Glasgow boosted by returning Six Nations stars

Finn Russell is one of the returning players who'll come right into the starting XV. Picture: SNS
Finn Russell is one of the returning players who'll come right into the starting XV. Picture: SNS
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GLASGOW Warriors will hope their nine returning Scotland internationals will be fired up by thoughts of revenge as they take on Leinster on Friday night.

Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Finn Russell, Fraser Brown, Tim Swinson and Rob Harley have been named in the starting XV for the Guinness Pro12 clash, while Jonny Gray and Adam Ashe both start on the bench at the RDS Arena.

All nine featured for the Dark Blues as they ended their RBS 6 Nations with a fifth and final defeat to Ireland last Sunday.

But they will have extra motivation for their club return as they take on a Leinster outfit that features seven of Joe Schmidt’s victorious side from Murrayfield in their matchday 23.

Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan, Marty Moore and Jordi Murphy all start, while Sean Cronin, Cian Healy and Luke Fitzgerald are named among the replacements just six days on from playing winning roles in the 40-10 triumph which sealed their second title in a row during a thrilling climax to the Championship.

Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We’re looking forward to returning to action after our recent break and we’ve been boosted this week by the return of our Scotland internationals.

“We’ve had some great battles with Leinster over the past few seasons and we’re expecting another one (on Friday evening).

“It’ll be the first time we’ve returned to the RDS since last season’s Pro12 final and we know we’ll need to play our best rugby if we’re to come away with a positive result against the defending champions.”

Hogg returns at full-back, while Seymour comes in on the right wing and Canadian international DTH van der Merwe continues on the opposite side.

Peter Horne and Mark Bennett form the centre partnership, while Russell takes up his slot at stand-off. Niko Matawalu keeps his place at scrum-half.

Alex Allan comes in at loosehead, Brown returns at hooker and after a number of stand-out performances for Scotland Under-20s, Zander Fagerson starts his second game for the Warriors at tighthead.

Al Kellock captains the side for the 150th time in the second-row and packs down with Swinson in the engine room.

Harley, Chris Fusaro and Josh Strauss continue in the back-row.

Scrum-half Henry Pyrgos is named on the bench after recovering from a knee injury and he could make his first appearance since the narrow to defeat to Bath in January.

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