since the last Scarlets game and he’s raring to go. I’m really looking forward to seeing him back out there for us.
“We’ve had a good week’s training so far: it’s very evident that the players understand just how important this run of matches is for our ambitions, and I’m sure that will come across strongly in how they perform on Thursday.
“We’ve been speaking to the Scotland coaches all week in terms of players that might be available to us, and we’ve got a good idea of where we’re going selection-wise ahead of confirming our team tomorrow.
“The performance levels we’ve seen from players across the board so far this season demonstrate the ability and desire that’s present right throughout the squad. The challenge is to keep translating that into wins and stay in the upper reaches of the RaboDirect PRO12.”
Tickets for Thursday’s vital game are available via www.glasgowwarriors.org, by calling 0844 800 3490 or in person at the Gordon Street and Sauchiehall Street branches of Greaves Sports, our official retail partner.
Adult tickets purchased before 2pm on Thursday offer a £5 saving on the match-night price of £20. Students/senior citizens £10, under-18s £5.
Glasgow Warriors squad for RaboDirect PRO12 match against Scarlets at Firhill on Thursday (kick-off 7.05pm)
Backs: David Lemi, Peter Murchie, Tommy Seymour, Colin Shaw, Alex Dunbar, James Johnstone, Troy Nathan, Ruaridh Jackson, Scott Wight, Murray McConnell, Henry Pyrgos
Forwards: Alan Dymock, Ryan Grant, Gordon Reid, George Hunter, Pat MacArthur, Fergus Thomson, Nick Campbell, Rob McAlpine, Tom Ryder, Rob Verbakel, Chris Fusaro, Calum Forrester, Ryan Wilson
Not considered for selection due to injury: Federico Aramburu (shoulder), Johnnie Beattie (elbow), Mike Cusack (ankle), Rob Dewey (shoulder), Moray Low (knee), DTV van der Merwe (shoulder).