Warriors out to secure semi-final spot
May 4, 2012
Richie Gray could play his last game for Glasgow on Saturday © PA Photos
Glasgow Warriors are out to follow the example set down by European high-flyers Edinburgh this weekend, with Sean Lineen's men one step away from a spot in the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs.
With Leinster, the Ospreys and Munster assured of spots in the semi-finals - ahead of their meetings with the Dragons, Aironi and Ulster - the race for the remaining berth will go down to the wire.
Glasgow face Connacht at Firhill on Saturday, with a draw enough to mathematically guarantee their progress ahead of the chasing pack - namely the Scarlets and Ulster.
"There's been a lot of talk outside the camp about the various play-off scenarios, but our message to the players has been very simple," Lineen said.
"This will be a hugely difficult game against tenacious and confident opponents, and our minds will be focused on one thing and one thing only - doing whatever it takes to win the match."
The Scarlets are hoping that Connacht can spring an upset at Firhill, with the Welsh region currently four points behind the Warriors. They will farewell Stephen Jones - who will play for Wasps next season - against Cardiff Blues on Saturday at Parc y Scarlets, where a big crowd is expected.
Jones starts out of position at inside-centre, with Rhys Priestland at fly-half, while England No.8 Ben Morgan and Scotland wing Sean Lamont will also play their final games for the region.
Ulster return to the scene of one of their finest victories - Thomond Park - to face Munster, having already seen off their Irish rivals en route to the Heineken Cup final this season. The odds are stacked against the visitors in terms of play-off rugby - they require wins from the Blues and Connacht (without a bonus for Glasgow) and five points of their own.
Stephen Ferris and Rory Best have been rested for the trip south, while Chris Henry remains sidelined with an ankle problem.
Meanwhile, Chris Paterson will bring the curtain down on a stellar career on Saturday night. Scotland's record caps holder starts for Edinburgh against Benetton Treviso at Murrayfield and is keen to go out on top.
"My retirement is tinged with sadness but my overriding and lasting feelings are ones of happiness, enjoyment and fulfilment, having achieved far more than I ever thought I would and could have in 14 years of the job," he said.
"I'm delighted to be involved in this game and, as always, have done my best in training and will do my best in the game."
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