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Glasgow pair Pat MacArthur and Ryan Grant facing lengthy injury lay-offs

Scotland hooker Pat MacArthur and Glasgow team-mate Ryan Grant both face lengthy spells on the sidelines.

MacArthur, who pulled out of Scotland's squad for the RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy earlier this week, has been ruled out for six weeks with the hamstring injury he suffered against Ulster nearly two weeks ago.

And Grant's season appears to be over following arm surgery. The prop has had an operation to repair his bicep and Glasgow say he will be out of action for about 12 weeks.

However, the Warriors have been reinforced for their Guinness Pro12 clash with Newport Gwent Dragons after six players were released from Vern Cotter's squad for the Rome trip.

Alex Dunbar - who was named in Cotter's original Six Nations squad - will also start at inside centre on Thursday night after five weeks out with a groin injury.

Duncan Weir and Josh Strauss continue in the starting line-up alongside Rob Harley, who was brought into the Scotland squad earlier this week.

Scrum-half Grayson Hart, another recent call-up, is on the bench for the match in Newport along with Gordon Reid and Zander Fagerson.

Another of Cotter's initial Six Nations squad, Chris Fusaro, is also among the replacements after shaking off a head knock.

A former Scotland skipper, Mike Blair, returns to the Glasgow starting line-up following a spell out with concussion. Fraser Brown and Lee Jones also return from injury.

Full-back Peter Murchie will make his 100th appearance while Rory Hughes, Jerry Yanuyanutawa and Greg Peterson are also recalled.

Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: "We're expecting a tough game in Newport. Rodney Parade can be a difficult environment for away teams and the Dragons will be looking to get back to winning ways."

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