Guinness PRO14 rugby will return in Scotland this evening (Saturday) as play-off chasing Glasgow Warriors face Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield.
A point will be enough for Richard Cockerill’s side to make it to the semi-finals, while Glasgow’s chances are hanging by a thread, but they’ll nevertheless be hoping to throw a spanner in the works of their inter-city rivals.
Guinness PRO14 returns
Ahead of the match, Gavin Harper takes a look at some of the key talking points from the team selections of two sides laden with international quality.
Huw Jones at fullback
Scotland international Huw Jones will wear the number 15 jersey for the first time since he joined Glasgow Warriors in 2017, and the ex-Stormers man, normally found in the centres, will no doubt face an early aerial onslaught from the Capital club.
He’ll get more time on the ball than he’s used to at 13, but his one-on-one defence will need to be spot on if he’s to make the position his own long-term.
Glasgow’s lack of a replacement for Stuart Hogg could be their undoing, but opportunity knocks for Jones today.
Industrious Warriors back-row
With former co-captain Callum Gibbins among those to have left Glasgow in the summer, new Head Coach Danny Wilson has opted for an all-international back-row trio, with Matt Fagerson taking the number seven jersey alongside Rob Harley and number eight Ryan Wilson.
Glasgow goes into this match, then, without a recognized ‘fetcher’ to combat Hamish Watson, but they’ll fancy their chances of slowing Edinburgh’s attacking ball down, while Zander Fagerson adds ballast in attack.
Edinburgh are ‘top of the props’
Rory Sutherland was one of the stand-out performers for Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations, and he gets the nod over Pierre Schoeman to wear the number one shirt for Edinburgh this evening.
With the South African-born loosehead set to finish the game off the bench, Edinburgh are well stocked in the loosehead department, while on the opposite side, WP Nel will start the match, with his Scotland colleague Simon Berghan starting from the bench.
Edinburgh’s scrum has been a potent Guinness PRO14 weapon for some time now, and with Sutherland hitting top form, they’ve found another top-class operator that can add to their threat at the set-piece.
Glasgow, meanwhile, have loanee Dylan Evans – signed from Scarlets to provide loosehead cover – on the bench and set for a baptism of fire if he gets on.
Consistency vs New Beginnings in Guinness PRO14
Edinburgh, the designated away team this evening, go into the match with much of the squad that served them so well before the COVID-19 shutdown, but will hand a debut to ex-Glasgow lock Andrew Davidson, and Scotland U20 stand-off Nathan Chamberlain, who’s on the bench.
It has been all change for the Warriors, meanwhile, with Danny Wilson and his new coaching staff – Jonny Bell and Kelly Brown – having only had a few weeks with the squad to implement their ideas.
We can expect mistakes after five months without rugby, but it will be interesting to see how much Glasgow change from the Dave Rennie era, while Edinburgh fans will know exactly what to expect from their side.
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