Preview: Glasgow v Zebre

Date published: April 13 2017

Leonardo Sarto will return from injury to face his former club as Glasgow Warriors take on Zebre in the PRO12 this Friday at Scotstoun.

The Italian international winger has not played for the Warriors since October following shoulder surgery, his last game coming in a man-of-the-match performance against Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup.

Sarto has scored three tries in six appearances for Glasgow following his move from Parma last summer and he starts in the back three alongside Rory Hughes and Peter Murchie.

Sam Johnson also returns from injury to start, partnering Nick Grigg in the centres after over a month on the sidelines.

Henry Pyrgos will captain the side at scrum-half with Peter Horne shifting to stand-off to complete the backline.

18-year-old Matt Fagerson starts at number eight, joined in the back-row by the experienced heads of Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro.

Scott Cummings and Greg Peterson combine in the engine room behind a front-row of Alex Allan, Pat MacArthur and D’arcy Rae.

On the bench hooker Cammy Fenton could make his first appearance at Scotstoun and first of the season, while Sean Lamont will look to make an impact following the announcement that he will retire from rugby at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Zebre will be looking to make it three wins on the bounce when they take on the Warriors.

Following recent wins over Connacht and the Dragons, the Italian side enter in good spirits but do make several changes, with Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Castello, Mattia Bellini, Serafin Bordoli and Carlo Engelbrecht coming into the backline.

Guillermo Roan, Oliviero Fabiani and Bruno Postiglioni form a new-look front-row, Valerio Bernabò comes in at lock while Maxime Mbandà is on the flank for the difficult fixture.

Form: Glasgow's last five matches in the Guinness PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Scotsmen’s record at Scotstoun in the Championship this season is won five, lost four. Warriors have not been defeated by an Italian side since Treviso visited Firhill in September 2011. Zebre have won their last two matches in the Guinness PRO12 to move ahead of Treviso in the Italian qualification spot for Europe for the first time since early December. They have never won three successive matches in the tournament. Zebre’s four previous victories over a Scottish opponent have all been against Edinburgh. Glasgow have won all nine previous matches between the two sides, the last six with maximum points.

The teams:

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Henry Pyrgos (c), 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 D’arcy Rae, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Alex Allan
Replacements: 16 Cammy Fenton, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Sila Puafisi, 19 Brian Alainu’uese, 20 Lewis Wynne, 21 Matt Smith, 22 George Horne, 23 Sean Lamont

Zebre: 15 Guglielmo Palazzani, 14 Kayle Van Zyl, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Serafin Bordoli, 9 Carlo Engelbrecht, 8 Federico Ruzza, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 Valerio Bernabò (c), 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Guillermo Roan, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Bruno Postiglioni
Replacements: 16 Sidney Tobias, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Jacopo Sarto, 21 Marcello Violi, 22 Kurt Baker, 23 Matteo Pratichetti

Date: Friday, April 14
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Kick-off: 19:35 local (18:35 GMT)
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell (Ireland), Cammy Rudkin (Scotland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)