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Townsend targets home semi-final

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend insists his men will not take their foot off the gas after booking their place in the Guinness PRO12 play-offs.

The league leaders beat Connacht 31-13 to extend their season and keep alive their hopes of claiming a first ever domestic crown.

But fourth-placed Ospreys welcoming Warriors to Swansea on Friday night, Townsend now wants to make sure his Scotstoun side give themselves the best possible chance of success by claiming a home semi-final.

He said: "We're well aware of the importance of tomorrow night's game and what it means to everyone associated with the club.

"Securing our place in the play-offs is a massive achievement, but we're now playing for home advantage and we know our last two games of the regular season are crucial to achieving that outcome.

"Ospreys are only four points behind and they too are playing for a home play-off, so we're expecting an extremely tough game at the Liberty Stadium.

"They have played at a consistently high level throughout the season and have a good balance in their play - a strong, aggressive defence allied to an excellent attacking game.

"We will need to put in one of our best performances of the season to come away with a positive result."

Fly-half Duncan Weir's return is the only change to the Warriors backline which started the win over Connacht in Galway almost a fortnight ago.

The Scotland international has made two appearances off the bench since recovering from a bicep injury, which kept him out of action since December.

Weir replaces Finn Russell in the Number 10 shirt while in the forwards, Ryan Grant comes in for Jerry Yanuyanutawa at loose-head, Pat MacArthur replaces Fraser Brown at hooker and Jon Welsh continues at tight-head.

Tim Swinson starts in place of Leone Nakarawa in the second row and will partner Jonny Gray in the engine room.

In the back-row Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro continue at blind-side and open-side respectively, while Josh Strauss replaces Adam Ashe at number eight and captains the side.

Back-rower Ryan Wilson - given a three-month ban by his club back in February after being found guilty of assault at Glasgow Sheriff Court - is named amongst the replacements, along with Fraser Lyle who could make his first appearance since representing Scotland 7s in Hong Kong and Tokyo.


From Belfast Telegraph