Scotland trio back for Glasgow v Scarlets semi


Lock Jonny Gray returns for Glasgow after five weeks out with a shoulder injury
Pro14 semi-final: Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow Date: Friday, 18 May Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Alba & BBC Two Wales, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Glasgow welcome back Scotland trio Tommy Seymour, Jonny Gray and Jamie Bhatti, plus centre Sam Johnson, for Friday’s Pro14 semi-final at Scotstoun.

Lee Jones, Alex Dunbar and Scott Cummings drop out, with Alex Allan on the bench, where Peter Horne returns.

Johnny McNicholl returns at full-back for Scarlets having not played since February, with Leigh Halfpenny injured.

Aaron Shingler comes into the back row, with Tadhg Beirne switching to lock and Lewis Rawlins dropping to the bench.

Wales and British and Irish Lions star Halfpenny limped out early in Scarlets’ 43-8 play-off quarter-final win over Cheetahs with a hamstring tear, although coach Wayne Pivac is hopeful the 29-year-old could be fit for the final – if they overcome Glasgow.

New Zealander McNicholl has recovered from a shoulder injury that had been expected to rule him out for the rest of this season, but has recovered in time for Scarlets’ finale.

The Welsh outfit are hoping to reach the final – against either Leinster or Munster – for a second successive year, having thrashed Munster to win the title 12 months ago.

Johnny McNicholl returns for Scarlets for the first time since February

Glasgow fly-half Finn Russell will play his last home game before his move to French giants Racing 92 this summer.

George Horne retains his place at scrum-half, with Henry Pyrgos on the bench and Ali Price missing out on the match-day squad.

Glasgow, who have won all 10 of their home matches in the Pro14 this season, but have lost three of their last four games, have extended the usual Scotstoun capacity to 10,000 with additional temporary seating.

“At the start of the season our goal was to be playing finals footy at home in front of our family and friends, and we’re excited to be running out in front of a 10,000 strong Scotstoun tomorrow night,” said head coach Dave Rennie.

Glasgow’s previous semi-finals
2016: Connacht 16-11 Glasgow 2013: Leinster 17-15 Glasgow
2015: Glasgow 16-14 Ulster 2012: Leinster 19-15 Glasgow
2014: Glasgow 16-15 Munster 2001: Leinster 35-13 Glasgow

“We’ve prepared well and it’s great to be able to bring back Jonny (Gray), Sam (Johnson), Pete (Horne) and Tommy (Seymour) who were late withdrawals ahead of our last game.

“Scarlets are a quality side, they’re reigning champions for a reason and we’re looking forward to the challenge on what will be a special night for our players and supporters.”

After enjoying home advantage in the quarter-finals, Scarlets coach Pivac knows that going to Scotstoun will provide a very different test.

“We have a lot of respect for Glasgow, they have a good coaching group, some great players and they’ve got a very strong home record. It makes for a good match-up,” he said.

Scarlets’ previous semi-finals
2017: Leinster 15-27 Scarlets 2013: Ulster 28-17 Scarlets

“Both teams like to play, use the width of the field, and with that type of play it could be a great game.

“But it’s 80 minutes of knock-out rugby. We think we’re in a reasonably good position in terms of our form going into it.

“The boys enjoy knockout rugby and they enjoy being in these situations. We’re going in there with the mindset that we need to secure a top performance to be able to get on the right side of the ledger.”

Glasgow: S Hogg; T Seymour, N Grigg, S Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; F Russell, G Horne; J Bhatti, F Brown, Z Fagerson; T Swinson, J Gray; M Fagerson, C Gibbins, R Wilson (capt).

Replacements: G Turner, A Allan, S Halanukonuka, R Harley, C Fusaro, H Pyrgos, P Horne, R Jackson.

Scarlets: J McNicholl; T Prydie, S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans; R Patchell, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens (capt), S Lee, T Beirne, S Cummins, A Shingler, J Davies, J Barclay.

Replacements: R Elias, W Jones, W Kruger, L Rawlins, W Boyde, J Evans, D Jones, S Hughes.

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