Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie has selected a strong squad to face Sale in their opening European Champions Cup match at Scotstoun this afternoon, with Ratu Tagive making his first start in European competition.

Rennie has selected 19 internationalists in his squad, with the majority of those who missed the start of the season  World Cup contingent back in the fray now.

And after being rested for last weekend’s match against Zebre, the club’s most-capped player Rob Harley returns to the side to partner Scott Cummings in the second-row.

Rennie admits he has been thinking who to select for Europe for some time, and is please that injuries haven’t disrupted his plans too much.

“With the World Cup boys coming back in, we sort of planned about three or four weeks of selection, dictated by form and injury,” he said. 

“We’re pretty happy with the team we’ve got together. We’re not too bad off from an injury point of view. It’s a pretty strong side.

A settled front-row sees Oli Kebble and Zander Fagerson continue as the starting props, as Fraser Brown packs down at hooker following the announcement of his new three-year contract earlier this week.

Callum Gibbins and Ryan Wilson start together on the flanks for the first time this season, with Matt Fagerson continuing at number eight to complete the back-row.
George Horne will look to build upon his brace of tries against Zebre last Saturday, with the scrum-half once again partnering Adam Hastings in the half-backs.
Nick Grigg comes back into the side at outside centre, lining up outside fellow Scotland international Sam Johnson in midfield.
Tommy Seymour continues at full-back in an unchanged back-three, with DTH van der Merwe and Tagive starting on the wings.

Ali Price is in line to make his first appearance of the new season from the bench, following the foot injury sustained by the scrum-half at the recent Rugby World Cup in Japan, and Rennie admits he is delighted to see him back. However, with Price battling George Horne for a starting berth, Rennie had a tough call to make regarding who got the starting berth.

“George has played really well for us for the last couple of years,” said Rennie. 

“He had a really strong World Cup and he’s been excellent since he’s been back with us. Clearly he suits the type of game that we play, which is high pace, high skill. It’s important that he gets to the breakdown quickly and allows us to play our type of game.

“But Ali is very similar. Last year they were scrapping it out, and to be honest this year there’s a lot of footy.

“We want to get a bit more rugby into Ali but he’s worked hard and he’s on the bench this week.”

This European campaign is Rennie’s third with Warriors and his team are, he believes, in as good a shape as they have ever been as they embark on their assault on this year’s Champions Cup.

“It is a tough competition,” he said.

“You have to beat the best 20 teams in Europe but we have pushed really hard over the last couple of years. We have a better squad with a lot more depth in it and we have a pack that can compete in Europe. 

“I thought we were really good in Europe last year and have a good understanding of the type of game we are trying to play. On our week we can knock anybody over. That has to be our mindset. We are playing against teams with much bigger budgets but it is 15 v 15 on the day. We have prepared well and we’re ready to go.”