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Jackson keen to take his chance

Guinness PRO12 Editor

14 Jan 2010


Ruaridh Jackson is desperate to stake a claim for a regular starting spot when he turns out for Glasgow Warriors this weekend.

The Magners League leaders take on Newport Gwent Dragons in the Heineken Cup at Firhill on Friday night, with Jackson recalled to the fly-half spot for the first time in four months.

The 21-year-old playmaker has been forced to watch from the sidelines while Glasgow stormed to the top of the Magners League standings as he focused on recovering from a nasty shoulder injury.

Jackson has been limited to just seven minutes of action so far this term, in stark contrast to last season when he appeared in 16 of his side’s 18 Magners League fixtures.

Veteran Scotland international Dan Parks has impressed in Jackson’s absence, becoming the first player to reach 1,000 points in Magners League history and producing a string of outstanding individual performances.

But Parks has recently signed for rivals Cardiff Blues from next season onwards, meaning there is plenty at stake this weekend as Jackson’s looks to establish himself as Glasgow’s future number one out-half.

"Everyone in the squad wants to hold on to a starting jersey," Jackson told the Telegraph.

"When they get that chance it’s up to them to take it. I’ve got the chance now, and if I take it then who knows what will happen?

“Parksy has been playing extremely well so I’ve got to come back to form pretty quickly to challenge for the jersey.
"Parksy is a great guy and I get on very well with him. Since I’ve come here he’s been a great help to me.

“But as a player in the squad you want that starting jersey. I’ll do everything I can to hold on to that but it’s a big challenge with the way he’s been playing."

With Glasgow flying high domestically and with no chance of qualification for the knockout stages of the European Cup, head coach Sean Lineen has made it clear that his priorities lie in claiming a first ever Magners League crown. 

Jackson is one of six changes to the Glasgow starting XV from their recent Magners League victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield, with Lineen giving a number of squad players an opportunity to impress prior to the business end of the league season.

Centre Rob Dewey joins Jackson in returning from injury, while Ed Kalman wins a recall at tighthead prop.

Dan Turner starts in the second row, with Kelly Brown taking over from John Barclay on the openside flank in a move that allows Calum Forrester to feature at blindside.

Chris Cusiter, Dougie Hall, Alastair Kellock, Moray Low, Graeme Morrison and Barclay are all rested, while Parks is named among the replacements. 

“You look at the guys coming in, they have been champing at the bit,” said Lineen. 

“I did not just put these guys in – it has take a lot of thought, a lot of planning. You have to look at where we are in the league, where we are in the Heineken Cup and who the opposition are, bearing in mind that we have lost to them the last two games we have played them. 

“This is the strongest squad we have ever had. This is a real opportunity for them to show that.

“We are out of the Heineken Cup, we could still do something in the Amlin Challenge Cup but I’d be a liar if said I did not look at where we are in the Magners League – it is huge.

“We have to make sure we do the Heineken Cup justice but you only have to see the way the guys have trained to know that we will.”