Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors: Huw Jones returns to full-back role for French test

Glasgow Warriors have brought back their big guns for Friday night’s European Challenge Cup clash with Montpellier, with Huw Jones selected at full-back.

Huw Jones is one of eight players selected by Glasgow Warriors who played in Scotland's win over France in Paris. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Huw Jones is one of eight players selected by Glasgow Warriors who played in Scotland's win over France in Paris. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

Jones is one of eight Warriors players who helped Scotland win in Paris last week who will return to France for the last-16 clash.

Danny Wilson the Glasgow coach, has opted to select him at 15 rather than 13 despite his impressive performances at outside centre for the national side in Six Nations, where he scored tries against Ireland and Italy.

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Ollie Smith drops out to make way for Jones, with Nick Grigg retaining the No 13 jersey and Sam Johnson picked at inside centre. It was a difficult decision, said Wilson.

“Young Ollie had probably his best game for us at 15 last week [against Benetton] but still has a lot to do,” said the Glasgow coach. “Going to Montpellier and playing in such a huge game we obviously need to pick what we believe is our best side.

“Nick Grigg has been excellent for the last three or four weeks. So with Nick, Huw and Sam Johnson on the field, all of our key midfield players, it’s that approach which is most likely to be successful. And we know that if they’re not firing we can make changes in the appropriate way.”

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Jones has been used regularly at full-back by Glasgow this season and Wilson believes the run of games has given him his confidence back, allowing him to win an international recall and rediscover his try-scoring touch with the national side.

Huw Jones impressed for Scotland at outside centre during the Guinness Six Nations but will start at full-back for Glasgow. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

“Huw has hit form from playing 15 here week-in, week-out for a period of time to get back to form. And then he’s also played really well at 13 too. Fortunately we have a guy who can play both positions and we have another good guy at 13 in Nick Grigg as well.

“It’s hard to say whether it’s made him a better player but it’s allowed him to find form. What Huw was craving was a run of games. He had that and he was really excited about playing 15.

“As a running threat at times in the game playing at 15 gives you more time, it gives you the opportunity to attack in wider channels, and it means you can run loose kicks back. That’s what Hoggy is very good at, and Huw’s in that category for me.

“He’s a big attacking threat and we want to go out and play fast this weekend, play the attacking brand of rugby we played last weekend against a big, heavy side. He ticks that box.”

As well as Jones and Johnson, Glasgow have named Oli Kebble, Zander Fagerson, Ryan Wilson, Ali Price and Adam Hastings in their starting XV, with another of Scotland’s Stade de France heroes, hooker George Turner, on the bench.

“They are in a good place, but the proof of the pudding will be in how we start the game,” said Wilson of his international contingent. “The first 20 minutes always tells you where your boys are at.”

Montpellier go into the game off the back of an impressive win over Top 14 leaders Toulouse last weekend and Glasgow will hope their opponents’ chief focus remains on domestic matters rather than Europe.

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