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Preview: Zebre v Glasgow

08th February 2013 09:13

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Rory Lamont Scotland RWC 2011

Starting: Rory Lamont

Glasgow will be led by Ryan Wilson as the PRO12 gets back underway with an Italian job in Parma waiting for coach Gregor Townsend's side.

The Warriors travel to face Zebre this Sunday with an experienced starting line-up as they seek to consolidate second place in the PRO12 division.

Wilson is joined by seven others from the Scotland A squad who beat the England Saxons south of the border for the first time.

Rory Lamont also returns, a year after suffering a serious leg injury while on duty for Scotland.

"Obviously a lot of our players are involved with the Scotland set-up but the strength of the side we are able to field is a testament to the quality of players we have at the club," said Townsend.

"Any game away in Italy is a real challenge and we have to make sure that we are sharp and ready for Zebre. Last week we focused on skill work, games and fitness at training, while this week has been focused on preparing to win on our return to competitive rugby.

"We have had to look at providing cover at hooker with all four of our contracted hookers currently unavailable, so Kevin Bryce, Fraser and Gerwyn have been with us this week competing for selection. Having Jon, Ed and Ofa back really strengthens our front row options alongside Gordon Reid, who has been in excellent form in recent weeks."

The Warriors have also been boosted by the news that Tongan prop Ofa Fainga'anuku has extended his stay in Scotland with a contract extension until the end of the season, subject to a work permit.

The loosehead has established himself as a favourite at Scotstoun with his hard-hitting approach around the breakdown and his work ethic in training.

Tom Ryder and Tim Swinson form a familiar second row pairing for the PRO12 clash while skipper Wilson is joined in a strong back-row trio by Josh Strauss and John Barclay, who has recovered from the hamstring injury suffered away at Castres at the start of December.

Niko Matawalu teams up with Scott Wight at half-back with Graeme Morrison forming a midfield partnership with Alex Dunbar who has passed his return to play protocols following a head knock while on duty with Scotland A.

There is threat and pace on the wings with Byron McGuigan being given the chance to start on the wing with Rory Lamont making a welcome return from injury on the right wing.

Peter Murchie completes the line up at full-back after being with the Scotland squad at Twickenham last weekend.

Meanwhile, Zebre are missing Italy fly-half Luciano Orquera so Daniel Halangahu starts.

Also missing due to international call-ups for the Six Nations are wing Giovanbattista Venditti, centre Gonzalo Garcia, prop Davide Giazzon and second-row Quintin Geldenhuys.

Form: Zebre gained a first ever European Cup point last time out in losing 20-25 to Connacht in Galway. The new franchise have just six league points in the RaboDirect PRO12 this season - five losing bonus points and one try bonus gained against table topping Ulster in Parma in the rearranged round four match. Glasgow Warriors have won their last three PRO12 fixtures and have been victorious in their last half a dozen games against Italian opponents since losing 13-15 to Treviso at Firhill on 23 September 2011. The Warriors' only reversal in Italy since 1998 remains the 16-19 defeat in Treviso on 16 April 2011. Glasgow won the round five encounter with Zebre, 22-19, at Scotstoun.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Tito Tebaldi, 14 Andrea Bacchetti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Alessandro Castagnoli, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco (capt), 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 Josh Sole, 4 Michael van Vuren, 3 David Ryan, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Marco Bortolami, 20 Emiliano Caffini, 21 Filippo Ferrarini, 22 Alberto Chiesa, 23 Alberto Benettin.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Rory Lamont, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Scott Wight, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Ryan Wilson (capt), 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Gerwyn Price, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Ed Kalman, 18 Ofa Fainga'anuku, 19 Nick Campbell, 20 James Eddie, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Fraser Thomson.

Date: Sunday, February 10
Kick-off: 15:05 local (14:05 GMT)
Venue: Stadio XXV Aprile
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini, Stefano Marrama
Citing commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (FIR)
TMO: Mauro Dordolo (FIR)

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