Van der Merwe to return for Ulster semi-final

Van der Merwe to return for Ulster semi-final

DTH van der Merwe returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting XV for Friday night’s Guinness PRO14 semi-final at a sold-out Scotstoun stadium.

The Canada international winger, who was ruled out for the remainder of the season following shoulder surgery in February, has recovered four weeks ahead of schedule.

The 33-year-old scored the dramatic winning try in Glasgow’s last league semi-final victory in 2015, also against Ulster at Scotstoun.

Club co-captain Callum Gibbins returns to lead the side having not played since suffering a head injury against Saracens in March.

Stuart Hogg will play his final game at Scotstoun before joining English Premiership side Exeter Chiefs next season, he joins DTH in the backfield, along with fellow club centurion Tommy Seymour.

Sam Johnson and Kyle Steyn start in midfield for the fourth consecutive game while recent recipient of the Guinness PRO14 Young Player of the Season award, Adam Hastings starts at fly-half and Ali Price is once again named at scrum-half.

Rob Harley and Matt Fagerson join Gibbins in the back-row. Jonny Gray returns from illness to start alongside Scott Cummings in the second-row.

It’s a full Scotland international front-row, with Jamie Bhatti and Zander Fagerson packing down either side of Fraser Brown.

On the bench, Oli Kebble returns to full fitness to be named in the 23 and Man of the Match against Edinburgh, Tom Gordon is also named amongst the replacements.

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie said: “We’re in a much better place than we were 12 months ago and have trained with a real edge during this three-week break.

“DTH is back earlier than we expected which is a big boost. His power as well as his experience of knock-out rugby will be invaluable tomorrow night.

“We know Ulster will be a completely different animal to the side we faced here last month and we’re going to have to play better than we did that day to get the result.

“We’re all determined to a be a part of a Glasgow Final and know we’re going to have to play our best rugby of the season to get there.”

Glasgow Warriors team to play Ulster in the Guinness PRO14 semi-final, Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 17 May, kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports 1. You can follow the game on Twitter @GlasgowWarriors. Glasgow Warriors appearances in brackets:

1. Jamie Bhatti (45)
2. Fraser Brown (88)
3. Zander Fagerson (79)
4. Scott Cummings (56)
5. Jonny Gray (101)
6. Rob Harley (210)
7. Callum Gibbins (C) (32)
8. Matt Fagerson (45)

9. Ali Price (75)
10. Adam Hastings (29)
11. DTH van der Merwe (113)
12. Sam Johnson (50)
13. Kyle Steyn (8)
14. Tommy Seymour (130)
15. Stuart Hogg (119)

Replacements

16. Grant Stewart (22)
17. Oli Kebble (30)
18. D’Arcy Rae (60)
19. Ryan Wilson (152)
20. Tom Gordon (4)
21. George Horne (40)
22. Pete Horne (157)
23. Huw Jones (18)

Unavailable players: Bruce Flockhart (shoulder), Chris Fusaro (hamstring), Siua Halanukonuka (shoulder), Niko Matawalu (knee), Robbie Nairn (thigh), Matt Smith (shoulder), Tim Swinson (ankle) and George Turner (head).

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