Need to Know: Zebre v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 6.30 at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Friday 8th April
Live on Rai Sport 2 in Italy but no TV coverage in the UK

The Italian Job – seconda parte
Coach Gregor Townsend makes use of the 35 man squad he took to Italy for the Pro 12 double header with 9 changes from the Treviso game – Djustice Sears-Duru, Shalva Mamukashvili and Jarrod Firth being the only ones to miss out on seeing action. This will be just the second league match this season that the 23 has not contained at least one academy player. The Warriors name their most experienced bench of the campaign – the subs boasting a combined 434 previous appearances for the club (compare and contrast to the bench for the opening day of the season who totalled 8 prior games for Glasgow!)


15 Kayle Van Zyl
14 Dion Berryman
13 Matteo Pratichetti
12 Gonzalo Garcia
11 Leonardo Sarto
10 Carlo Canna
9 Guglielmo Palazzani
15 Glenn Bryce
14 Taqele Naiyarovoro
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 Tommy Seymour
10 Duncan Weir
9 Ali Price

1 Andrea Lovotti
2 Oliviero Fabiani
3 Dario Chistolini
4 Quintin Geldenhuys
5 Marco Bortolami (c)
6 Emiliano Caffini
7 Federico Ruzza
8 Gideon Koegelenberg

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Leone Nakarawa
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Rob Harley
7 Simone Favaro
8 Ryan Wilson

16 Bruno Postiglioni
17 Andrea De Marchi
18 Pietro Ceccarelli
19 Valerio Bernabo
20 Filippo Cristiano
21 Luke Burgess
22 Giulio Bisegni
23 Ulrich Beyers

16 Pat MacArthur
17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Greg Peterson
20 Adam Ashe
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Finn Russell
23 Mark Bennett

Once Were Warriors:
It’s less Once Were Warriors this week and more Soon Will Be Warriors with Leonardo Sarto getting the chance to get up close and personal with his team-mates for next season. He forms part of a dangerous Zebre back 3 with plenty of pace and he will no doubt be keen to show what he is capable of.

Matchday Milestones:
The congratulations this week go to Pat MacArthur who returns from injury and (when he comes off the bench) will make his 100th career Pro 12 appearance.

Warriors One to Watch:
Tempting as it is to double down on Taqele Naiyarovoro (after a relatively quiet game last week) or look at Duncan Weir (who is on a hat-trick after winning the MotM award in his last 2 appearances) the One to Watch this week is a player whose work isn’t likely to fit the profile that wins awards but who plays a key role for Glasgow – Sila Puafisi. This will be the 20th match in a row for Sila and no player has been selected for more consecutive games by coach Gregor Townsend. The big man from Tonga has been the cornerstone of a Warriors’ scrum that has improved almost beyond recognition over the past 5 or 6 months. Zebre’s pack will provide a good test in the setpiece as the Glasgow forwards continue to step up towards playoff intensity.

Head to Head:
Back 3 – ADV Glasgow
Centres – ADV Glasgow
Half Backs – EVEN
Front Row – EVEN
Second Row – ADV Glasgow
Back Row – ADV Glasgow
Subs – ADV Glasgow
Almost identical to last week and the team’s preparation is likely to have been very similar – although they may hope to get out in front of their hosts earlier than in the game against Treviso…

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Zebre:

  • 6 wins, 0 losses. 4 Try BPs. 28 points out of a possible 30 (93%)
  • No side have yielded a higher percentage of points for Gregor Townsend’s men.
  • Toony’s sides have taken more points from Treviso, Connacht and the Blues – but this is because it’s taken until this stage of the season for them to face off against Zebre. Having waited over 6 months to face the men from Parma the Warriors will renew rivalries just 3 weeks after this match in the return fixture at Scotstoun.

Last season’s match-up:

The number of Warriors starters who also started last year’s match – and neither of them in the same position (Pete Horne and Leone Nakarawa). Due to a combination of player turnover, injuries and the timing of the fixture (last year was during the 6 Nations window) it will be a very different team that takes to the field in black and blue..

Clean breaks by Glasgow – the most in any game last season. In fact this was more than double the number of CBs in any game last season as the fixture at times appeared to be ‘tackling optional’! The Warriors can expect a more physical examination on Friday with a much stronger side also on show for the home team.

Metres run with the ball by Peter Murchie – the team high on the day. 100m+ games are not that common. However against Zebre DTH van der Merwe also made the ton and Pete Horne and Niko Matawalu were only 7m and 12m short respectively despite being subbed off early – and would undoubtedly have joined Pete and DTH if they’d stayed on. There are a number of dangerous backs in the Glasgow team who will be hoping the side can run riot in similar fashion this year.

Home and Away:
Victory against Treviso was just the 3rd away win in the league for Glasgow in 2015/16. Zebre have already beaten Scottish opposition once this season on their own patch – denying Edinburgh even a losing BP back in October. They’ve also accounted for the Blues and Treviso at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi and will be glad to get back to home comforts after losing 3 on the bounce on the road without scoring a single point.

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 45th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Matteo Liperini, Filippo Bertelli (both FIR)
Citing Commissioner: Marco Cordelli (FIR)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (FIR)

This will be the 8th time that Mr. Davies has refereed the Warriors in the last 3 seasons. Up until the current campaign Glasgow had seemed to be able to stay on his good side ‘winning’ the crime count 4 times out of 5. This season in games against Connacht and Leinster the Welsh whistler wasn’t impressed with, variously, Toony’s mens’ scrummaging, tackling and knocking the ball into touch. Fagerson, MacArthur and Naiyaravoro have all seen yellow at the hands of Mr. Davies in 2015/16 and it’s important the Warriors don’t add to that total and put themselves under pressure on Friday.

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