Fraser Brown, Pete Horne, Richie Gray and Adam Hastings return for Glasgow Warriors

Glasgow Warriors have welcomed back a quartet of big names as they seek qualification for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Fraser Brown is back in the Glasgow Warriors team after recovering from a neck injury. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

Fraser Brown, the Scotland hooker, has made an earlier than expected return from a serious neck injury sustained against Ireland in the Autumn Nations Cup and will start Sunday’s match against Dragons in Wales.

Pete Horne, who has also been missing since December after being concussed against Exeter Chiefs, is named among the substitutes.

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Richie Gray, another concussion victim, starts in the second row and Scotland stand-off Adam Hastings is back in the side after serving a suspension following his red card against Leinster.

Hastings is picked in the unaccustomed position of full-back, with Ollie Smith dropping to the bench.

With two games of the Guinness Pro14 season remaining Glasgow need to beat both the Dragons this weekend and Benetton next Saturday and hope that Leinster can do them a favour by beating the third-placed Ospreys.

The return of the Scotland quartet will help Glasgow’s cause and coach Danny Wilson praised Brown’s work ethic which ensured his prompt return.

“He’s worked really hard to get back and he’s in a good place,” said Wilson. “He’s obviously keen to prove his availability for higher honours and let’s hope the start of that is a good game under his belt against the Dragons.”

The decision to play Hastings at full-back is an intriguing one and is a vote of confidence for Ross Thompson, the 21-year-old stand-off who has impressed in recent weeks.

“I was involved with Scotland when Adam’s played 15 and I know he’s very, very capable,” said Wilson. “With Glenn Bryce going and with Huw Jones with Scotland and Ollie has been struggling a little bit this week with injuries and bits and pieces, it makes perfect sense to pick Adam.

“I think Adam will be a real threat at 15. Obviously his kicking game is that of a 10.

“Ross has been going really well. Ross is our future and therefore we need to maintain that investment in our future whilst trying to make sure we put the best team out to win a game of rugby. That’s the balancing act we’ve gone with.”

Hastings will leave Glasgow for Gloucester in the summer and the Warriors have signed stand-offs Duncan Weir and Domingo Miotti for next season. Thompson, however, will also be in the mix and has made a favourable impression on Wilson.

“He’s come from nowhere, really, and he’s kicked on massively,” said the coach.

“He hit a patch where he trained really well for two and three weeks and we give him his opportunity, and like I said after the game he’s earned his opportunity. And that’s the important message - it’s not because you’re young you’re going to get the opportunity, it’s you’re young, you’re working hard, you represent what we deem as important as Warriors values.

“If you’re buying into those things and you’re working hard you get the opportunity, and he’s taken his.”

Glasgow Warriors: Adam Hastings; Rufus McLean, Nick Grigg, Robbie Fergusson, Lee Jones; Ross Thompson, Sean Kennedy; Aki Seiuli, Fraser Brown, Enrique Pieretto, Richie Gray, Kiran McDonald, Rob Harley, Thomas Gordon, Ryan Wilson.

Replacements: Grant Stewart, Dylan Evans, D’arcy Rae, Leone Nakarawa, Fotu Lokotui, Jamie Dobie, Pete Horne, Ollie Smith.

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