First start for Forbes and Smith
Back-three duo Cole Forbes and Ollie Smith will both make their first starts for Glasgow Warriors this weekend, after being selected in Head Coach Danny Wilson’s starting XV to face Leinster on Sunday night.
It will be a full debut in the case of Forbes, with the Scottish-qualified former New Zealand U20, talent having followed in the footsteps of Smith earlier this week by agreeing a professional contract with the Warriors.
The Scotstoun side also welcome back nine players from Scotland camp in the wake of the postponed Guinness Six Nations fixture away to France, including two thirds of the front row as Oli Kebble and Grant Stewart return to join Enrique Pieretto at the coal face.
Richie Gray packs down alongside Leone Nakarawa in the second row, the pair able to boast over 120 club appearances between them in addition to a British and Irish Lions cap and an Olympic gold medal.
The back row is unchanged from last week’s meeting with Ulster at Scotstoun, meaning Rob Harley and Thomas Gordon once again line up either side of club co-captain Ryan Wilson.
Jamie Dobie and Adam Hastings combine once more in the half-backs, the former’s form having earned him a first senior Scotland call-up this week.
Smith’s inclusion sees Huw Jones named at outside centre, forming an all-Scotland partnership with Sam Johnson in the midfield.
Rufus McLean continues his streak of consecutive appearances by starting on the wing, joining Forbes and his Scotland U20 colleague Smith in the back three.
Another Scotland U20 cap could make his Glasgow Warriors debut on Sunday evening in Dublin, as FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy back-rower Gregor Brown is named in a professional matchday 23 for the first time.
Johnny Matthews moves to the bench after starting against Ulster, as Aki Seiuli – fresh from scoring his first try for the club last time out – and D’arcy Rae complete the front-row replacements.
TJ Ioane could make his tenth appearance of the campaign after being named in the number 20 shirt, whilst Sean Kennedy once again provides experienced cover at scrum-half.
Ross Thompson and Robbie Fergusson complete the matchday squad, the latter having been named in the Great Britain 7s squad for the Tokyo Olympics earlier today.
Speaking following selection, Head Coach Wilson told glasgowwarriors.org: “It’s unfortunate the Scotland game has been postponed, however we’re pleased to welcome some of our Scotland boys back and to be able to give them game time.
“We’ve named an exciting back line blending our experienced internationals with a young, promising back three.
“Cole [Forbes] and Gregor [Brown] have both impressed in training and have earned the opportunity to make their debut.
“Leinster are the in form side in the competition. Although they will lose several internationals they are an example of strength and depth. It will still be a massive challenge at the RDS."
Glasgow Warriors team to face Leinster in the Guinness PRO14, Sunday 28 February, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Premier Sports 1. You can follow the action in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
2. Grant Stewart (40)
3. Enrique Pieretto (10)
4. Richie Gray (54)
5. Leone Nakarawa (74)
6. Rob Harley (242)
7. Thomas Gordon (28)
8. Ryan Wilson (C) (182)
10. Adam Hastings (47)
11. Cole Forbes (0)
12. Sam Johnson (67)
13. Huw Jones (46)
14. Rufus McLean (2)
15. Ollie Smith (1)
17. Aki Seiuli (23)
18. D’arcy Rae (79)
19. Gregor Brown (0)
20. TJ Ioane (9)
21. Sean Kennedy (13)
22. Ross Thompson (3)
23. Robbie Fergusson (8)
Unavailable for selection: Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Pete Horne, Paddy Kelly, Kiran McDonald, Niko Matawalu, Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn
International duty: Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Ali Price, George Turner.