Brown to make first start
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson has named a starting XV showing three changes from last weekend’s performance in Dublin, as his side prepares to travel to Italy to take on Zebre tomorrow lunchtime.
Amongst those changes is a first start to FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy back-rower Gregor Brown, who takes his place in the lineup after impressing on his debut from the bench at the RDS.
It will also be a momentous occasion for club co-captain Ryan Wilson, who will lead the Warriors onto the pitch for the 50th time; he becomes just the fourth Warrior to lead the side for a half-century of matches, following in the footsteps of Andy Nicol, Gordon Bulloch and Al Kellock.
The front-row is unchanged, meaning Oli Kebble and Grant Stewart are once again released from Scotland camp to pack down alongside Argentinian tight-head Enrique Pieretto.
Brown’s inclusion sees Rob Harley shift to the second-row, the club’s most experienced player partnering Hamish Bain in the engine room.
Thomas Gordon completes the back-row, with Brown and Wilson lining up at blindside and number eight respectively.
Jamie Dobie makes his third consecutive start at scrum-half, as Ross Thompson comes into the side at fly-half to form a half-back pairing with an average age of just 20.
The centre pairing of Sam Johnson and Huw Jones is given the nod once more by Head Coach Wilson, following an all-action display from the duo in Dublin.
It’s a similar story in the back three, with wingers Rufus McLean – fresh from scoring his first professional try last time out – and Cole Forbes joining full-back Ollie Smith in retaining their places in the starting XV.
On the bench, Dylan Evans could make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance since his cameo against Edinburgh in August, as the on-loan Scarlets loose-head joins Johnny Matthews and D’arcy Rae as the front-row replacements.
There’s also a potential debut in store for Ireland international Ian Keatley, as the fly-half is selected in a matchday squad for the first time since joining the club back in January.
Having made his club debut against Ulster a fortnight ago, James Scott comes back into the squad after missing the trip to Dublin to take the number 19 jersey, whilst Leone Nakarawa rotates to the bench after starting the previous two outings.
Sean Kennedy and Nick Grigg complete the replacements, the latter making his first appearance for the club since January’s win over Edinburgh at Scotstoun.
Speaking about his selection, Head Coach Wilson said: “We were impressed with how our young players stood up against Leinster last weekend, and they’ve earned the right to start this weekend against Zebre.
“In particular, we were really pleased with how Gregor [Brown] went on his debut – he made a real impact when he came off the bench, carrying strongly and getting involved at every opportunity.
“I thought our young back three looked dangerous with ball in hand in Dublin. They were always looking to see what was on and hopefully they’ll get a chance to show what they can do in Parma.
“Like us, Zebre are missing a lot of internationals at this time of the year, but we know that – especially at home – they’re a real test for anyone in the competition and we’ll have to be on top form to get a result.”
Glasgow Warriors team to face Zebre in the Guinness PRO14, Saturday 6 March, kick-off 1pm, live on Premier Sports 2. You can follow the action in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
1. Oli Kebble (54)
2. Grant Stewart (41)
3. Enrique Pieretto (11)
4. Rob Harley (243)
5. Hamish Bain (5)
6. Gregor Brown (1)
7. Thomas Gordon (29)
8. Ryan Wilson (C) (183)
9. Jamie Dobie (16)
10. Ross Thompson (4)
11. Cole Forbes (1)
12. Sam Johnson (68)
13. Huw Jones (47)
14. Rufus McLean (3)
15. Ollie Smith (2)
16. Johnny Matthews (9)
17. Dylan Evans (1)
18. D’arcy Rae (80)
19. James Scott (1)
20. Leone Nakarawa (75)
21. Sean Kennedy (14)
22. Ian Keatley (0)
23. Nick Grigg (81)
Unavailable for selection: Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Chris Fusaro, Adam Hastings, George Horne, Pete Horne, Niko Matawalu, Kiran McDonald, Paddy Kelly, Aki Seiuli, Tommy Seymour, Kyle Steyn.
International duty: Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Ali Price, George Turner.