All eyes will be on Scotstoun on Saturday night when two of the Guinness PRO14’s top sides in Glasgow Warriors and the Scarlets face off.
And revenge is on the menu for Dave Rennie’s side who were brought crashing down to earth by the Welsh region on the same ground in last season’s semi-final.
What’s at stake? Scarlets remain the last team to win here in the Guinness PRO14 – indeed Glasgow have won 14 of their last 15 Championship clashes at home.
But the Welsh side will need to halt their poor away form – they only have won once on the road all season – and Scotstoun is a hard place to end a slide.
The Warriors have only lost twice in the first nine rounds of games to open up an eight-point lead in Conference A and after Niko Matawalu inspired them past the Cardiff Blues last time out, they are looking to head back into Europe on a high.
Team news (Glasgow Warriors) Nick Grigg will play his 50th game for Glasgow Warriors and he is joined in midfield by Stafford McDowall while George Horne returns to the starting XV and will have Brandon Thomson outside of him.
Niko Matawalu has scored five tries in his last two games and starts again on the wing, Robbie Nairn is brought in to make his first start and home debut alongside Ruaridh Jackson in the back-three.
Alex Allan returns from Scotland camp to start at loose-head, with George Turner and D’Arcy Rae completing the front-row.
Tim Swinson starts having returned from injury off the bench last week and Scott Cummings is his partner in the engine room.
Chris Fusaro will captain the side from the outset for the first time since January 2014, while Matt Smith and Adam Ashe are also named in the back-row.
Team news (Scarlets) Head Coach Wayne Pivac has called on a number of his returning internationals.
Wales and British & Irish Lion centre Jonathan Davies returns to captain the side with club captain Ken Owens rested following the recent international campaign.
Scrum half Kieran Hardy retains his starting position with Rhys Patchell returning to outside half following the autumn series. Steff Evans returns to join Tom Prydie and Johnny McNicholl in the back three whilst New Zealander Kieron Fonotia partners captain Davies in midfield.
An all-international front row in Rob Evans, Ryan Elias and Werner Kruger gives the pack a solid footing with Jake Ball joining Steve Cummins in the second row. Will Boyde moves across to the blindside in the backrow, Uzair Cassiem remains at number 8 with young Dan Davis coming in to the openside.
Talking points Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie said: “Winning is a habit and you want to keep doing that. Ultimately it is about performance, when I look back a few weeks ago we got beat by Munster but we played really well that night.
“We don’t like losing. It is all about the quality of how we play and we know if we can perform with that intensity and accuracy, we are going to win more than we lose.
“We have been going pretty well recently and know we have more in us, I want to see more of that tomorrow night.”
Looking ahead to the clash head coach Wayne Pivac said; “Glasgow have a really impressive record at home. They play an expansive game, they’ve got quality coaching and a lot of Scottish players.
“It all stacks up for an entertaining game. We’ve got a healthy respect for them and they’re flying in their conference. We’ve got a massive challenge ahead of us.”
Key battle: Nick Grigg v Jonathan Davies
Nick Grigg has been one of Glasgow’s best players in November, the Scotland centre returning from injury to boost the Warriors in the busy autumn international window.
With the Six Nations on the horizon, Grigg can put down a marker this weekend against British & Irish Lion Jonathan Davies.
Davies was his consistently excellent for Wales again this autumn and comes straight back into the Scarlets side and captains in his 148th appearance.
Key stat Scarlets have won their last four fixtures against Glasgow since the Warriors 46-10 win at Parc y Scarlets in April 2016.
Did you know? Glasgow have only ever lost eleven home games at Scotstoun in the PRO14 and four of those have been to Scarlets.
Glasgow Warriors: 15. Ruaridh Jackson, 14. Robbie Nairn, 13. Nick Grigg, 12. Stafford McDowall, 11. Niko Matawalu, 10. Brandon Thomson, 9. George Horne, 1. Alex Allan, 2 George Turner, 3. D’Arcy Rae, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Matt Smith, 7. Chris Fusaro, 8. Adam Ashe
Replacements: 16. Kevin Bryce, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Siua Halanukonuka, 19. Kiran McDonald, 20. Tevita Tamielau, 21. Nick Frisby, 22. Paddy Kelly, 23. Ratu Tagive
Scarlets: 15. Johnny McNicholl, 14. Tom Prydie, 13. Jonathan Davies ©, 12. Kieron Fonotia, 11. Steff Evans, 10. Rhys Patchell, 9. Kieran Hardy, 1. Rob Evans, 2. Ryan Elias, 3. Werner Kruger, 4. Jake Ball, 5. Steve Cummins, 6. Will Boyde, 7. Dan Davis, 8. Uzair Cassiem
Replacements: 16. Dafydd Hughes, 17. Wyn Jones, 18. Simon Gardiner, 19. Lewis Rawlins, 20. Tom Phillips, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Paul Asquith, 23. Clayton Blommetjies
TV: At Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, 5.15pm. Live on Premier Sports, eir Sports and S4C
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 18th competition game) Assistant Referees: Kieran Barry (IRFU), Dunx McClement (SRU) TMO: Charles Samson (SRU) Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (SRU)V
Glasgow Warriors extended their lead at the top of Conference A with a stunning victory 29-20 victory over high-flying Scarlets despite playing the majority of the game with 14 men.
Alex Allan was sent off for a dangerous challenge inside the first quarter, but it only served as inspiration for the Warriors as Brandon Thomson scored an insatiable 24 points on the night.
Key tries from Thomson and Nick Grigg swung the tie as Scarlets’ late flurry of scores from Steff Evans and Clayton Blommetjies proved in vain against a voracious Glasgow outfit.
Rhys Patchell and Thomson traded penalties early doors, before the game irreversibly changed when Allan made direct contact to the head of Jake Ball to leave referee Frank Murphy with no decision but to send the Warriors man to the stands.
Despite the man disadvantage, Glasgow reacted perfectly by claiming a penalty from the scrum which Thomson sent sailing through the posts.
Glasgow found themselves temporarily level in numbers when Scarlets’ Lewis Rawlins was sent to the bin and Glasgow were rewarded with the first try of the night as patient build up play led to Thomson stretching his arm out across the line to score.
The fly-half converted his own try to give the Warriors a breathless 13-3 lead at half time.
Incredibly Glasgow’s scoring spree didn’t end there as just a minute after the break Rory Jackson sent a kick flying over the Scarlets defence for Nick Grigg to run onto and burst his way down the pitch to score the Warriors’ second try. Thomson kicked to notch his tally up to 15 points.
Last year’s semi-finalists were almost further ahead after a stunning breakaway led to Robbie Nairn crossing the whitewash, but the score was slated off for a forward pass in the build-up.
The visitors didn’t give in easily as Jonathan Davies rewarded Wayne Pivac’s side’s patient approach with an unstoppable sprint over the line to score Scarlets’ first try.
Thomson added then another two penalties to stretch the lead to 18 points as Scarlets rung the changes with Tom Phillips emerging off the bench to play his first match since February 2017.
He soon found himself trudging back off the field for a shoulder tackle on Tim Swinson, but in his absence, Evans reduced the deficit for the Welshmen following an intercepted pass.
Then replacement Blommetjies capitalised on a stunning run from Patchell to cut the lead, before the assist maker converted with four minutes to go.
Glasgow’s Thomson ensured the victory with his fifth penalty to put to bed a four-game losing streak to Scarlets and deny their opponents a bonus point.