Ali Price and Zander Fagerson return as Glasgow Warriors look to Lions to slay the Dragons

Danny Wilson hopes his Lions can slay the Dragons as Glasgow head to Wales seeking the win that will keep their Rainbow Cup hopes alive.

Prop Zander Fagerson is back in the Glasgow Warriors starting XV to face the Dragons. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Ali Price and Zander Fagerson are back in the starting XV for Saturday’s match at the Cardiff City Stadium as the Warriors look to build on back-to-back wins over Edinburgh.

Wilson, mindful of the potentially monumental summer ahead of them, is allowing the Scotland pair to pick and choose their games in the season’s run-in.

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The Glasgow coach believes Price and Fagerson have earned the right to manage their workload after being picked by Warren Gatland for the Lions’ tour to South Africa.

“They are involved in their own management about when they want to play,” said Wilson. “They both wanted to play this game and we’ve given them that leeway for the latter end of the season.”

Wilson is also continuing to show faith in his younger players and Rory Darge is given another opportunity. The flanker was a standout performer in the win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield and retains the No 7 jersey for the match in Wales. A former Scotland under-20 captain, the recruitment of Darge from the capital side looks to have been a smart bit of business by Glasgow.

“He hadn’t had very long with us but it was very apparent very quickly that he was very capable, and he took that opportunity against Edinburgh very well,” said Wilson. “For me he was close to being man of the match.”

It has been a difficult season for the Scottish pro teams but the Warriors are hoping to finish with a flourish by reaching the Rainbow Cup final. To do that they must finish top of the table which would likely mean having to beat Dragons and Leinster in their final two games - and a bonus point would come in handy too.

Ali Price will start at scrum-half against the Dragons in Cardiff. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

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“For me personally, with Glasgow Warriors qualifying for Europe and winning the 1872 Cup there have been some positives to build on,” added Wilson. “There have also been some negatives, as we know. Now we’re in the latter stages of this competition, with two games to go, and we’re within a shout of doing something so, yeah, it would be really pleasing if we could get there.

“But there is also a bigger picture. As I’ve said right from the start, another part of this season was about blooding younger players and we’ve certainly done that. There is a long-term project in place and I feel we are making steps in the right direction.”

Rufus McLean, one of the brightest stars in the Warriors firmament, returns to the squad for the Dragons game and is named among the substitutes. The winger scored a stunning individual try in the last match against the Dragons and Wilson is enthused by his pace and ability.

Since being called up by the British & Irish Lions Zander Fagerson and Ali Price have been used sparingly by Glasgow. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

“We all knew the talent he had and he’s worked hard to get his opportunity,” said the coach. “I think he’s really delivered this season and we’re all really excited about him. I see a future for Rufus at Glasgow Warriors and hopefully on to Scotland as well.

“The one thing he has in abundance is pace and it’s very hard to defend that. His bread and butter skills have also been really good.”

Although he’s missed the last couple of games, Wilson thinks McLean will be on Scotland’s radar for their summer schedule.

“I certainly think he’s got to be considered. He missed a couple of recent games and whether that goes against him I don’t know but I know from conversations with the Scotland guys that they are very impressed with him and that they see an exciting presence there for the future.”

Dragons v Glasgow Warriors (Rainbow Cup, Cardiff City Stadium, Saturday, 7.35pm)

Dragons: Ioan Davies; Jonah Holmes, Jack Dixon, Aneurin Owen, Rio Dyer; Sam Davies, Gonzalo Bertranou; Brok Harris, Richard Hibbard, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Ben Carter, Ross Moriarty (c), Ollie Griffiths, Aaron Wainwright

Subs: Elliot Dee, Josh Reynolds, Aaron Jarvis, Joe Davies, Taine Basham, Dan Babos, Evan Lloyd, Jamie Roberts

Glasgow Warriors: Adam Hastings; Kyle Steyn, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Cole Forbes; Ross Thompson, Ali Price; Aki Seiuli, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Rob Harley, Scott Cummings, Ryan Wilson (c), Rory Darge, Matt Fagerson.

Subs: Fraser Brown, Tom Lambert, Enrique Pieretto, Kiran McDonald, Fotu Lokotui, George Horne, Stafford McDowall, Rufus McLean.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ire)

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