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Preview: Zebre v Glasgow

26th September 2013 11:28

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SKY_MOBILE Sean Maitland Scotland

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Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend has rung the changes for his side's clash with Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprille on Friday.

Captain Al Kellock is one of nine personnel switches and one positional shift, as he returns from opening-day injury to make his 150th Warriors appearance.

Sean Maitland makes his first appearance of the season at full-back in place of Stuart Hogg, while Argentine Gabirel Ascarte lines up at outside centre as Mark Bennett is rested.

Exciting Fijian scrum half Niko Matawalu is set to make his first outing of the season from the bench having recovered from a broken metatarsal sustained during pre-season.

Townsend has also opted to rest Chris Cusiter and Sean Lamont, with Henry Pyrgos and Byron McGuigan starting in their stead.

In the forwards, loosehead Ryan Grant and hooker Pat MacArthur are replaced by Gordon Reid and Dougie Hall respectively.

The only positional switch sees Robert Harley move from blindside flanker to second row alongside Kellock, with the abrasive James Eddie taking his place in the back row. This means Josh Strauss moves to number eight, and Richie Vernon drop to the bench.

Townsend's men are currently top of the Pro12 with three wins from three, and have yet to concede a try. The coach has the Italian outfit firmly in his sights, and despite the changes, has named a high-calibre line-up.

"Beating Leinster last Friday was a fantastic result for the club, but our focus is now on backing that up with a win against Zebre tomorrow night," said Townsend.

"They are a very difficult team to play against and after winning their first game in the league last week they will be full of confidence. We have selected a strong squad and we've been pleased with the intensity in training this week.

"Our players are acutely aware of the improvement Zebre have made since they entered the competition last season and how we must limit any opportunities they have to attack.

"We're delighted to have Al (Kellock) and Niko (Matawalu) back after their injuries and we also welcome back Sean Maitland after his involvement with the British and Irish Lions."

Meanwhile, Zebre come into the game on the back of a morale-boosting win at Cardiff Blues.

However, they will be without Italian international second-row Quintin Geldenhuys and flanker Filippo Ferrarini, who are ruled out after suffering an injury at the Arms Park.

Fijian centre Ratuvou will be back in action after missing last week.

George Biagi will earn his first competitive start in the RaboDirect PRO12 while on the bench Carlo Fazzari and Filippo Cristiano could earn their first cap of the season.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 David Odiete, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (capt), 4 George Biagi, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Carlo Fazzari, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Tommaso Ioannone, 23 Giovanbattista Venditti.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Gabriel Ascarte, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 James Eddie, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Robert Harley, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Moray Low, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Richie Vernon, 22 Niko Matawalu, 23 Scott Wight.

Date: Friday, September 27
Venue: Stadio XXV Aprille
Kick-off: 19:30 local, (18:30 BST, 17:30 GMT)
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy), Fabrizio Bertelli (Italy)
Television match official: Alan Falzone (Italy)
Citing Commissioner: Marco Cordelli (Italy)

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