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Cusiter to start as skipper

Chris Cusiter will captain Glasgow when he makes his first start for 11 months in the RaboDirect Pro12 clash with Leinster.

The Scotland scrum-half has come off the bench to help Glasgow record victories over Cardiff and Ulster in their opening games and now makes his full return from a shoulder injury when the Irish province visit Scotstoun on Friday night.

Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: "We're all really pleased to see Chris Cusiter back involved again after his injury lay-off, and as captain he will undoubtedly have a big role to play."

Townsend added: "We're delighted to have won our first two games of the season but we'll need to raise our level of performance against Leinster.

"They have been consistently one of the leading teams in Europe for some time now and have only lost once in their last 20 games. It will require one of our very best performances in order to win on Friday.

"There wasn't much between the sides last season and we came close to winning on a couple of occasions. We learned a great deal from those games; how we will have to work hard for 80 minutes and take any opportunities that come our way.

"Our intensity at training has gone up a notch this week and the players are very focused on what is a highly anticipated match.

"Our supporters were fantastic in our opening game against Cardiff and they helped us get the win that night. It looks like we're heading for another sell-out at Scotstoun, which is great news for the club and we're all looking forward to the game."

Townsend has made five changes in all with Alex Dunbar, Jon Welsh, Chris Fusaro, Richie Vernon and Cusiter coming in, while Sean Lamont moves from centre to wing.

Glasgow are without Mike Cusack (shoulder), Peter Horne (knee), Al Kellock (ankle), Niko Matawalu (foot), Tom Ryder (head) and Ryan Wilson (shoulder).

Cusack has undergone further surgery on the shoulder injury that has kept him out of action since December but is now expected to remain on the sidelines until the new year.

Meanwhile, captain Kellock is responding well to treatment after he was stretchered off with an during the Warriors opening game against Cardiff Blues a fortnight ago.

He will not require an operation and Townsend hopes he will return to action within the next few weeks.


From Belfast Telegraph