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Warriors steeled for Aironi as Yorkhill link announced

Guinness PRO12 Editor

3 Nov 2011


Glasgow Warriors go on the trail of their fourth straight RaboDirect PRO12 win and a further pre-European Cup lift when they travel to face Aironi on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm local time, 1.30pm UK time).

Glasgow Warriors go on the trail of their fourth straight RaboDirect PRO12 win and a further pre-Heineken Cup lift when they travel to face Aironi on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm local time, 1.30pm UK time).

Sean Lineen’s men went through October with a 100% record, beating Cardiff Blues away before home successes over Dragons and Ospreys.

They head to the Stadio Luigi Zaffanella looking for a repeat of the victory they recorded there back in April, when tries from Ryan Grant and Peter Murchie (pictured right) saw the Warriors edge a close affair 17-16.

That was Glasgow’s only league success on the road last season, and with Aironi’s Italian counterparts Benetton Treviso having won at Firhill six weeks ago, head coach Lineen knows it will take another “massive performance” for his troops to continue their fine recent run.

He told www.glasgowwarriors.org: “It’s another huge game for us this weekend, and in terms of intensity, appetite and execution, we’re going to need to be exactly where we were against Ospreys to get a further win.

“We were pretty fortunate to come away with four points the last time we played Aironi on their home patch, and this time round we’re expecting another stern examination. The focus all week has been on making sure we meet that challenge head on and give our fans another big result ahead of the Bath game next weekend.”

In order to give as many players as possible an opportunity to stake a claim for selection in the Heineken Cup opener, Lineen has shuffled his pack this week, with only four members of the starting line-up from the Ospreys game also due to run out in Lombardy.

The match-day 23 does, however, boast six players who represented Scotland at the recent Rugby World Cup, and a further two, Grant and Johnnie Beattie, who were involved in the wider pre-tournament squad.

Captain Al Kellock has recovered from the calf complaint that saw him forced to withdraw from the Ospreys match on the day of the game and so starts alongside Richie Gray in the second row.

Come Saturday, Kellock will be in line to claim the record for the most individual minutes in the RaboDirect PRO12. Currently on 8536 minutes, the lock trails former Dragons winger Gareth Wyatt by 51 minutes with Cardiff’s Deiniol Jones (8533) in hot pursuit.

Elsewhere in the Glasgow team, Grant, who missed last Friday’s win with a sore knee, returns in an all-new front row where Dougie Hall and Ed Kalman also feature.

It’s all change in the back row, too, as James Eddie, John Barclay and Beattie replace Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro and Ryan Wilson.

Behind the scrum, Chris Cusiter again teams up with Duncan Weir, who has kicked 47 points in his last two outings. Ruaridh Jackson is still to recover fully from the hamstring injury he suffered against England at the Rugby World Cup.

In the centres, Alex Dunbar makes his first start of the season outside summer signing Troy Nathan, Federico Aramburu comes in for Colin Shaw and Murchie enjoys his first outing of the campaign at full-back, having recovered from a shoulder complaint.

Lineen said: “We’d always planned to employ a degree of rotation between the Ospreys and Aironi games, both to keep the side fresh and hungry and to see who really put their hand up as we enter a busy and vital period in our season.

“Guys like Rob Harley, Tom Ryder and Chris Fusaro will benefit from not being involved this weekend, and it’s great to be able to replace them with real quality. It’s also fantastic to have Al, Ryan and Peter back from injury, and to see Alex getting a well-earned first start this term.”

Lineen today announced his team at Yorkhill Hospital, where it was confirmed that Yorkhill Children’s Foundation are to be an official charity partner of Glasgow Warriors for the next two seasons.

Grant and Murchie were also on hand to meet some of the hospital’s young patients, five-year-old Greg Steven and 12-year-old Natalie Wardropper (pictured above and below).

Yorkhill Hospital has touched millions of lives, including those of Warriors players past and present, since it first opened its doors in 1882. It exists to help sick children get better, yet it does so much more. As the largest children's hospital in Scotland, Yorkhill has a worldwide reputation for excellence, treating over 150,000 children from across Scotland every year.

Yorkhill Hospital is the sole Scottish provider of a number of highly specialised services including cardiac surgery, kidney and bone marrow transplants, paediatric intensive care and endoprosthetic bone replacement. It is also one of the only four UK children's hospitals with an ECMO machine offering life support for children.

Established in 2001, Yorkhill Children's Foundation funds many vital projects that are invaluable to the treatment, care, physical and mental wellbeing of children and their families from throughout Scotland and beyond who are treated at Yorkhill Hospital and related facilities.

These projects include: innovative medical equipment; improvements in child and family facilities; patient and family support; paediatric research and training; entertainment and fun activities for the children.

As a Glasgow Warriors charity partner, Yorkhill Children’s Foundation will use player appearances to promote and enhance events, and will also have the opportunity to fundraise directly at one of the club’s Heineken Cup home games and via www.glasgowwarriors.org.

Warriors chief executive Kenny Baillie said: “I’m delighted to welcome Yorkhill Children’s Foundation as the second of our three new charity partners. They’re a fantastic organisation who provide an invaluable service every year to countless families throughout the land, and we’re honoured to have them on board."

David Welch, head of fundraising, marketing and communications at Yorkhill Children’s Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the Glasgow Warriors charity partners and we are very much looking forward to working with the club over the coming two seasons.

“Every penny that they help us raise will go towards helping Yorkhill Children’s Foundation to continue to fund the projects which assist the staff at Yorkhill to provide the best possible care for Scotland’s sick children.

“The Warriors’ support will also help raise awareness of our charity, reaching out to rugby fans from all over the UK and beyond.”

Full match coverage of Aironi v Glasgow Warriors will be available on www.glasgowwarriors.org, with live score updates on our official Twitter feed @glasgowwarriors.

15 Peter Murchie
14 Federico Aramburu
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Troy Nathan
11 Tommy Seymour
10 Duncan Weir
9 Chris Cusiter
1 Ryan Grant
2 Dougie Hall
3 Ed Kalman
4 Richie Gray
5 Al Kellock (captain)
6 James Eddie
7 John Barclay
8 Johnnie Beattie
16 Finlay Gillies
17 Gordon Reid
18 Mike Cusack
19 Rob Verbakel
20 Ryan Wilson
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Graeme Morrison
23 Stuart Hogg

Not considered for selection due to injury: Calum Forrester (knee), Ruaridh Jackson (hamstring), Moray Low (calf), Fergus Thomson (shoulder), DTH van der Merwe (shoulder), Jon Welsh (ankle).