Friday 22 September 2017

Kellock set for Warriors comeback

Al Kellock will start his first game for Glasgow since the final game of last season when he leads the Warriors out against Guinness Pro12 rivals Connacht at Scotstoun on Friday night.

The Scotland international had a shoulder operation over the summer and has not featured since last season's grand final defeat to Leinster in Dublin.

But the giant lock played 60 minutes for the Warriors 'A' team on Monday in their 30-5 victory over Edinburgh and goes straight into Gregor Townsend's starting line-up, with Tom Ryder and Finn Russell also due to return from injury after being named on the bench.

The Glasgow head coach - whose side are looking to make it four wins from four - said: "We welcome Al, Tom and Finn back from injury tomorrow night. They've all worked really hard to come back and it's great news that we can include them in our squad for this game.

"Connacht are one of the form teams in the league right now and had an impressive win against Leinster last weekend which - combined with their win away in Toulouse last season - shows the progress that they are making under Pat Lam.

"Tomorrow night's game is another big test for our squad, but one we're all looking forward to. It'll be good to be back home at Scotstoun, playing in front of our own supporters, after a couple of weeks on the road."

As well as Kellock's return, Townsend makes a number of other changes.

After joining from Munster in the summer, Irish centre James Downey will make his full debut for the club in the No.12 shirt.

Following last Saturday's 33-13 win over the Dragons in Newport, Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and DTH van der Merwe keeps his place on the left wing, with Sean Lamont coming in for Tommy Seymour on the opposite side.

It is a new centre partnership with Downey linking up with Mark Bennett in midfield, while Duncan Weir continues at fly-half and Henry Pyrgos comes in at scrum-half.

The only change in the front-row sees Pat MacArthur taking over from Kevin Bryce at hooker, after recovering from a head knock, while Gordon Reid and Euan Murray continue at loose-head and tight-head respectively.

Kellock comes into the second-row in place of Leone Nakarawa and will partner Tim Swinson.

Chris Fusaro replaces the suspended Tyrone Holmes - who was sent off against the Dragons for stamping - at open-side, while Adam Ashe takes over from Josh Strauss at Number 8 and Rob Harley continues on the blind-side.

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