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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# playoff shake-up
Half the country should be glued to this Pro12 game tomorrow night
It’s Ospreys. It’s Glasgow. And it’ll be live on a red button near you.

WITH THE CHAMPIONS Cup done, dusted and sent to live with its predecessor in Toulon, at least the Pro12 still promises a tantalising end to the season.

Even though the top four playoff places are already sealed off from the remaining eight teams, all four sides at the top still have hope of claiming the top seeding and, more importantly, a home semi-final.

However, before Munster travel to Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, fans of the two provinces should be keeping a very close eye on a clash between the title-chasers from Scotland and Wales.

Josh Strauss Russell Cheyne / INPHO Glasgow Captain Josh Strauss is back at number 8. Russell Cheyne / INPHO / INPHO

Leaders Glasgow Warriors are in Wales to meet fourth placed Ospreys. Just four points separate the two teams, which means a home win would leave Ulster and Munster sitting outside the home berths before they kick off in Belfast on Saturday afternoon.

So while Leinster will be in action against Treviso on TG4, fans from provinces north and south should seek out the red button facility on BBC (or BBC 2 Wales if you can get it) at 19.35 to watch a game with serious ramifications for their title hopes.

Ospreys have made three changes for the crucial fixture with Dan Lydiate chopped out of the starting XV to be replaced by James King at blindside.

Elsewhere, Steve Tandy has brought in two Canadians back into the ranks as wing Jeff Hassler returns from a knee injury and Tylor Ardon comes in to partner captain Alun Wyn Jones at lock in place of the injured Lloyd Peers.

Alun Wyn Jones Craig Thomas / INPHO Alun Wyn Jones knows what it takes to win a Pro12 title. Craig Thomas / INPHO / INPHO

The league’s leading coach Gregor Townsend has made five changes to the side who ran riot in Galway, including the return of Duncan Weir at out-half in place of Finn Russell as well as Josh Strauss edging out Adam Ashe at number eight.

Ospreys

15 Dan Evans
14 Jeff Hassler
13 Ben John
12 Josh Matavesi
11 Eli Walker
10 Dan Biggar
9 Rhys Webb

1 Nicky Smith
2 Scott Baldwin
3 Aaron Jarvis
4 Tyler Ardron
5 Alun Wyn Jones (Captain)
6 James King
7 Justin Tipuric
8 Dan Baker

Replacements:

16 Sam Parry
17 Marc Thomas
18 Dmitri Arhip
19 Rory Thornton
20 Dan Lydiate
21 Tom Habberfield
22 Sam Davies
23 Jonathan Spratt

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Glasgow Warriors

15. Stuart Hogg
14. Tommy Seymour
13. Richie Vernon
12. Peter Horne
11. Niko Matawalu
10. Duncan Weir
9. Henry Pyrgos

1. Ryan Grant
2. Pat MacArthur
3. Jon Welsh
4. Tim Swinson
5. Jonny Gray
6. Rob Harley
7. Chris Fusaro
8. Josh Strauss (Captain)

Replacements:

16. Fraser Brown
17. Gordon Reid
18. Euan Murray
19. Leone Nakarawa
20. Ryan Wilson
21. Lee Jones
22. Fraser Lyle
23. Peter Murchie

Referee: George Clancy

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