Need to Know: Glasgow v Zebre, Pro 12 Match Preview 2016/17

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 14th April
Live on BBC ALBA

With qualification for the playoffs only a theoretical, mathematical possibility, Gregor Townsend has taken the opportunity to rest some key men who are likely to have international tour duties this summer:

Gordon Reid
Fraser Brown
Jonny Gray
Ali Price
Finn Russell
Lee Jones
Tommy Seymour
Stuart Hogg

The name that stands out in that group is Lee Jones. Is this a hint that Toony is planning to reward the Selkirk speedster’s fine form with a call-up to the Scotland squad for the tour to Singapore / Australia / Fiji?

The 23 selected to face Zebre are an interesting mix of youth and experience with 7 Warrior Centurions and 4 Scottish Rugby Academy players (plus another 2, in the shape of Matt Smith and Lewis Wynne, who only ‘graduated’ midway through the current season).

15 Peter Murchie
14 Leonardo Sarto
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Peter Horne
9 Henry Pyrgos (c)
15 Guglielmo Palazanni
14 Kayle van Zyl
13 Giulio Bisegni
12 Tommaso Castello
11 Mattia Bellini
10 Serafin Bordoli
9 Carlo Engelbrecht

1 Alex Allan
2 Pat MacArthur
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Greg Peterson
5 Scott Cummings
6 Rob Harley
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Matt Fagerson

1 Bruno Postiglioni
2 Oliviero Fabiani
3 Guillermo Roan
4 Gideon Koegelenberg
5 Valerio Bernabo (c)
6 Maxime Mbanda
7 Johan Meyer
8 Federico Ruzza

16 Cameron Fenton
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Sila Puafisi
19 Brian Alainu’uese
20 Lewis Wynne
21 Matt Smith
22 George Horne
23 Sean Lamont

16 Sidney Tobias
17 Andre De Marchi
18 Pietro Ceccarelli
19 Derick Minnie
20 Jacopo Sarto
21 Marcello Violi
22 Kurt Baker
23 Matteo Pratichetti

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

Glasgow Greetings:
After coming off the bench against Munster last season, Cameron Fenton makes his first appearance of 2016/17, extending the Warriors’ record number of players used in a single campaign to 58.

It will be 6 months to the day since Leonardo Sarto last played for Glasgow and, as a double whammy to welcome him back, he gets to go up against both his former club and older brother Jacopo who is on the bench for Zebre.

Matchday Milestones:
Sean Lamont will feature in the 125th Pro 12 match of his career when he enters the fray. Rob Harley and Alex Allan will both be playing their 16th consecutive games for Glasgow – the longest current streaks in the squad. Bob has only sat out 3 fixtures in 2016/17 with Alex just behind having missed 4 matches.

Once A Warrior:
For the second season running this fixture will be a celebration of the players who are leaving (or in some cases have already left) Glasgow. It’s a simple fact of life in professional rugby but all the departing Warriors have made a contribution to the club and will remain honorary Weegies for life!

Already left:
Rory Clegg
Jarrod Firth
Ryan Grant
Langilangi Haupeakui
Brandon Thomson

Leaving at the end of the season:
Mark Bennett
Simone Favaro
Grayson Hart
Sean Lamont
Sila Puafisi
Gordon Reid
Djustice Sears-Duru
Josh Strauss

There are also another 9 players in the full time squad whose contract status has not yet been confirmed for next season. Will any of them be bidding a fond farewell to Scotstoun?
Brian Alainu’uese, Hugh Blake, Junior Bulumakau, Nemia Kenatale, Fraser Lyle, Peter Murchie, Ratu Tagive, Tjiuee Uanivi and Richie Vernon,

Warriors One to Watch:
It’s leavers night at Scotstoun, although between players who have already left and those on their holidays there may not be too many around to say goodbye to on Friday! 2 players who will definitely be there are Sila Puafisi and Sean Lamont. Sila has been a rock at tighthead as the Glasgow setpiece has improved dramatically over the past 2 seasons. He’s shown incredible resilience and consistency throughout his time with the club and has featured in 43 of the Warriors’ 50 fixtures since he first joined.

Sean is calling time on a remarkable career that has seen him become a Warrior Centurion in 2 spells across 14 years at Glasgow. He’s also scored 30 tries putting him 3rd all-time for the Warriors behind DTH van der Merwe (43) and Tommy Seymour (32). If Sean does bust out the blonde highlights and orange fingerless gloves for one last hurrah here’s hoping he gets Sila to join him!

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Zebre:

  • 9 wins, 0 losses. 7 Try BPs. 43 points (96%)
  • A win on Friday will match the club’s record of collecting 47 points against Treviso. A BP win would mean Zebre had given up the most points of any Pro 12 side in the last 5 years.

Last season’s match-up:

Tries scored by players who were leaving the club – Leone Nakarawa 3, Glenn Bryce 2, Duncan Weir. Jerry Yanuyanutawa was the only one of the leavers not to get on the scoreboard – and it wasn’t for want of trying! Those fond of a flutter might like to consider Sila Puafisi and Sean Lamont on the anytime tryscorer market given the extra motivation they will have and the level of sentiment going in their favour.

Number of tries scored by Glasgow in their matches against Zebre by the end of the game. Fraser Brown scored the club’s 50th against the Italians earlier this season and Gregor Townsend’s men need to score 6 in this fixture to maintain their average. The win is the most important thing but with over 7,000 fans turning out it would be good to see a dominant performance from the Warriors to get Scotstoun rocking.

Metres gained by Glasgow with ball in hand. Zebre only managed 235m. Just to illustrate that it’s not enough to dominate the ground gained stat, a week later Glasgow put up similar numbers against Connacht (605m to 245m) but came away on the wrong end of a 14-7 loss. Line breaks and defensive lapses have to be converted into points to ensure the win.

Home and Away:
Glasgow last 6 in the Pro 12 (H) – L L W L W W
Zebre last 6 in the Pro 12 (A) – W L L L L L
The Italian side’s solitary away win this season came on their last visit to Scotland when they turned over Edinburgh at Murrayfield…

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU, 50th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell, Cammy Rudkin (SRU)
TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)

If there was one official that OTOTM hadn’t expected to see back at Scotstoun this season it was Mr. Wilkinson. He was after all the man in the middle when Langilangi Haupeakui was shown not one but two incorrect yellow cards against Treviso in October. Hopefully the Irish whistler has a better game on Friday night…


  1. There would be no real surprise if Lee Jones was being lined up for the Scotland tour even though we have a lot of strength on the wing. Maybe Gregor is expecting Maitland, Visser and Seymour to go on a different tour? Personally I’d like to see Hoyland and Jones start at some point for Scotland. Jones has been superb for Glasgow and Hoyland needs to get some decent game time.


    1. Not that strong a Zebre line-up either though. 10 changes from the team that beat the Dragons and some key players missing.

      Think it was too good an opportunity for Glasgow to give the Test players a full 2 weeks off before a busy summer.

      Would’ve been a different story if we were still in contention for the playoffs of course!


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