Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Zebre, PRO14 match preview 2018/19

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium
Friday 5th October 2018

Live on Premier Sports 2 *

  • Head to heads favour Glasgow.
  • Tevita Tameilau is in line to become Warrior number 299.
  • After an absence of more than a year Rory Hughes is the Warrior to watch.
  • Glasgow have won 7 out of 7 at home to Zebre in the PRO12/14 era.
  • Referee Quinton Immelman takes charge of a Warriors’ game for the first time.


15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Lee Jones
13 Huw Jones
12 Alex Dunbar
11 Rory Hughes
10 Adam Hastings
9 George Horne
15 Edoardo Padovani
14 Gabriele di Giulio
13 Giulio Bisegni
12 Tommaso Boni
11 Paula Balekana
10 Francois Brummer
9 Marcello Violi

1 Oli Kebble
2 George Turner
3 Adam Nicol
4 Andrew Davidson
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Adam Ashe
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Matt Fagerson

1 Cruze Ah-Nau
2 Oliviero Fabiani
3 Eduardo Bello
4 Leonard Krumov
5 George Biagi (c)
6 Apisa Tauyavuca
7 Johan Meyer
8 Jimmy Tuivaiti

16 Grant Stewart
17 Alex Allan
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Greg Peterson
20 Matt Smith
21 Tevita Tameilau
22 Peter Horne
23 Niko Matawalu

16 Massimo Ceciliani
17 Daniele Rimpelli
18 Roberto Tenga
19 Samuele Ortis
20 Giosue Zilocchi
21 Riccardo Raffaele
22 Maicol Azzolini
23 G. Venditti

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

The long wait to see new signing Tevita Tameilau in action should be over. The American international will be sprung from the bench and will get the chance to demonstrate what he’s going to the bring to the party. At 6’4″ and over 19 stone he’s not going to be a shrinking violet and should provide plenty of physicality in attack and defence. The big man will become Warrior number 299 when he comes on as a sub.

Elsewhere there’s a lot going on in a team that’s giving some big opportunities to the extended Warriors’ squad. Adam Nicol and Andrew Davidson will both make their first starts for the club. Rory Hughes, Grant Stewart and Matt Smith will be making their inaugural appearances of this season. Grant is also the first Scottish Rugby Academy player to make an appearance so far in this campaign. Expect to see more of the young lads getting involved with the November Test window coming up in a few weeks’ time!

Finally with a 6-2 split on the bench might we also see Niko Matawalu deployed at scrum half for the Warriors for the first time since March 2015?

Warrior to Watch:

It’s a big welcome back to Rory Hughes whose last action for Glasgow came more than a year ago in September 2017 when he injured his shoulder against Munster. Dave Rennie has been keen to find a winger who can bring a bit more physicality to proceedings, trying out Lelia Masaga and Ratu Tagive as well as starting to develop Robbie Nairn. At 103kg Rozza could well fill that role and give Glasgow’s attack a bit of a different look.

In his last full season for the club Rory averaged 7.8 metres per carry. Only interception / long break specialists Leo Sarto and Mark Bennett had higher numbers. The big winger is good at making ground through contact and if Glasgow bring him off the flank regularly he can help take the pressure off Alex Dunbar in terms of getting the backline consistently on the front foot.

Glasgow at home to Zebre in the PRO12/14 era:

  • 7 wins
  • 0 losses
  • 5 Try BPs
  • 33 points out of a possible 35 (94%)
  • This is the most points Glasgow have taken from home matches against another PRO12/14 side (level with Cardiff Blues).

Previous match-up:

Key stat – last season in the PRO14:

1. Zebre – 210

2. Cheetahs – 200
3. Scarlets – 193
4. Glasgow – 189
5. Connacht – 185
6. Benetton – 173
7. Munster – 162
8. Cardiff Blues – 161
9. Leinster – 149
10. Dragons – 149
11. Kings – 144
12. Ulster – 144
13. Ospreys – 141
14. Edinburgh – 139

Zebre were the offload kings last season. A big part of how they play the game is keeping the ball alive. This is driven by some skilful players in their backline (eg Canna, Bellini, Minozzi – none of whom are playing on Friday incidentally!) but the forwards are more than happy to get in on the act too and Glasgow will need to be wary of the likes of Fabiani, Biagi and Meyer moving the ball out of contact.

The Warriors’ weren’t averse to an offload or two themselves – although not to the same extent as their Italian opponents. These are different days from the peak Fijiweegie era though. In the 2014/15 season Glasgow threw 406 offloads. Leone Nakarawa lead the way with 86 and Niko Matawalu chipped in with 44. To put Leone’s number into some kind of context last season in the PRO14 the most offloads by a forward was 17 by Scarlets’ Aaron Shingler. The most by any player was 44 by Connacht centre Peter Robb. Sometimes the big man was just playing a different game to anyone else!


Referee: Quinton Immelman (SARU, 13th Championship game)
AR1: Lloyd Linton (SRU)
AR1: Mike Adamson (SRU)
TMO: Charles Samson (SRU)

Mr. Immelman’s regular season record for 2017/18 in the PRO14:

Matches – 10 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 19.6 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 55% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 0.8 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 25 (all refs – 22)

Not only will this be Mr. Immelman’s first trip to Glasgow on league business but it will also be the very first time he has refereed the club. A Warriors’ virgin – be gentle with him Scotstoun.

In terms of his numbers for last season he was just about as average as it’s possible for an official to be. Refereeing is in his blood with both his father and grandfather picking up the whistle at provincial level in South Africa. Bragging rights to the youngest member of the dynasty if he can push on to Test level. Of course if he can survive the East Stand Massive’s banter then he can probably survive anything his future might throw at him!

* Other coverage:

Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • no re-runs scheduled on FreeSports this week
  • there is a re-run on Premier Sports 1 on Saturday 6th October at 10.45am

Highlights of all matches in Round 6:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Sunday 7th October at 4.30pm
  • FreeSports – Monday 8th October at 9.00pm

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