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Preview: Aironi v Glasgow Warriors

03rd November 2011 15:51

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Al Kellock

Al Kellock: Recovered from injury

Glasgow go on the trail of their fourth straight RaboDirect PRO12 win and a further pre-Heineken Cup lift when they travel to face Aironi on Saturday.

Sean Lineen's men went through October with a 100 per cent record, beating Cardiff Blues away before home successes over the Dragons and Ospreys.

They head to the Stadio Luigi Zaffanella looking for a repeat of the victory they recorded there back in April, when tries from Ryan Grant and Peter Murchie saw the Warriors edge a close affair 17-16.

That was Glasgow's only league success on the road last season, and with Aironi's Italian counterparts Treviso having won at Firhill six weeks ago, head coach Lineen knows it will take another "massive performance" for his troops to continue their fine recent run.

"It's another huge game for us this weekend, and in terms of intensity, appetite and execution, we're going to need to be exactly where we were against Ospreys to get a further win," he said.

"We were pretty fortunate to come away with four points the last time we played Aironi on their home patch, and this time round we're expecting another stern examination.

"The focus all week has been on making sure we meet that challenge head on and give our fans another big result ahead of the Bath game next weekend."

In order to give as many players as possible an opportunity to stake a claim for selection in the Heineken Cup opener, Lineen has shuffled his pack this week, with only four members of the starting line-up from the Ospreys game also due to run out in Lombardy.

The matchday 23 does, however, boast six players who represented Scotland at the recent Rugby World Cup, and a further two, Grant and Johnnie Beattie, who were involved in the wider pre-tournament squad.

Captain Al Kellock has recovered from the calf complaint that saw him forced to withdraw from the Ospreys match on the day of the game and so starts alongside Richie Gray in the second row.

Elsewhere in the Glasgow team, Grant - who missed last Friday's win with a sore knee - returns in an all-new front row where Dougie Hall and Ed Kalman also feature.

It's all change in the back row, too, as James Eddie, John Barclay and Beattie replace Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro and Ryan Wilson.

Behind the scrum, Chris Cusiter again teams up with Duncan Weir, who has kicked 47 points in his last two outings. Ruaridh Jackson is still to recover fully from the hamstring injury he suffered against England at the Rugby World Cup.

In the centres, Alex Dunbar makes his first start of the season outside summer signing Troy Nathan, Federico Aramburu comes in for Colin Shaw and Murchie enjoys his first outing of the campaign at full-back, having recovered from a shoulder complaint.

Meanwhile, Aironi coach Rowland Phillips made six changes to his starting XV.

In the backs, Italian internationals Giulio Toniolatti and Matteo Pratichetti take a spot on the wing and at inside centre.

Aironi also have a new half-back pairing for this encounter. Tito Tebaldi and Naas Olivier are back as starters and replace Tyson Keats and Luciano Orquera, who are relegated to the bench.

In the pack, Nick Williams returns to wear the number eight jersey, with Simone Favaro and Nicola Cattina confirmed as flankers.

The last change is in the second row, where Quintin Geldenhuys pairs up with captain Marco Bortolami.

The front row is the same from their clash against Munster last week, with Fabio Staibano and Matias Aguero the props and Fabio Ongaro at hooker.

"Glasgow comes from a great win against the Ospreys, while we played a very good game in Cork against Munster", says Ongaro.

Form: Aironi have slipped to three straight defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12 since their 25-19 victory over Edinburgh at Stadio Zaffanella on 24 September - their only previous victory against a Scottish opponent. Glasgow Warriors have won their last three matches in the tournament but have not won four in a row in thecompetition since the tail end of the 2009/10 season. The Warriors have lost their last two matches against Italian opposition. Glasgow won both encounters with Aironi last season but the match in Italy was by the narrowest of margins, 17-16.

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Josh Sole, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Gabriel Pizarro. All.: Rowland Phillips.

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Federico Aramburu, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 James Eddie, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Richie Gray, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 Rob Verbakel, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Graeme Morrison, 23 Stuart Hogg.

Date: Saturday, November 5
Venue: Stadio Luigi Zaffanella
Kick-off: 14:30 (13:30 GMT)
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), Stefano Roscini (Italy)

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