Lineen welcomes Jackson back into Glasgow side for Scarlets encounter

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Scotland fly-half Ruaridh Jackson is to make his return in Glasgow Warriors’ Rabo- Direct PRO12 clash with Scarlets at Firhill tomorrow.

Jackson has been included in the Warriors’ 24-man squad for the game after recovering from an upper-leg injury which followed a hamstring problem suffered during the Rugby World Cup.

The group may be supplemented by players from Scotland’s RBS Six Nations squad.

Glasgow head coach Sean Lineen said: “It’s great to have Ruaridh back in the mix.

“He’s had a frustrating time of it since the World Cup, not being able to get up a head of steam or a run of games because of injury.

“But he’s had a month away from the field since the last Scarlets game and he’s raring to go. I’m really looking forward to seeing him back out there for us.

“We’ve been speaking to the Scotland coaches all week in terms of players that might be available to us, and we’ve got a good idea of where we’re going selection-wise ahead of confirming our team.”

Scotland coach Andy Robinson and his assistants will be anxious to see Jackson come through Thursday’s match unscathed. Jackson would likely have been Scotland’s first-chocie stand-off for the RBS Six Nations Championship had he not suffered injury.

It is expected that he will return to contention for a place in the Scotland side for the match against France on 26 February if he can prove his fitness and form in tomorrow’s match and against Connacht next week.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Henry Pyrgos has signed a long-term contract extension.

The 22-year-old has agreed a new two-year deal that will see him remain at Warriors until at least the end of May 2014.

Yesterday’s contract news continues a memorable week for the scrum-half, who helped Scotland A record a 35-0 win over England Saxons at Netherdale last Friday night.

Pyrgos said: “I’m hugely looking forward to the Scarlets game on Thursday and it’s a real bonus to have my future sorted out in advance of such a big fixture for the club.

“I’ve really enjoyed my first season and a half at the Warriors and have learned a massive amount from working with world-class players like Chris Cusiter and the coaching team here at Scotstoun.”

Lineen added: “It’s great news that Henry has decided his future lies at Glasgow Warriors.

“We’ve been very impressed by how hard he’s worked since joining the club and with the impact he’s made on the field.

“With a guy like Chris Cusiter also in the squad, Henry has had to show a degree of patience at times, but whenever he’s had an opportunity, he’s made it very clear what he’s all about.

“He’s got a fine break on him and good game understanding and we’re excited about working with him to ensure he continues to make progress.”

Glasgow’s match with Scarlets is the first in a series of fixtures that will be crucial to the Warriors’ bid to make the end-of-season tournament play-offs. After 13 regular season matches, they sit fourth in the competition table, one point ahead of this week’s visitors.

As well as seeking to keep the pressure on Leinster, Ospreys and Munster, Lineen’s men will be out to avenge the 16-14 defeat they suffered to the same opposition in Llanelli last month. That loss was the Warriors’ first in the RaboDirect PRO12 since September, and brought to an end a club record unbeaten run in the competition.

Lineen said: “We’ve done well in the first part of the season to put ourselves in a position to kick on and keep right in contention in the RaboDirect PRO12, and it’s now about maintaining that momentum over the next couple of months.

“As was the case during the Rugby World Cup, we’ve got a number of guys away with Scotland, but we’ve been pleased with the strength in depth that’s been developing in the squad this season and we’re confident that will stand us in good stead over this period.”