GREGOR Townsend revealed that Glasgow’s high-profile signing Sean Maitland is “desperate to get stuck in” for his new club, but the recruit from Canterbury Crusaders has been left on the bench for the Heineken Cup tie against Castres Olympique at Scotstoun tomorrow night.
New Zealand-born winger Maitland, who has represented his homeland at age group level but qualifies for Scotland through his Glaswegian father, has arrived with an exemplary reputation having made his mark in Super Rugby with the Crusaders, and Glasgow supporters are eager to see him in action.
However, Townsend has named him as a substitute for the visit of the French Top 14 team, and it is likely he will be sent on for his debut to cover any of the back three positions. “Sean hasn’t played a lot of rugby over the last couple of months but he’s shown up well in training and he’s desperate to get stuck in for his first appearance,” explained Townsend, who has made three changes to the side beaten by Munster last week.
Tommy Seymour, the club’s joint top scorer, returns on the wing; Scott Wight takes back the No 10 berth and Josh Strauss comes back into the back row in place of Ryan Wilson.
Townsend added: “We’re keeping faith with the core group of players who were beaten by Munster as we know that that level of performance was not a true reflection of that side. I expect to see a reaction and a determination from those players to prove that they deserve their place.
“We are coming off the back of a disappointing performance against Munster last week, particularly as we believed we were capable of leaving Thomond Park with a win. We pride ourselves on being tough to beat and we didn’t do that in Ireland. There has been a renewed determination this week as that was a difficult defeat to take.
“We’ve prepared very well this week and have some existing knowledge about Castres, having played them earlier this year in a pre-season match. They have clear strengths that they will want to bring out on Friday night, so we’ve worked hard at how best we can nullify these, while also looking at opportunities for us to win the game.
“We know our record in the Heineken Cup is not as good as it should be and we’re fighting to stay in the tournament. The next two games will determine how the rest of our season will go and we’ll be doing all we can to still be in contention in this competition.”
Mike Cusack, who this week extended his stay at the Warriors until at least May 2016, once again takes up the tighthead role. With Sean Lamont rested, the wing spots will be filled by the club’s two top scorers, Seymour and DTH van der Merwe, while Stuart Hogg again plays outside centre, with Peter Horne at 12.
Glasgow Warriors team to play Castres Olympique at Scotstoun, tomorrow, kick-off 7:35pm
15 Peter Murchie
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Stuart Hogg
12 Peter Horne
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Scott Wight
9 Henry Pyrgos
1 Ryan Grant
2 Dougie Hall
3 Mike Cusack
4 Tim Swinson
5 Al Kellock (c)
6 Rob Harley
7 John Barclay
8 Josh Strauss
P Macarthur, M Low, G Reid, T Ryder, R Wilson, N Matawalu, D Weir, S Maitland.