Finn Russell starts for Glasgow and Matt Fagerson returns for 1872 Cup

Finn Russell has been restored to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for their 1872 Cup match with Edinburgh this weekend at Scotstoun.

Finn Russell will start for Glasgow after being named among the replacements last week. Picture: SNS Group
Finn Russell will start for Glasgow after being named among the replacements last week. Picture: SNS Group

Peter Horne got the nod at fly-half last time out but swaps places with Russell for the return leg at Scotstoun.

And in a further boost for Dave Rennie’s side, Matt Fagerson returns at Number 8 with Samu Vunisa dropping out of the 23 altogether.

Rennie has made five changes to his starting line-up, with Niko Matawalu, Nick Grigg and Kiran McDonald joining Fagerson and Russell in the starting XV.

Lee Jones, who started on the left last week shifts wings to replace Tommy Seymour with scrum-half Matawalu covering the right wing.

Grigg starts at outside centre, with Huw Jones dropping to the bench. McDonald links up with Jonny Gray in the second row but there’s no place in the 23-man squad for Scott Cummings.

Rennie hosted a number of his Glasgow players for Christmas dinner but banned them from talking about their “embarrassing” defeat by Edinburgh.

However, the Warriors head coach has encouraged his men to talk openly about their last-gasp 18-17 defeat since returning to work and preparing for the second leg of their double header at Scotstoun on Saturday.

Glasgow suffered their first defeat of the Guinness PRO14 season when they blew a 12-point lead and lost a try in the dying seconds against a side which played with 14 men for 74 minutes following Simon Berghan’s red card.

Warriors remain 12 points clear in Conference A but Rennie admitted the loss threatened to spoil his first Christmas Day in Scotland.

“I’m embarrassed. And that’s nothing against Edinburgh, they are a good side, they have been in good form.

“But, up 7-0, against 14 men for 70-odd minutes, we had so many opportunities to put them away and didn’t, and it hurt us in the end.

“We have tweaked our game and had a little bit of a heart-to-heart about what is expected. We kicked a lot of ball away aimlessly last week, and we had so many opportunities to score.

“Credit to Edinburgh’s scrambling but our skill set let us down at crucial times. Eventually, if you give the ball back to the opposition, they are going to hurt you.

“If we have got aspirations of winning the title, you can’t do that against good sides. Hopefully we see a more clinical performance this week.”

Glasgow team to face Edinburgh in the 1872 Cup at Scotstoun on 30 December 2017, kick-off at 3.15pm

15. Ruaridh Jackson

14. Lee Jones

13. Nick Grigg

12. Alex Dunbar

11. Niko Matawalu

10. Finn Russell

9. Ali Price

1. Jamie Bhatti

2. Fraser Brown

3. Zander Fagerson

4. Kiran McDonald

5. Jonny Gray (capt)

6. Rob Harley

7. Matt Smith

8. Matt Fagerson

Replacements: 16. Pat MacArthur 17. Oli Kebble 18. Siua Halanukonuka 19. Greg Peterson 20. Chris Fusaro 21. George Horne 22. Peter Horne 23. Huw Jones