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Preview: Aironi v Glasgow

01st April 2011 14:33

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Back for Warriors: Graeme Morrison

Glasgow Warriors welcome back the club's longest serving player, Graeme Morrison, for Saturday's Magners League match against Aironi as the team goes in search of its first away win of the season.

The Warriors will travel to Italy for the first time on league duties where they will play at the Stadio Zaffanella - the venue of their 18-15 Heineken Cup win over Viadana in 2008 - with this year's test set to be another evenly-matched affair.

"We've had a couple of wins over in Italy in the Heineken Cup but we know it's going to be a tough ask this time around," said Glasgow head coach Sean Lineen.

"Aironi got their first win in the league last week over Connacht - a team which has beaten us twice this year.

"They'll have a little bit of momentum and a strong squad with some quality players. We haven't won away from home yet this season so we are under no illusions."

Morrison's recovery from a knee injury means that not only is the midfield bolstered but the Warriors receive a further injection of experience and leadership as he takes over captaincy duties.

The centre's return is one of five personnel changes from the team that lost narrowly to Ulster last weekend. There are a further two positional switches.

Henry Pyrgos is given the scrum-half jersey ahead of Colin Gregor whilst Peter Murchie moves from centre to full-back in place of Bernardo Stortoni who has been struck down by a stomach bug.

In the pack, hooker Pat MacArthur takes over from Fergus Thomson and the competition at prop continues to see Ryan Grant and Jon Welsh vie for a place in the starting team. This week, Grant has the honour of taking the field first.

Lock Tom Ryder also makes a comeback as his thigh injury clears up in time for the trip to Aironi. He is re-instated to the second-row and Rob Harley moves into the back-row as a result.

In addition to Glasgow's injury list it has been agreed that Scotland internationalists John Barclay, Richie Gray and Alastair Kellock will not feature in the club's four remaining Magners League matches. This decision has been made following discussion between the respective coaching and medical staffs of Glasgow Warriors and the Scotland national team.

Meanwhile, despite gaining their first win in Magners League last Saturday, the Aironi coaching staff have been forced to make two changes to the team.

Gareth Krause and Kaine Robertson, both try scorers against Connacht last week , haven't recovered from their injuries and are forced to sit out of the game.

Nicola Cattina and Giulio Toniolatti will take their places in the back row and on the wing.

There are no further changes to the starting team that faced Connacht but Italy internationals Salvatore Perugini and Quintin Geldenhuys are back in the matchday squad for the first time after Six Nations, but will both start in the replacements.

Form: Aironi finally gained their maiden Magners League victory at home to Connacht on Friday. The Italians have lost both previous games they have played against Scottish opponents. Glasgow Warriors only win their last eight Magners League matches was 25-17 at home to Treviso on 18 March. The Warriors have lost only once to an Italian side: 15-34 in Treviso in the Heineken Cup, September 1998. Glasgow won 33-8 when the two teams met in round eight.

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Giulio Rubini, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Gabriel Pizarro, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 James Marshall, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Jaco Erasmus, 21 Pablo Canavosio, 22 Gilberto Pavan, 23 Riccardo Bocchino.

Glasgow:15 Peter Murchie, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Federico Aramburu, 12 Graeme Morrison (c), 11 Alex Dunbar, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 Ryan Wilson, 6 Robert Harley, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Aly Muldowney, 3 Moray Low, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Kevin Tkachuk, 19 James Eddie, 20 Johnnie Beattie, 21 Colin Gregor, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Hefin O'Hare

Date: Saturday, April 2
Venue: Stadio Zaffenella
Kick-off: 15.30 ( 14.30 BST ; 13.30 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)

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