Parks drops to bench as Jackson gets keys to No10
RUARIDH Jackson has been handed the stand-off reins for the third time in his Glasgow career and will be tasked with guiding the team back on to the victory trail away to Scarlets on Saturday.
With Dan Parks, the veteran Scotland international, having struggled to impress during last week's Magners League defeat at home to Munster, his usually pin-point kicking letting him down, coach Sean Lineen has plumped for Jackson, recently turned 21, in the pivotal role.
"Dan is not playing as well as he has in the past," said Lineen. "Ruaridh is a young lad and this is an opportunity for him to play at ten and see what he can do. We know how good he could be. His attitude is fantastic, as is Dan's, who is a massive influence from the bench.
"Ruaridh is a talented player and we're trying to make sure we don't put too much pressure on him too quickly before his game is up to it, but at the same time exposing him to the intensity of this level of rugby. He has only been a full-time professional in the first-team squad since last summer, but he has shown that he has the ability and the attitude to develop at this level.
"We have played him at inside centre to help him learn from players around him, but I've always said he's a stand-off. Returning him to stand-off now is part of his development and I'm excited for him."
John Barclay is back after being rested following the RBS Six Nations, which is timely after Johnnie Beattie suffered a torn hamstring in last Friday's game and is now out for the rest of the season. Graeme Morrison also returns after his Test action and Thom Evans, who was withdrawn on the eve of the defeat to Munster after it was decided he was still not 100 per cent recovered from the head knock he suffered in the Calcutta Cup match, has been given a full bill of health and reclaims the left-wing berth at the expense of Colin Shaw.
Evans acknowledged that it had been a frustrating first Six Nations campaign, made more-so by the fact that he was denied tries against Ireland and England only by last-ditch tackles, before finishing the championship with concussion after tackling Delon Armitage, the England full-back.
"We came so close, but did not take the chances we created," he said. "It was definitely down to the players. The coaches gave us good game-plans, but as a collective unit we did not execute them.
"There were positives to take: we got ourselves in good positions, but did not finish them. We have to get harder on ourselves in training sessions to bring out the best in each other.
"I thought I was there (with the try chance against England]. I have watched it back 50 times. He (Ugo Monye] did well to clip my heel, but it was Toby Flood that pushed me out. It was very frustrating, but something I want to put right for the future. I am getting used to taking chances and learning how to do it under pressure.
"But, now, I want to take what I learned at international level into the Glasgow games and start winning again here. We expect a lot from ourselves and have been getting on each others' backs a lot this week to push us on to get the results we deserve.
"I took confidence from taking on the best at international level, and when you come back to club level the matches are slightly slower and you have more time on the ball, but if I didn't have that experience I wouldn't know that. This weekend, I just want to get as involved as possible."
Colin Gregor continues to demonstrate his adaptability by being selected at full-back this week, Bernardo Stortoni missing his first game after a remarkable run of 43 on the trot since he joined Glasgow in 2007, due to concussion suffered last week. Justin Va'a is out for the same reason, so Kevin Tkachuk returns at loosehead prop for his 98th Glasgow appearance.
With three internationals back in his starting XV, Lineen added: "Its great to have these three quality players back in the team. It strengthens the squad and we're all desperate to get this show back on the road.
"This is a season where the highs have been very high and the lows have been very low, and last week was the latter, unfortunately, because that was a good chance, in front of a good Glasgow crowd, to beat a good Munster side.
"That was very hard to take, but the whole squad is champing at the bit to play this weekend and get us back up the league."
Meanwhile, Cardiff are resting internationals Tom Shanklin and Gethin Jenkins for their match against Edinburgh tomorrow after the pair picked up knocks in the weekend's victory over Northampton in the EDF Energy Cup semi-final.
The Blues head to Murrayfield seeking their sixth consecutive win, while Edinburgh bid to build on five wins on the trot at home going back to early September, but just one in the last five against the Welsh side. Cardiff are also missing Gareth Thomas, Martyn Williams, Andy Powell and Maama Molitika to minor injuries, and Xavier Rush, who is being rested ahead of the Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Toulouse.
(v Scarlets at Parc Y Scarlets on Saturday, 5.30pm)
15 C Gregor
14 L Fa'atau
13 M Evans
12 G Morrison
11 T Evans
10 R Jackson
9 M McMillan
1 K Tkachuk
2 D Hall
3 M Low
4 T Barker
5 A Kellock (c)
6 J Eddie
8 K Brown
7 J Barclay
Subs: F Thomson, E Kalman, D Turner, C Forrester, D Parks, C Shaw, P Horne.
Scarlets team to be named today.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West