Need to Know: Glasgow v Zebre Match Preview

KO 7.35 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 29th April
Live on BBC ALBA

Team Talk
After three straight away fixtures and more than a month’s absence it’s home sweet home again for the Warriors at Scotstoun where they have won 27 out of their last 28 games. Gregor Townsend tweaks his line-up to rest Hogg, Gray and Strauss but can still call on a very strong, very experienced side. Five of the Glasgow starting XV will leave the club at the end of the season. The Warriors’ faithful will have the opportunity to thank these players for their contributions to the club (along with the other departees who will hopefully be in and around the stadium).

Teams

GLASGOW
15 Glenn Bryce
14 T Naiyaravoro
13 Mark Bennett
12 Alex Dunbar
11 Sean Lamont
10 Duncan Weir
9 Grayson Hart
ZEBRE
15 Ulrich Beyers
14 Giulio Toniolatti
13 Tomasso Boni
12 Gonzalo Garcia
11 Kayle Van Zyl
10 Carlo Canna
9 Luke Burgess

1 J Yanuyanutawa
2 Pat MacArthur
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Greg Peterson
5 Leone Nakarawa
6 Rob Harley (c)
7 Simone Favaro
8 Adam Ashe

1 Andrea De Marchi
2 Oliviero Fabiani
3 Dario Chistolini
4 Quintin Geldenhuys
5 Marco Bortolami (c)
6 Emiliano Caffini
7 Filippo Cristiano
8 Federico Ruzza

16 Fraser Brown
17 Gordon Reid
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Tim Swinson
20 Ryan Wilson
21 Ali Price
22 Finn Russell
23 Tommy Seymour

16 Bruno Postiglioni
17 Emiliano Coria
18 Pietro Ceccarelli
19 Gideon Koegelenberg
20 Dries van Schalkwyk
21 Guglielmo Palazanni
22 Giulio Bisegni
23 Kelly Haimona

Matchday Trivia:
This will be the first time Pat MacArthur has played at Scotstoun since 21st November 2015 – his 7 appearances since then all coming on far flung foreign fields! D’arcy Rae will make his first appearance at home in his 7th game for the club. Gordon Reid turns out for the Warriors for the 90th time and is well on his way to becoming a Centurion next season.

Warriors One to Watch:
It’s been a big week for player departures. After announcing his retirement club stalwart James Eddie will be presenting the match ball – get into the ground early folks so we can give Jedi the huge ovation he deserves! It’s another leaver who is this week’s One To Watch though – Leone Nakarawa has developed into one of the finest locks in the world which is why he will head for the bright lights of Paris to play for Champions’ Cup finalists Racing Metro next season. The big man’s offloading game garners the headlines but, when you get a chance on Friday, savour his athleticism at the lineout; his work-rate in attack (he’s carried the ball over 60 times more than any other Warrior); his turnover threat at the breakdown; his ability to beat defenders (more than anyone else in the squad bar Mr. T); and (hopefully) his ability to create and/or finish off tries. With Jerry Yanuyanutawa and Taqele Naiyaravoro also leaving it looks like it is the end of the Fijiweegie era so we say ‘vinaka vaka levu’ to Leone, Jerry, Taqele (and Niko) for the entertainment and success they brought over the past four years.

Head to Head:
Back 3 – ADV Glasgow
Centres – ADV Glasgow
Half Backs – EVEN
Front Row – ADV Zebre
Second Row – ADV Glasgow
Back Row – ADV Glasgow
Subs – ADV Glasgow

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Zebre:

  • 7 wins, 0 losses. 5 Try BPs. 33 points (94%)
  • It’s only been 3 weeks since the 2 sides met in Italy with the Warriors earning yet another try bonus. If there is any hint of complacency in the dressing room though Gregor Townsend will just need to remind his side that they were behind at half-time in that most recent fixture and only a win guarantees progression to the playoffs…

Last season’s match-up:

0
Points scored by Warriors after half-time. It will be Important for the side to get the job done early on Friday because Zebre in Glasgow means a guaranteed torrential downpour in the second 40 minutes!

5
Yellow cards brandished by referee Ian Davies – 2 to Glasgow (including Glenn Bryce 2 minutes after he came on!) and 3 to Zebre. There was a bit of a loose feel to the match and with the sides also sharing 28 penalties the whole 80 minutes was a little disjointed. Gregor Townsend will be looking for a bit more precision this time out in order to control the game and minimise the impact Zebre can have on Glasgow’s play.

7
Defenders beaten by Niko Matawalu. These were the kinds of games where Niko could just tear it up for fun. There may not be anyone quite like the mercurial scrum half to take over this game but the Warriors have an outstanding backline and it will be interesting to see who drives forward the attack this time out.

Home and Away:
Glasgow last 5 (H) – L W W W W
Zebre last 5 (A) – W L L L L
Zebre haven’t scored a point in a league match outside Italy since 29th November 2015.

Officials:
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU, 11th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Graeme Wells, Bob Nevins (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Paul Minto (SRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)

There will be one debut on Friday night as lucky Mr. Brace gets to take charge of a Warriors match for the very first time. He’ll also get to experience that warm, welcoming, hospitable atmosphere that is so often extended to match officials at Scotstoun…The Irish whistler is the Pro 12’s very own Mr. Average when it comes to sin bins – the various referees combined have issued 1.0 cards per match in the league this season which is identical to Mr. Brace’s ratio after 10 yellows in 10 games.

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