The Guinness PRO12 leaders and “the best team in the league” are the best way for Glasgow Warriors to get back to winning ways at Scotstoun tonight, believes Gregor Townsend.
The second of four clashes with the Red Army this season faces Glasgow who recall nine players lost to them during last week’s final Autumn internationals.
Only the players who played in all three of Scotland’s autumn tests – Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Zander Fagerson, Alex Dunbar and Jonny Gray – have been excused tonight’s match.
“It’s the best game to have, definitely,” said Townsend. “We want to go out and play well and we’ll have to against the best team in the league just now.
“We played them recently in Europe and they were much better than us on the day, but we have to show determination to respond not just to what happened here last week but what happened in that game.”
Last week’s setback was the loss to Ospreys, Glasgow’s second home defeat of the campaign and one that mean they lost both PRO12 games played during the international window.
“We obviously wanted to get through the November period with better performances and with wins,” said the head coach. “Especially at home, because losing at home doesn’t happen very often for us.
“We know we have to be better. Already at training the level this week has been better than last, the amount of players coming back fully committed from international rugby has helped with that.
“The determination in training, the application has gone up a couple of notches.”
Peter Horne and Ali Price form a new half-back combination, while Ryan Wilson, man of the match for Scotland against Georgia last week, will skipper the side from No 8.
Team: P Murchie; R Hughes, N Grigg, M Bennett, T Seymour; P Horne, A Price; G Reid, F Brown, S Puafisi; T Swinson, R Harley; J Strauss, C Fusaro, R Wilson (capt). Replacements: C Flynn, A Allan, D Rae, R McAlpine, L Haupeakui, N Kenatale, R Clegg, L Jones.