Leone Nakarawa to make first start for Glasgow

FIJIAN second-row Leone Nakarawa will make his first start for Glasgow Warriors when they face Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Cup tomorrow night at Scotstoun.

Leone Nakarawa will make his first start for Glasgow. Picture: SNS

Nakarawa scored on his debut last week at Cardiff Arms Park after coming off the bench, and has featured twice as a replacement for Glasgow in the RaboDirect PRO12.

Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Sean Maitland keeps his place on the right wing, while Tommy Seymour returns from injury to line-up on the left wing in place of DTH van der Merwe, who returns to the bench.

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Byron McGuigan comes in for Gabriel Ascarate at outside centre, while Alex Dunbar wears the number 12 jersey in a new-look centre pairing.

Ruaridh Jackson replaces Duncan Weir at fly-half and Nakarawa’s countryman Niko Matawalu continues at scrum-half.

In the pack Ryan Grant plays his third consecutive game at loose-head, with Pat MacArthur replacing Dougie Hall at hooker and Jon Welsh coming in for Moray Low at tight-head.

Nakarawa will combine with captain Al Kellock in the engine room.

In the back row Rob Harley continues at blind-side flanker, with Tyrone Holmes coming in for Chris Fusaro at open-side.

After a long spell on the sidelines through injury Ryan Wilson makes his first start of the season at number 8 in place of Josh Strauss.

Jerry Yanuyantawa has been named amongst the replacements following his return to the squad after appearing for Fiji in November.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “As a group we were frustrated, as we gave up a number of scoring chances.

“We undid so much of our good work primarily by allowing Cardiff to disrupt the ruck area. We pride ourselves on being tough to beat through our defence and being aggressive in contact, but we fell short of the required standards last Friday night.

“Despite having so much possession and territory in the first half we were unable to translate that into points and that is something we’ve worked hard to improve this week.”

He added: “We can still progress in this tournament and a huge positive for us is that we have an early opportunity to make amends for last week’s defeat.

“Cardiff Blues are a quality side and played tough rugby for 80 minutes, so we know we’ll face a very difficult game.

“But it looks like we’ll have a big home crowd behind us and I’m confident that those selected will be full of determination and focus to make our supporters proud.”

Glasgow Warriors team to play Cardiff:

15. Stuart Hogg

14. Sean Maitland

13. Byron McGuigan

12. Alex Dunbar

11. Tommy Seymour

10. Ruaridh Jackson

9. Niko Matawalu

1. Ryan Grant

2. Pat MacArthur

3. Jon Welsh

4. Leone Nakarawa

5. Al Kellock (Captain)

6. Rob Harley

7. Tyrone Holmes

8. Ryan Wilson

16. Dougie Hall

17. Jerry Yanuyanutawa

18. Ed Kalman

19. Josh Strauss

20. Chris Fusaro

21. Chris Cusiter

22. Duncan Weir

23. DTH van der Merwe