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Preview: Glasgow v Zebre

26th September 2012 10:48

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Warriors: Chasing a hat-trick of wins

Glasgow Warriors are gunning for their second home PRO12 victory in seven days when they face Zebre at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday.

Gregor Townsend's men secured a first success in their great new home last week, claiming a bonus-point win over Connacht, and are now looking for their third straight tournament victory.

New signing Josh Strauss will start Friday's match at number eight, with Fiji scrum-half Niko Matawalu and Tonga prop Ofa Fainga'anuku in line to make their Warriors debuts from the bench.

In all, there are 13 changes to the starting XV that ran out against Connacht, with Scotland international Stuart Hogg named among the replacements having made a prompt recovery from his recent ankle injury.

Young backs Byron McGuigan, part of the Scotland 7s squad last season, and Scottish Rugby Elite Development players Fraser Thomson and Sean Kennedy will be making their first competitive starts.

Up front, former All Black back-rower Angus Macdonald will make his first start for the Warriors at blindside flanker, with the team set to be captained by inspirational openside Chris Fusaro.

"First and foremost, we've picked a team that we strongly believe has the right attributes to win Friday's game against Zebre," said Townsend.

"We're fortunate this season to have such a good amount of strength in depth, and the players we've brought in this week have all been chomping at the bit to get out there and prove they're worthy of regular selection.

"Our aim is to be competing at the business end of both the RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup season, and as such we have to manage the workload of our players while maintaining a high level of consistency on the pitch regardless of the team we send out.

"We have a lot of faith in the side that will take the field on Friday, both individually and collectively. We're excited to see them in action in what will be another extremely tough test for us."

Meanwhile, two players will make their RaboDirect PRO12 debut for Zebre on Friday as right wing Leonardo Sarto and lock Michael Van Vuren both start for Christian Gajan's side.

Among the backs former Waratahs inside centre Daniel Halangahu moves to full-back, leaving space for the return of Gonzalo Garcia, who is alongside Matteo Pratichetti.

Giovanbattista Venditti is rested this week so Sinoti Sinoti is named on the wing. Further forward, the half-back pairing will be Alberto Chillon (scrum-half) and Luciano Orquera (fly-half).

Matteo is at loosehead, Davide Giazzon will be hooking while Luca Redolfini is at tighthead prop. In the second-row, international Quintin Geldenhuys is joined by Van Vuren while the back-row sees Mauro Bergamasco joined by Filippo Cristiano and Andries van Schalkwyk.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Fraser Thomson, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Byron McGuigan, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro (c), 6 Angus Macdonald, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Finlay Gillies, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Ofa Fainga'anuku, 18 Moray Low, 19 James Eddie, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Stuart Hogg.

Zebre: 15 Daniel Halangahu, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia (capt), 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 Michael Van Vuren, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Luca Redolfini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Mancini, 17 Carlo Fazzari, 18 Andrea De Marchi, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Nicola Belardo, 21 Luca Martinelli, 22 Paolo Buso, 23 Samuele Pace.

Date: Friday, 28 September
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Cammy Rudkin (Scotland), Archie McInally (Scotland)
Television match official: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
Assessor: Andy Clift (Scotland)

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