In one of the later kick-offs on Saturday, Glasgow Warriors play host to Dragons at Scotstoun (live on Freesports, 19:35) and are looking to bounce back swiftly from their defeat to the Isuzu Southern Kings.
What’s at stake?
As was the case last season, Glasgow have started extremely well, picking up three wins to top their conference after four matches.
double for DTH van der Merwe helped the Warriors to a losing bonus point in South Africa whilst man of the moment – fly-half Adam Hastings – returns against Dragons.
The Welsh region will be tough opponents and look to be picking up steam. They beat Zebre 16-5 in Round Four.
Team news (Glasgow Warriors):
Dave Rennie has made 11 changes to his starting XV, including the return of Hastings at fly-half.
The 21-year-old has a 100 per cent kicking record this season and has earned two man-of-the-match medals.
He is joined at half-back by Ali Price.
Outside of them, Alex Dunbar starts at inside centre, partnering Huw Jones in midfield.
Neither Lee Jones or Niko Matawalu travelled to South Africa and they are both promoted to the starting XV for the first game back on home soil – they join Ruaridh Jackson in the back-three.
Up front, Oli Kebble will look to continue his dominant start to the season at loosehead while Fraser Brown also comes in alongside him.
Rob Harley and Jonny Gray both return to the engine room while behind them are co-captains Ryan Wilson and Callum Gibbins, either side of Matt Fagerson, who is starting his first game of the season.
Team news (Dragons):
Scrum-half Tavis Knoyle and centre Jarryd Sage make their first starts of the Guinness PRO14 season as head coach Bernard Jackman makes a total of seven changes to his starting line-up.
A new-look pack features two changes in the front row, with hooker Richard Hibbard – who will captain the team – and prop Ryan Bevington returning to the side.
Samoa international Brandon Nansen will partner Rynard Landman in the second row. Lewis Evans returns at No.8 while Nic Cudd will start the game at openside flanker.
Lock Huw Taylor, back-row James Thomas and utility back Will Talbot-Davies are rewarded for their form in the Celtic Cup competition with places on the replacements bench.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Rennie said: “The Dragons have recruited really well over the summer.
“They have already won a couple of games and we expect them to be very competitive, and we’re going to have to work really hard to get a result.
“It’s great to get Niko Matawalu back in the mix and Lee Jones back from injury this weekend, and we’re looking forward to being back at Scotstoun.”
Dragons chief Jackman is looking forward to the test in Glasgow but warned his side to expect to face a team hurting after they were beaten in South Africa last weekend.
“We expect a massive backlash and Glasgow are very impressive at home,” said Jackman. “Leinster, Munster and Glasgow are probably the three hardest away fixtures in the competition.
“I’m sure they will go full-strength and this is a big test for us on the back of tough day away at Leinster last time on the road.
“We make changes and guys come in to get their opportunity to impress. We want to show a big improvement on our last away game and continue the positive vibe we had against Zebre.”
Key battle: Our key battle for this fixture features two men who should be fresh upon their returns to the starting XVs – Dragons’ Richard Hibbard and Glasgow’s Fraser Brown.
Both hookers have international class and Hibbard’s influence can be seen by the fact that he skippers Dragons at Scotstoun.
Brown is also one of his team’s leaders and showed his intent when coming off the bench against Isuzu Southern Kings last week, driving over at the back of a maul to help his side to a bonus point.
Key fact: The Warriors’ only defeat at Scotstoun in the Championship since the start of last season was against Scarlets in the semi-final last May.
Did you know? Warriors are winless in their last three encounters with Welsh regions.
Glasgow: Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Niko Matawalu, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Oliver Kebble, Fraser Brown, D’Arcy Rae, Rob Harley, Jonny Gray, Ryan Wilson, (co-capt) Callum Gibbins (co-capt) Matt Fagerson
Replacements: George Turner, Alex Allan, Adam Nicol, Andrew Davidson, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Brandon Thomson, Nick Grigg
Dragons: Jordan Williams, Dafydd Howells, Adam Warren, Jarryd Sage, Jared Rosser, Arwel Robson, Tavis Knoyle, Ryan Bevington, Richard Hibbard (capt), Lloyd Fairbrother, Brandon Nansen, Rynard Landman, Aaron Wainwright, Nic Cudd, Lewis Evans
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Brok Harris, Aaron Jarvis, Huw Taylor, James Thomas, Rhodri Williams, Josh Lewis, Will Talbot-Davies
TV: At Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, 7.35pm. Live on Freesports.
Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (SRU), Dunx McClement (SRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)
Citing commissioner: Beth Dickens (SRU)
A brace from Lee Jones ensured Glasgow Warriors returned to the top of Conference A with a bonus-point victory against Dragons at Scotstoun.
The Scottish winger scored either side of the break as the hosts bounced back from their shock Guinness PRO14 defeat to Isuzu Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Prop Oliver Kebble got Dave Rennie’s men off to a perfect start when he crashed through in the first five minutes, while Huw Jones and Alex Dunbar also got on the scoresheet.
While Adam Warren did grab a second-half try for Dragons, the visitors struggled to cope with Glasgow’s intensity as they put their South African horror show firmly behind them.
Warriors made 11 changes to their starting line-up for the round five clash, with Ali Price and Adam Hastings coming in for half-backs Nick Frisby and Pete Horne.
Fraser Brown and Rob Harley also came into the Glasgow pack, with George Turner and Greg Peterson making way, as they looked for a response to their first defeat of the season.
📊📈📉 Here are the stats from our bonus-point win at Scotstoun this evening 👇 pic.twitter.com/xJqPy9AVI0
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) September 29, 2018
And, clearly hurting from their last performance, Warriors came out firing as they came close to opening the scoring after just two minutes – but Huw Jones’ try was disallowed for a knock-on.
It was only a brief reprieve for Dragons, though, as Kebble burst through a gaping hole in the defence to touch down just moments later, with Adam Hastings adding the extras.
The Welsh region responded almost immediately from the start. Ryan Wilson’s clear out was deemed illegal and Arwel Robson stepped up to reduce the deficit.
Glasgow continued to look threatening on the break, but loose play allowed Dragons to add another penalty from the boot of Robson, after the hosts were pinged at the lineout.
Despite reducing the deficit to just a point, Bernard Jackman’s side remained on the backfoot and only had Warriors’ lack of killer instinct to thank for not finding themselves further behind.
Humbled last week, @GlasgowWarriors have come out fighting 🤜🤛
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) September 29, 2018
But just as Dragons neared the safety of half-time, Alice Price found Hastings in space and the fly-half set up Lee Jones for Glasgow’s second try to make it 12-6 at the break.
With momentum on their side, Glasgow drove home their advantage at the start of the second half as Jones crossed again following a perfectly judged offload from Dunbar.
A breakaway try from Warren, who pounced on a loose ball and hacked through before touching down, gave the Dragons some hope as they closed the gap to 17-13.
Yet just as the visitors looked like getting back into it, Glasgow started to force the tempo again and they soon had a third try as Huw Jones crossed for the bonus-point try.
Dragons continued to push for a losing bonus point, but errors proved costly, with Jared Rosser unable to hold on to Jordan Williams’ pass with the tryline beckoning.
It was the hosts who had the final say, however, with Dunbar forcing his way over in the final minute to ensure there would be no consolation for Dragons.