Preview: Glasgow v Aironi

22nd Mar 2012, 12:42

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At full-back for Aironi: Tito Tebaldi

At full-back for Aironi: Tito Tebaldi

Glasgow will look to take another step towards the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs when they face Aironi at Firhill on Friday.

Glasgow will look to take another step towards the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs when they face Aironi at Firhill on Friday.

The game is the first part of a vital home double header, which also sees Cardiff Blues visit Glasgow next Friday.

Having claimed a compelling victory on the road at Ospreys in their last outing, the Warriors currently occupy the last of the four play-off positions as they prepare for the final five regular season games.

Sean Lineen's men won the first clash with Aironi 18-6 in Viadana last November, while reigning European champions Leinster are the only team to take points off them at Firhill in the Pro12 since last September.

Overall, the Warriors have lost only one of their last 13 matches in the competition, but a cautionary tale is provided by the memory of the 15-13 loss they suffered in their previous home tussle with an Italian side, Benetton Treviso.

"We've worked hard to put ourselves in a competitive position at what is now very much the business end of the season," Lineen told the Glasgow Warriors website.

"We have to make the most of the opportunity that's in front of us by continuing to show the character, appetite and fantastic team ethic that have got us to this point.

"[Aironi] are coming off a great result against Munster, which underlines what a genuine threat they are."

With a number of the club's Scotland contingent on a recovery week, Lineen's starting line-up for the game shows four changes from that which ran out at the Liberty Stadium.

In the backs, Tommy Seymour comes in on the wing in place of Colin Shaw, who sustained a jaw injury in the Ospreys game after scoring a crucial try. Fly-half Duncan Weir, meanwhile, gets the chance to regain pole position in the tournament's points scorer table - he currently trails Ospreys' Dan Biggar by four.

The two switches in the pack see Nick Campbell step in for Al Kellock in the boiler house, while Mike Cusack makes a welcome return in the front row. The tight-head prop, an integral part of the Warriors pack, hasn't featured for the club since injuring an ankle in the New Year's Day derby win over Edinburgh Rugby.

The Aironi game holds extra significance for three other front-rowers. Hooker Dougie Hall will captain Glasgow for the first time, Ryan Grant notches up his 50th RaboDirect PRO12 appearance, and Moray Low returns to the fray for the first time since sustaining a knee injury against Scarlets in January.

Low signed a two-year contract extension on Thursday, tying him to the Warriors until at least the end of May 2014.

Meanwhile, Aironi coach Rowland Phillips still faces a lot of injuries but the starting XV is built on the solid base that brought victory against Munster proved two weeks ago.

Tito Tebaldi will play again at full-back, with Giulio Toniolatti and Sinoti Sinoti on the wings.

There are no changes in the half-backs. Luciano Orquera will play at fly-half and with 7 more points he could become the first Aironi player to score 100 points in all the competitions. Tyson Keats - Man of the match against Munster - is the scrum-half.

In the back row, Mauro Bergamasco is back after a three-week suspension.

In the second row, George Biagi will play alongside Carlo Del Fava, who skippers the team in place of injured Santamaria.

Form: Glasgow Warriors have lost only one of their last 13 RaboDirect PRO12 encounters: 14-16 at Scarlets on 7 January - a run which has included four drawn matches. The Warriors lost their only other game this season against an Italian side at Firhill: 13-15 to Benetton Treviso on 23 September. Aironi gained a fourth win of the season last time out, at home to Munster, but have never won successive matches in the franchise's history. Aironi are still awaiting that elusive first ever away victory. Aironi's only previous win over a Scottish side was 25-19 at home to Edinburgh on 24 September 2011.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Federico Aramburu, 11 David Lemi, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Calum Forrester, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Nick Campbell, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall (c), 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Moray Low, 19 Rob Verbakel, 20 Johnnie Beattie, 21 Murray McConnell, 22 Scott Wight, 23 Troy Nathan.

Aironi: 15 Tito Tebaldi, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Filippo Ferrarini, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Nicola Cattina, 5 Carlo Del Fava (cap), 4 George Biagi, 3 Lorenzo Romano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Antonio Denti, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Alberto Benettin.

Date: Friday, March 23
Venue: Firhill Stadium
Kick-off: 19.35 GMT
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)