Cusack returns for Warriors
Published 21/02/2014 | 14:52
Glasgow prop Mike Cusack will make his long-awaited return to action on Sunday after 14 months out through injury when Warriors take on the Dragons at Rodney Parade.
The 29-year-old forward has been on the sidelines with a shoulder injury since December 2012, but returns to Gregor Townsend's starting line-up for the trip to Newport.
Townsend said: "Mike has worked extremely hard to get back fit and has been training really well. It's great news for the club that he can now return to action at a crucial period of the season."
Townsend has made six changes after last weekend's last-gasp 27-20 win away to Cardiff.
Ruaridh Jackson moves from fly-half to full-back, with Niko Matawalu switching to scrum-half and Henry Pyrgos named amongst the replacements.
Mark Bennett and Richie Vernon continue in the centres, while 21-year-old Finn Russell makes only his second start for the club and first at fly-half after impressing as a substitute against the Blues last weekend.
Cusack returns at tight-head in place of Ed Kalman, while Jerry Yanuyanutawa replaces Gordon Reid at loose-head and Dougie Hall starts at hooker, in place of the injured Pat MacArthur.
Jonny Gray comes into the second-row for Tom Ryder to partner Fijian Leone Nakarawa in the engine room.
The back row is unchanged with Tyrone Holmes starting at openside, Rob Harley at blindside and captain Josh Strauss at number eight, while American centre Folau Niua has once again been named amongst the replacements and could make his debut for the club from the bench.
Townsend said: "We were really pleased to win down at Cardiff last weekend and there were plenty of positives which we can take into our game on Sunday.
"The Dragons have already beaten us at home this season, so we know how big a challenge we face at Rodney Parade.
"They are a well organised team and are tough to play against, they also have a very good home record, having only lost twice since last March, so we know we'll have to play well to come away with a positive result."