Dunbar blow as Warriors prepare for cauldron test
Champions Glasgow return to the scene of semi-final defeat on Saturday minus one of their key Warriors after confirmation that Scottish centre Alex Dunbar will miss the rest of their title tilt.
The 26-year-old sustained a knee injury in the defeat at Connacht earlier this month and, although he will not require surgery, he will not play again this season and team-mate Matt Scott has been drafted into Scotland's squad for the summer tour to Japan.
"We're disappointed for Alex that his season has been cut short through injury," said Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend, who had only welcomed the player back from a year-long absence with another knee problem in March.
"He had been playing very well and played a big role in getting us into the Pro12 play-offs," added Townsend.
Dunbar's Scotland colleague Richie Vernon has already been ruled out for the rest of the season so Glenn Bryce, who played for Scotland 7s in Paris at the weekend, could return.
Connacht will also have to play a waiting game this week with their front-rowers recovering from the intense battle in the Sportsground; of the casualties, Nathan White and Denis Buckley are less likely than Rodney Ah You, Finlay Bealham to return while Ronan Loughney's fitness will be rigorously tested.
Townsend admits his team will be severely tested too in the rematch and he hopes his side can adapt better to the atmosphere, whatever the weather.
"They know it will be noisy," he said. "Decisions may go against us. There might be aggressive parts of the game that we have to handle as a club and make sure that we're focused on our task, which is winning the game.
"It can get noisier, but not much than last time. It's a different atmosphere than you get at any other ground in the Pro12 and probably in Europe.
"I love the noise, and our players now know what environment they're going back into, hopefully with a number of our supporters too.
"It's a different set-up. You have a terrace, one side is set far back, and then you have people really close. The crowd as well are really passionate about their team, very similar to Scotstoun people.
"People don't like playing at Scotstoun because of the atmosphere, and over there they'll cheer for every decision. They'll be behind their team with full passion, which is great to see."