Scotland free Al Kellock to lead Warriors play-off fight

Alastair Kellock will captain Glasgow against the Ospreys tomorrow night after being made available by Scotland for the RaboDirect Pro12 match at the Liberty Stadium.

Kellock, who came off the bench for the last 12 minutes of Scotland’s defeat by France on Sunday, is one of four changes to the Warriors team from last week’s home draw with Leinster.

The 30-year-old captained Scotland at the World Cup last year, but has failed to make an impact in the current Six Nations campaign, only starting the defeat to Wales in Cardiff, and coming on as a late substitute for Jim Hamilton in the Murrayfield losses to England and France. The fact Andy Robinson is allowing him to go on club duty when the international squad is already stretched by injuries suggests that his involvement in the reamining games against Ireland and Italy may also be limited.

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The other changes to the Glasgow pack see Calum Forrester come in at blindside and Dougie Hall return as hooker. The one alteration to the backs is at inside centre, where Federico Aramburu takes over from Troy Nathan, who has been forced to miss the game because of a back injury.

“It’s another strong side we’re sending out,” Glasgow coach Sean Lineen said. “It’s a marker of the strength in depth we’re developing that, even with ten backs unavailable for one reason or another, there’s still plenty of quality and tenacity.

“We’re really pleased to have Al available – he’s chomping at the bit to get stuck into what he and the rest of the guys know is a truly massive game for us all. As ever, we need everyone to perform and everyone to make good decisions.”

Having drawn away to Connacht in the game before their home draw with league leaders Leinster, the Warriors are eager to get back to winning ways and keep their play-off hopes high. They have never won at the Swansea venue, their best result a 9-9 draw three years ago, but they did beat the Welsh side 28-17 at Firhill back in October.

“Every game between now and the end of the season is one where the stakes are well and truly raised, and the players are excited by the challenge of doing something we’ve never managed before: winning away to Ospreys,” Lineen added.

“It’s a place where you have to be really strong, both physically and mentally, because you can be absolutely sure the Ospreys will.

“The last couple of games show that the team have come a long way this season in terms of our ability to stick in and put ourselves in a positive position. What they’ve also told us is that we need to make good decisions more consistently to convert those opportunities into wins.

“It’s about thinking on our feet, not letting the pressure of the situation get to us, and realising that one bad call can be the difference between a win and a draw, or a draw and a defeat. If we get that part of our game right, we’re more than a match for any team in this competition.”

In what looks like being a very hotly-contested end to the regular season, that one bad call could mean the difference not only between winning or losing a game, but between ending up in a play-off place and missing out. Fourth-placed Glasgow are currently five points behind second-placed Ospreys in the table, with Munster lying third just a point behind the Welsh side. Ulster, Cardiff Blues and the Scarlets are all within three points of Glasgow, and Cardiff have a game in hand.

In addition to Nathan, five other players have not been considered for selection because of illness or injury. Mike Cusack is sick, Moray Low has a knee problem, and the other three – Rob Dewey, Fergus Thomson and DTH van der Merwe – all have shoulder injuries.

Meanwhile, the Ospreys have confirmed Gruff Rees as their new backs coach.