Planet Rugby

Preview: Glasgow v Zebre

09th May 2014 12:46


Sean Lamont Glasgow 2012

Back in: Sean Lamont

Scotland internationals Sean Lamont and Alex Dunbar make their Glasgow comebacks on Saturday against Zebre at Scotstoun.

Lamont has been ruled out since Scotland's defeat to France in March and lines up on the right wing, while Dunbar last featured for Glasgow in their win over Munster at Thomond Park last month and starts at outside centre.

Following last week's win in Treviso, Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Niko Matawalu keeps his place on the left wing.

Dunbar forms a centre partnership with Peter Horne for the first time this season.

Scotland international Duncan Weir comes in at fly-half and Henry Pyrgos continues at scrum-half.

In the forwards Ryan Grant replaces last week's try-scorer Gordon Reid at loosehead, Pat MacArthur keeps his place at hooker and Moray Low starts ahead of Geoff Cross at tighthead.

Captain Al Kellock is reinstated to the second-row in place of Jonny Gray and he'll partner Tim Swinson in the engine room.

After featuring for Scotland 7s at the Glasgow 7s last weekend, James Eddie comes back in at blindside flanker in place of Rob Harley, Tyrone Holmes makes way for Chris Fusaro at openside and Leone Nakarawa plays his first game for the club at number eight, replacing Josh Strauss.

"We face a very tough game tomorrow night against an in-form Zebre side who have beaten the likes of Ospreys and Edinburgh in recent weeks," said head coach Gregor Townsend.

"Zebre are engaged in a battle with Treviso to represent Italy in the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup next season and having just climbed above their rivals in the league, they will be determined to stay there by beating us at Scotstoun.

"I was absolutely delighted with the quality of our performance at Treviso last weekend but in order to secure home advantage in the play-offs, for the very first time, we will have to make sure that we maintain our standards tomorrow night.

"In our last two home matches against Ulster and Edinburgh we have had record crowds, which shows how much our support has grown in recent years.

"We're hoping for another big crowd tomorrow night for what is a massive game for the club."

Meanwhile, Zebre name a pack filled with Italian experience, as skipper Marco Bortolami lines up in the second-row behind veteran loosehead Salvatore Perugini, and flanked by the ever-tenacious Mauro Bergamasco on the blindside.

Tommaso Iannone wins a start at fly-half, partnering Guglielmo Palazzani, while Dion Berryman continues on the left wing and adroit midfielder Gonzalo Garcia starts in the number 13 jersey.

Form: Glasgow Warriors have already qualified for the playoffs, but a win here could see them climb to number one seed.

Warriors have won their last seven PRO12 matches which equals their best ever run, set last season.

Glasgow have not lost to an Italian opponent since Treviso visited Firhill in September 2011.

Zebre currently hold the Italian qualification spot for the European Champions Cup next year and simply need to gain as many league points as Treviso do from their round 22 fixture to secure that spot, providing they maintain their match points difference.

Zebre have won their last two matches against Edinburgh and Ospreys, which is already a club record.

Glasgow have taken all their previous clashes with Zebre although the Italians did gain a losing bonus point in their fixture in Parma in Round 4.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Leone Nakarawa, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 James Eddie, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Moray Low, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Tyrone Holmes, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Lee Jones, 23 Peter Murchie

Zebre: 15 David Odiete, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Gonzalo Garcia, 12 Giovanbattista Venditti, 11 Dion Berryman, 10 Tommaso Iannone, 9 Guglielmo Palazzani, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzoni, 1 Salvatore Perugini
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Dave Ryan, 19 George Biagi, 20 Emiliano Caffini, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Filippo Ferrarini, 23 Filippo Cristiano

Date: Saturday 10th May
Venue: Scotstoun
Kick-off: 1830 BST
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ire)
Assistant referees: Neil Paterson, Graeme Marshall (both Sco)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Sco)

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