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Gregor Townsend upbeat ahead of Glasgow's crunch showdown at Connacht

Published 06/05/2016

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend is in confident mood ahead of Saturday's clash with Connacht
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend is in confident mood ahead of Saturday's clash with Connacht

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend insists his men are fired up for their climatic Guinness Pro12 clash with Connacht.

The league's top two will do battle in Galway on Saturday as they both chase a home semi-final.

The team emerging victorious from the final regular-season fixture will win the right to stage the opening play-off tie on their own patch, with the losers likely to end up dropping down to third behind Leinster, who are expected to see off strugglers Treviso.

But Warriors coach Townsend has no concerns over his league leaders' mindset ahead of the decisive meeting.

He said: "We're really looking forward to the game in Galway.

"Connacht play an expansive style of rugby and have a good home record, so we'll have to produce an 80-minute performance if we're to secure a home play-off.

"The players have worked extremely hard over the last few weeks and we have genuine competition for places throughout the squad.

"We are aware of the importance of this fixture and will be doing all we can to come back from Ireland with a win."

Townsend has named a strong starting XV after resting most of his big names for last weekend's crushing 70-10 win over Zebre.

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg returns to the side and is joined by Dark Blues colleague Tommy Seymour as well as Lee Jones in a new-look back three.

Peter Horne starts at centre in place of Mark Bennett, while stand-off Finn Russell takes on the playmaker duties from Duncan Weir. Ali Price, meanwhile, comes in at scrum-half.

There is a new-look front row with Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Sila Puafisi given the nod, with skipper Jonny Gray back in at lock. Flanker Ryan Wilson and number eight Josh Strauss are also recalled.

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