Familiar foes kick-off at Firhill
October 7, 2010
Ruaridh Jackson returns at fly-half for Glasgow © PA Photos
Two of the Heineken Cup's minnows kick off the tournament in Glasgow on Friday, and both the Warriors and Dragons will have designs on ruffling a few feathers in Pool 6.
The teams have met each other with such regularity in recent seasons, both in the Magners League and Europe, that they know their respective strengths and weaknesses in minute detail.
They remain extremely well matched and with Wasps and Toulouse around the corner, these meetings will have a big bearing on their respective fates. Third place carries the added weight of a possible Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final while neither team will believe that upsetting Wasps is beyond them.
Glasgow - Player to Watch: The Warriors have placed faith in youngster Ruaridh Jackson at fly-half. Many will remember his eye-catching display against Bath in the 2008 tournament, but he must find greater consistency.
Glasgow - Team News: Aside from recalling Jackson in place of Duncan Weir at No.10, coach Sean Lineen has made only one other change to his matchday squad: Scotland hooker Dougie Hall returns on the bench in place of Pat MacArthur
Dragons - Player to Watch: Ashley Smith will be relishing his return to the Heineken Cup after a series of injury problems and the centre has often proved to be an inspirational presence despite his tender years.
Dragons - Team News: Matthew Jones starts at fly-half due to the continued absence of Jason Tovey due to injury, while Will Harries continues at fullback.
Key Battle: The Glasgow back-row was the envy of many last season thanks to their 'Killer Bs' combination but with Kelly Brown now at Saracens and Johnnie Beattie injured there is a different complexion to their pack. The Dragons trio of Dan Lydiate, Robin Sowden-Taylor and Andrew Coombs will fancy their chances against John Barclay, Richie Vernon and Robert Harley.
Trivia: This is the third straight season that the sides have been drawn together in the Pool stages; they have shared two wins apiece in their previous meetings.
Stats: Cook Islander Tommy Hayes holds the Glasgow record for points and tries scored in the Heineken Cup. The fly-half bagged 10 tries and 388 points during his time with the Warriors.
"I suppose I look forward to the Heineken Cup because it holds fond memories for me. I guess it made my name at the time, but that is in the past now and I have to focus on playing well this year." - Glasgow fly-half Ruaridh Jackson
"I'm starting to see our big players beginning to play. Dan Lydiate was outstanding, Wayne Evans has been playing with a knee injury, Rob Sidoli and Scott Morgan have been playing well and our back three have been playing good rugby, especially Aled Brew. " - Dragons boss Paul Turner in Campaign
Prediction: It's always close between these sides and they know each other inside and out. Home advantage, plus a couple of key injuries for the Dragons should swing it for Glasgow.
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