Preview: Glasgow v Zebre

Date published: March 5 2015

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Glasgow will be eager to bounce back from last week's loss at Munster when they take on struggling Zebre at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday.

Still very much in the mix for PRO12 glory, the Warriors enter the home game one point behind leaders Munster, who play the Ospreys on Saturday.

Chris Fusaro returns for Glasgow after three months out with an ankle injury suffered in the Warriors defeat in Toulouse last December.

There are seven personnel changes and two positional switches from the team which lost 22-10 to Munster on Saturday.

Sean Lamont, Peter Horne, Ryan Grant and Rob Harley all start after being released from the Scotland squad. 

Peter Murchie will play his fourth consecutive game at full-back, with Lee Jones coming in on the right wing and Niko Matawalu moving to scrum-half in place of Murray McConnell. DTH van der Merwe continues on the opposite wing.

Lamont starts at outside centre in place of Richie Vernon and will form a new partnership with Canadian international Connor Braid, who moves from fly-half to replace Fraser Lyle.

Horne wears the Number 10 jersey and he’ll link up with Niko Matawalu, who switches from the wing to scrum-half.

In the pack Grant replaces Alex Allan at loose-head, Kevin Bryce comes in for Pat MacArthur at hooker and after scoring his first try for the club last weekend, Rossouw de Klerk continues at tighthead. 

Harley comes in for James Eddie in the second-row to make his first appearance for Glasgow since December and he’ll partner Al Kellock in the engine room.

Adam Ashe and Josh Strauss continue at blindside and number eight respectively, with Fusaro in at openside in place of Will Bordill.

"This is our last game for three weeks, so we’re determined to finish this block of matches on a high," said head coach Gregor Townsend.

"We’re expecting a very tough game from a Zebre side who have shown a lot of improvement in the past two weeks and had a good win against the Dragons last weekend. So we’ll have to be fully focussed tomorrow evening."

Zebre are also without a number of players on international duty, but Azzurri pair Quintin Geldenhuys and skipper Mauro Bergamasco are available.

However with Jacques Brunel relying on a core of Zebre players for his squad, the Parma-based side have been forced to call on a number of permit-players from local clubs, with Ruben Riccioli starting in the back row, while Filippo Gerosa and Renato Giammarioli are named on the bench.

Long-term absentee Gonzalo Garcia could also making his playing return after being named as a replacement for Zebre.

Form: Glasgow Warriors' three match winning run in the Guinness PRO12 ended against Munster in Cork on Saturday. The Warriors have won their last sixteen PRO12 fixtures played at Scotstoun since Newport Gwent Dragons won there in November 2013. Zebre beat the Dragons in Parma on Sunday and have only won successive PRO12 encounters once before – against Edinburgh and Ospreys last April-May. Zebre have won just one away game in the history of the PRO12: 30-25 at Cardiff Blues in September 2013. Glasgow have won all five previous encounters with Zebre, in each of the two most recent scoring 54 points, made up of eight tries and seven conversions.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Connor Braid, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Adam Ashe, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Rob Harley, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Kevin Bryce, 1 Ryan Grant  
Replacements: Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Alex Allan, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 James Eddie, 20 Will Bordill, 21 Ali Price, 22 Richie Vernon, 23 Glenn Bryce

Zebre: 15 Giulio Toniolatti, 14 Dion Berryman, 13 Mirco Bergamasco, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 David Odiete, 10 Edoardo Padovani, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Valerio Bernabò, 7 Mauro Bergamasco (c), 6 Ruben Riccioli, 5 Andrei Mahu, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Romano, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Luciano Leibson, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Filippo Gerosa, 20 Renato Giammarioli, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Gonzalo Garcia

Date: Friday, March 6
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White, Mike Adamson (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Iain Goodall (SRU)
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

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