23 May, 12:21
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
GLASGOW WARRIORS (4th) v CONNACHT (8th), Firhill Stadium, 7.30pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)
Team News: Connacht head coach Eric Elwood has selected his starting line-up to take on Glasgow Warriors in the final round of the RaboDirect PRO12 at Firhill Stadium.
There are three changes in personnel and one positional switch to the side that beat Aironi at the Sportsground two weeks ago as Elwood has chosen not to tinker with the winning formula too much.
In the pack hooker Adrian Flavin replaces Ethienne Reynecke in the front row and the departing Ray Ofisa moves to the replacements bench, making way for openside flanker Johnny O'Connor.
In the back-line, rising star Eoin Griffin's return to outside centre means Kyle Tonetti moves to the right wing, while speedster James Loxton is promoted to the bench.
Connacht are chasing their best ever league finish of eighth and a win over play-off contenders Glasgow will secure that historic result for the province.
Glasgow have a lot to play for though in their last match at Firhill and Connacht's talismanic back rower John Muldoon is under no illusions about the scale of the challenge that lies ahead:
"Glasgow are riding high in the league at the moment, their coach is leaving, they're leaving Firhill and they are also gunning for a top four position so we know the pressure's on them," he said.
"They'll be coming out all guns blazing but at the same time we're looking to cause an upset and finish a record eighth, that would be a very good return for us this season."
He added: "We're really looking to finish on a high and saying goodbye to some great servants of the province, that goes for everyone, from fellas like Henry (Fa'afili), who has been here for just a year, to the likes of Ray (Ofisa) who has been here for over six years.
"We'd like to give them the send-off they deserve and on top of that wish (CEO) Gerry Kelly the best of luck in his retirement as well, so we're really looking to a big performance on Saturday."
Meanwhile, Sean Lineen's Glasgow Warriors still have plenty to do to make the semi-finals, with the Scarlets and Ulster hot on their heels in the race to claim the final knockout spot.
A draw would mathematically guarantee the Warriors' passage through to the play-offs, but the players and coaches alike are gunning for the win that could see them climb into third place come the final whistle.
The Scottish side's starting line-up shows seven changes to the one that ran out in the 13-8 win away to Benetton Treviso two weeks ago.
Three of the changes come in the back-line where Henry Pyrgos is rewarded for his fine recent form with a start at scrum half, Federico Aramburu replaces Tommy Seymour on one wing and DTH van der Merwe is selected on the other.
The Canada international, who was sprung from the bench in Treviso to score the match-winning try, will be making his first start of the season having recovered from a shoulder injury.
Argentinian ace Aramburu, meanwhile, will captain the team against Connacht with regular skipper Al Kellock listed among the replacements.
There is an all-new front row where Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall and Moray Low team up, while Tom Ryder joins Richie Gray in the second row.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg; Federico Aramburu (capt), Alex Dunbar, Graeme Morrison, DTH van der Merwe; Duncan Weir, Henry Pyrgos; Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Tom Ryder, Richie Gray, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, John Barclay.
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Mike Cusack, Ryan Grant, Al Kellock, Calum Forrester, Chris Cusiter, Ruaridh Jackson, Colin Shaw.
CONNACHT: Gavin Duffy (capt); Kyle Tonetti, Eoin Griffin, Henry Fa'afili, Tiernan O'Halloran; Miah Nikora, Frank Murphy; Denis Buckley, Adrian Flavin, Ronan Loughney, Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy, John Muldoon, Johnny O'Connor, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Dermot Murphy, Stewart Maguire, Rodney Ah You, Michael Kearney, Ray Ofisa, Paul O'Donohoe, Matthew Jarvis, James Loxton.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Andy Macpherson, Andy Ireland (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 1/7; Draw: 25/1; Connacht to win: 9/2
Pre-Match Quotes: Eric Elwood (Connacht) - "Glasgow always is a tough place to go, and we expect Saturday to be more difficult," he told the Galway Advertiser.
"They have created a lot of hype for this game - it is their last at Firhill, coach Sean Lineen's last in charge, they are saying farewell to some eight or nine players and, most importantly, they are fighting for a play-off place.
"They will consider us the dream draw for this last fixture - that we are a dead rubber with nothing to play for, but we have our own ambitions and we are going there to win.
"You go to Glasgow knowing that you have to earn a victory. They are confrontational and physical and while they are not the most exciting team, they kick well and have a strong defence.
"Last year we achieved a ninth place finish which was our best ever, and if we could achieve eighth place it would be a great achievement."
Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) - "We've placed huge emphasis all season on the importance of a 23-man effort, and that's absolutely the case again this week.
"There are a few bumps and bruises floating around as you'd expect at this stage in a long, hard year, but it's also right and proper that we reward players for what they've produced both in the last few games and over the piece.
"It's great for myself and Gary (Mercer) and this group of players to have the chance to show our appreciation for the fantastic backing the Firhill crowd have given us down the years.
"The best way to do that is by winning the game and giving them a semi-final to look forward to, so we're taking sentiment out of it and keeping our minds on that specific task.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Firhill absolutely buzzing one last time. With players, coaches, staff and supporters all pulling together, we're more than capable of giving the ground a fitting send-off with a win."
Top Scorers - 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Glasgow Warriors - Points: Duncan Weir 183; Tries: Stuart Hogg 4; Connacht - Points: Niall O'Connor 86; Tries: Tiernan O'Halloran 5
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Friday, May 15, 2009 - Glasgow Warriors 30 Connacht 9, Firhill Stadium
Friday, October 23, 2009 - Glasgow Warriors 34 Connacht 20, Firhill Stadium
Friday, March 5, 2010 - Connacht 19 Glasgow Warriors 19, the Sportsground
Friday, September 17, 2010 - Glasgow Warriors 17 Connacht 19, Firhill Stadium
Friday, February 18, 2011 - Connacht 37 Glasgow Warriors 8, the Sportsground
Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Connacht 13 Glasgow Warriors 13, the Sportsground
- Glasgow Warriors have won four of their last five games in the RaboDirect PRO12 and have not lost at home in the league since Benetton Treviso visited Firhill Stadium on September 23
- Connacht have won their last three matches but have not won four in-a-row in the league since the 2002/03 season
- Connacht's only defeat to Scottish opponents in their last five such encounters was a 19-14 loss at Edinburgh last September
- The Warriors have not beaten Connacht since the westerners visited Firhill in October 2009, but have recorded two draws in that time
- This will be the Warriors' last game at Firhill before their move to Scotstoun Stadium over the summer
|3/5/13||Connacht Rugby||3 - 20||Glasgow Warriors||6,081|
|21/9/12||Glasgow Warriors||27 - 17||Connacht Rugby||3,646|
|5/5/12||Glasgow Warriors||24 - 3||Connacht Rugby||5,374|