Need to Know: Zebre v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 4.05 at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Saturday 8th October 2016
No live TV coverage but highlights should be available

Team talk
6 months to the day since they were last in Parma, Glasgow are back again to take on Zebre. It will be a fairly raw Warriors’ team that takes on their Italian hosts – 8 of the side have less than 10 previous appearances for the club. Gregor Townsend can still call on 15 capped internationals – although this is the fewest so far this season and unusually the opposition on this occasion can actually boast more Test players (18) than the Warriors.

Teams

ZEBRE
15 Edoardo Padovani
14 Lloyd Greeff
13 Giulio Bisegni
12 Tommaso Castello
11 Giovanbattista Venditti
10 Carlo Canna
9 Guglielmo Palazzani
GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Peter Murchie
14 Sean Lamont
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 Lee Jones
10 Rory Clegg
9 Ali Price

1 Andrea Lovotti
2 Oliviero Fabiani
3 Pietro Ceccarelli
4 Joshua Furno
5 George Biagi (c)
6 Maxime Mbanda
7 Johan Meyer
8 Andries Van Scalkwyk

1 Gordon Reid
2 Corey Flynn
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Robert Harley
5 Robert McAlpine
6 Josh Strauss
7 Fraser Brown
8 Ryan Wilson (c)

16 Carlo Festuccia
17 Bruno Postiglioni
18 Dario Chistolini
19 Quintin Geldenhuys
20 Federico Ruzza
21 Marcello violi
22 Tomasso Boni
23 Kayle Van Zyl

16 James Malcolm
17 Djustice Sears-Duru
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Callum Hunter-Hill
20 Matt Fagerson
21 Grayson Hart
22 Stuart Hogg
23 Leonardo Sarto

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

Glasgow Greetings:
Callum Hunter-Hill is in line to make his Warriors’ debut – he will be the 28th player to do so in the last 13 months. It’s a first start for Rob McAlpine in the boiler room and last season’s (Unofficial) Newcomer of the Year James Malcolm is in the 23 for the first time in this campaign.

Once A Warrior:
It’s not Once A Warrior this week but rather Once A Zebra as Leonardo Sarto will come off the bench to take on his old side for the first time since his move in the summer. Leo has put up some good offensive stats so far (although 2 yellow cards have held him back!) but now he’ll be looking to get his first try on the board for Glasgow – and having scored against his new club there 6 months ago what better place to start than the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi?

Warriors One to Watch:
Sam Johnson will make his third start of the season in the 12 shirt and his partnership with Nick Grigg will be crucial to Glasgow’s attacking platform. The 2 centres warmed up for this match by playing together for Stirling County against Melrose at the Greenyards last week – Saturday in Parma will be a step up in intensity.

Sam could still be eligible for Scotland in the future (he played for Australia Schoolboys ‘A’ not Australia ‘A’ as a misinformed Sky commentator stated during the Warriors season opener) and his attacking skills certainly show some potential for further progression. Like many Ozzie rugby players he also tried his hand at League and his ability to pick good lines and angles of running is reminiscent of Alan Tait. His offloading skills should also be to the fore as Glasgow try to break down what will no doubt be a highly structured Zebre defence.

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Zebre:

  • 8 wins, 0 losses. 6 Try BPs. 38 points out of a possible 40 (95%)
  • No side have yielded a higher percentage of points for Gregor Townsend’s men.
  • Glasgow’s strong record against Zebre makes it imperative that they pick up another win – consistency in games like these has been the foundation of the top 4 placings in recent years.

Last season’s match-up:

7
Defenders beaten by Taqele Naiyaravoro. The big man had his critics but route one was a speciality, knocking defenders out of the way – including nearly sending Palazzani into orbit when he scored his try. Sean Lamont has shown a nice line in a Samoan Sidestep in the past (just ask Tom Brown) and it’s more than likely that Glasgow will try to use him to overpower the Zebre defence out wide.

9
Total number of penalties in the match. Ian Davies was the man in the middle and displayed the sort of laissez faire attitude to game management that seems to be expected of experienced match officials these days. With a fairly callow referee taking charge this time out both teams should expect the crime count to be higher.

68
Carries by Zebre – one of the lowest totals of the season from Glasgow’s opponents. Despite having little ball and not really being able to string the phases together when they did the home side were still able to score 2 tries and take a 14-7 lead in to half time. Defence coach Matt Taylor will expect better from his charges on Saturday afternoon.

Home and Away:
Zebre last 5 (H) – L L L W L
Glasgow last 5 (A) – L L W L W

Officials:
Referee: Lloyd Linton (SRU, 14th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Cammy Rudkin (SRU), Andrea Spadoni (FIR)
Citing Commissioner: Roberto Carra (FIR)

Lloyd Linton is a Warriors’ virgin having never previously taken charge of a match involving the men in black and blue. In fact it’s almost 3 years since Glasgow had a referee from the SRU (Neil Paterson for the away leg of the 1872 Cup in December 2013 trivia fans). Mr. Linton has brandished 7 yellow cards in his last 6 Pro 12 matches so given both sides predilection for sin bins it will be a surprise if there isn’t at least one trip to the naughty step. The lack of a home broadcaster means no TMO for this match – which should at least allow the game to be finished in less than the 2 hours it took for the Warriors’ match against Leinster to be completed a few weeks back!

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