Match Preview - Zebre
Glasgow Warriors return to Guinness PRO14 duty on Friday night, as Dave Rennie’s men welcome Zebre to Scotstoun in an all-Conference A clash.
After almost a month away from competitive action, the Warriors will be looking to hit the ground running as they continue their push for a place in the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 Final Series.
A 45-7 victory over Sale Sharks sent Rennie’s men into the break in the best possible form, having run in six tries to close out the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup group stages.
With both sides also benefitting from the release of selected Guinness Six Nations squad players, it should be an entertaining encounter under the Friday night lights.
Tickets are still available for Glasgow Warriors' first match in almost a month - secure your seat at Scotstoun here
Zebre are shaping up ahead of Friday night:
Zebre Form Guide
Michael Bradley’s side currently sit sixth in Guinness PRO14 Conference A, having won two of their 10 matches in the competition so far this season.
A brace of hefty defeats against Edinburgh and the Scarlets sandwiched a try bonus-point defeat to the Dragons in the opening stages of the club’s campaign, before a turgid 3-0 defeat at home to Leinster earned them a losing bonus-point against the defending champions.
Two further losses at the hands of Ulster and Glasgow Warriors followed, before Bradley’s men returned from European Challenge Cup action with a thumping 39-12 win away to the Dragons in round seven.
Whilst it was Benetton who emerged victorious in both festive derbies, an impressive 41-13 win over playoff-chasing Cheetahs sees Zebre come to Scotstoun in winning form in the Guinness PRO14.
Zebre parted company with a couple of Italian flyers over the off-season, as full-back Matteo Minozzi joined English Premiership side Wasps whilst Giovanbatista Venditti hung up his boots for the final time.
Experienced prop Dario Chistolini said farewell to the Stadio Lanfranchi, whilst fellow front-rower Cruze Ah-Nau was another to part ways with the Guinness PRO14 outfit.
Pacific Island duo Matu Tevi and James Brown also departed the club, the latter joining Russian side Enisei STM.
Bradley and his coaching team recruited cannily over the summer, with new Italy captain Luca Bigi amongst those to have linked up with Zebre ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Experienced Romanian prop Alexandru Tarus was a shrewd acquisition from Sale Sharks, joining Irish second-row duo Ian Nagle and Mick Kearney in making the switch to Parma.
Charlie Walker was another to join Zebre in the off-season, the English winger providing an additional attacking threat following his move from Harlequins.
Ones to Watch
A proven finisher in the English Premiership, the Warriors wingers will be keeping a close eye on Walker on Friday night. A winger with rapid acceleration and footwork to wriggle through the smallest of gaps, the Englishman is someone who can make a difference in any match.
Josh Renton will be hoping to run Zebre’s attack from scrum-half under the floodlights, with the New Zealander likely to be involved in the absence of Italian international Guglielmo Palazzani. The 25-year-old is in his second season with the club, having previously represented the Highlanders in Super Rugby.
With over 100 appearances in the Guinness PRO14 during his days as a player for both Connacht and Leinster, Mick Kearney offers a dynamic ball-carrying option to the Zebre pack. Comfortable in either the second-row or on the flank, the 28-year-old will be looking to influence proceedings wherever possible.
It was the Warriors who drew first blood this season, as Rennie’s men proved too strong for Zebre in Parma back in November.
Two tries from man-of-the-match George Horne, alongside scores from Adam Hastings, Ratu Tagive and Nick Frisby, ensured that the squad would return to Glasgow with all five points after a 31-7 victory.
It was a similar story in 2018/19, with Glasgow emerging victorious in both meetings between the two sides.
A 36-8 victory at Scotstoun was followed up by a comprehensive 42-10 win at the Stadio Lanfranchi, Matt Fagerson crossing for two of Glasgow’s six tries on the night.
Joy Neville will take charge under the Scotstoun floodlights on Friday night, with the Irish referee having previously been the woman in the middle for Glasgow’s 50-0 victory over the Southern Kings earlier this season.