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Gregor Townsend warns Warriors to cut out mistakes

Gregor Townsend has told his Glasgow players they will have to brush up their act if they are to have any chance of winning the 1872 Cup back from Edinburgh.

The Warriors slumped to a 23-11 defeat at Murrayfield in last Sunday's opening leg of their annual inter-city double header.

They will have to overcome the 12-point deficit in Saturday's return duel if they are to win back the trophy they held for five years straight before it was pinched by Edinburgh 12 months ago.

With the Scotstoun clash also doubling as a Guinness Pro12 fixture, Townsend will be eager to see the last year's league champions bounce back at after defeat in the capital dropped his side down to seventh in the current standings.

But for that to happen he admits his side will have to cut out their sloppy mistakes.

"We didn't play well especially in the second half - that was disappointing," said the Glasgow head coach.

"We had opportunities when the game opened up, but we didn't hold onto the ball enough and at times we didn't win the contact battle.

"Sometimes we all learn together and while defeats are hard to take, they are also necessary to remind people of what we need to do and what works for us.

"We were not accurate enough on Sunday. We turned the ball over 19 times and didn't hold on to it enough, so whatever way we set out to play when your up against a really good defence you need to be accurate. That is something we will have to do this weekend."

Townsend will hand blindside flanker Ryan Wilson his 100th Warriors appearance, but he has been forced into a re-think of his starting XV with injury and fatigue counting out a number of his top picks.

Veteran wing Sean Lamont replaces Tommy Seymour, while stand-off Duncan Weir and scrum-half Ali Price come in for Finn Russell and Grayson Hart.

In the forwards, props Gordon Reid and Zander Fagerson take over from Ryan Grant and Sila Puafisi, while skipper Jonny Gray returns after concussion to take Leone Nakarawa's slot.

The only change to the back row sees Josh Strauss return at number eight in place of Adam Ashe.

Edinburgh have again selected Scotland flanker John Hardie at number seven following his man-of-the-match display at Murrayfield and Townsend admits the New Zealand-born flanker is a player he was interested in before Gunners boss Alan Solomons beat him to Hardie's signature.

He said: "John's an excellent player and had a really good game, but I thought out openside Chris Fusaro did too. It was good to see the both of them going up against each other with a lot of pace and intensity.

"John got to choose between the two clubs when he came over and he decided to go to Edinburgh.

"We've got some fantastic back-rowers like Chris, Simone Favaro and Hugh Blake so there is a lot of competition. But John is an excellent player and would have done well no matter which club he chose."


From Belfast Telegraph