Nakarawa to start in crucial Sale clash
Leone Nakarawa will make his first appearance for Glasgow Warriors since returning to the club earlier this month, after being named in the starting XV for tomorrow evening’s crucial Heineken Champions Cup clash with Sale Sharks.
The Fijian is one of five personnel changes to the side that battled to a thrilling 31-31 draw with Exeter Chiefs at Scotstoun last weekend, as the Warriors travel south knowing that a win is the minimum requirement in order to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.
Aki Seiuli is the only alteration to the starting front-row, with the Christchurch-born loose-head packing down alongside Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson.
An unchanged second-row once again sees Jonny Gray and Scott Cummings combine in the engine room, the pair having put in an impressive defensive shift last time out.
Ryan Wilson shifts from the blindside to number eight whilst also assuming the captaincy, as Tom Gordon caps a week that saw a first-ever Scotland call-up by joining the returning Nakarawa on the flanks.
Behind the scrum, Ali Price comes into the side at scrum-half with Adam Hastings continuing at fly-half after his man-of-the-match showing at Scotstoun last Saturday.
Huw Jones retains his place at 13 following his try-scoring performance against Exeter, lining up outside Sam Johnson in the Glasgow midfield.
Club record try-scorer DTH van der Merwe returns to the matchday squad to start on the wing, joining Kyle Steyn and Glenn Bryce in the back three.
Oli Kebble rotates to the bench after starting last weekend, with George Turner and Adam Nicol continuing as the other front-row replacements.
Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro bring a wealth of experience to the pack reinforcements, bringing over 400 Glasgow Warriors appearances between them to the matchday 23.
George Horne joins brother Pete on the bench, with Niko Matawalu completing the contingent of Glasgow replacements.
Speaking about his selection, Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie said: “Tom [Gordon] is a great athlete, who offers us a genuine ball-carrying option. He’s made good shifts around his physicality his work post-tackle, and he’s gone really well for us over the last couple of months.
“Leone [Nakarawa] gives us a great ball-carrying option in the back-row. He’ll commit a lot of defenders and can create space for others, and we’re excited to give him a crack on the side of the scrum.
“Sale are very direct, but they’re also very innovative. They’re a lot tougher to face down there. We’re expecting them to go full tilt tomorrow and we expect them to put a strong team out on the field.”
Glasgow Warriors team to play Sale Sharks in the Heineken Champions Cup, Saturday 18 January, kick-off 5.30pm, live on BT Sport 3. You can follow the action in the Live Match Centre on glasgowwarriors.org. Glasgow Warriors appearances in brackets.
1. Aki Seiuli (7)
2. Fraser Brown (98)
3. Zander Fagerson (90)
4. Scott Cummings (67)
5. Jonny Gray (109)
6. Leone Nakarawa (69)
7. Tom Gordon (14)
8. Ryan Wilson (C) (164)
9. Ali Price (85)
10. Adam Hastings (41)
11. DTH van der Merwe (121)
12. Sam Johnson (61)
13. Huw Jones (32)
14. Kyle Steyn (23)
15. Glenn Bryce (26)
16. George Turner (44)
17. Oli Kebble (44)
18. Adam Nicol (16)
19. Rob Harley (226)
20. Chris Fusaro (175)
21. George Horne (52)
22. Pete Horne (164)
23. Niko Matawalu (124)
Not available due to injury: Andrew Davidson (foot), Matt Fagerson (rib), Bruce Flockhart (back), Siua Halanukonuka (calf), Sean Kennedy (shoulder), Johnny Matthews (ankle), Kiran McDonald (hip), Robbie Nairn (knee), D’arcy Rae (hand), Brandon Thomson (calf), Tommy Seymour (head), George Thornton (ankle) and Ratu Tagive (shoulder)