Nakarawa to make Scotstoun return

Nakarawa to make Scotstoun return

Leone Nakarawa will make his first appearance at Scotstoun since re-joining Glasgow Warriors last month, as Dave Rennie’s men prepare for the visit of Zebre tomorrow night.

A matchday squad containing 15 internationals will run out under the Friday night lights for the club’s first Guinness PRO14 outing in over a month, including the return of five players from Scotland duty in the first fallow week of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.

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Oli Kebble will make his first appearance at tight-head in a Glasgow jersey, with the South African joining George Turner and Aki Seiuli in the front-row.

Having scored in his last home outing for the club against Zebre in 2016, Nakarawa is paired alongside the recently re-signed Rob Harley in the second-row.

Ryan Wilson captains the team from the blindside flank, as Tom Gordon and Matt Fagerson return from Scotland camp and injury respectively to complete the pack.

Behind the scrum there’s a familiar combination at half-back, with Pete Horne lining up at fly-half outside younger brother George.

Nick Grigg celebrates his own re-signing by starting in the number 13 jersey, partnering Stafford McDowall in midfield for the first time since October’s trip to the Dragons.

Two of the club’s three all-time leading try-scorers start on the wings, as Tommy Seymour and DTH van der Merwe line up alongside full-back Glenn Bryce in the back-three.

Fijian international hooker Mesu Dolokoto could make his club debut from the bench tomorrow night, after being selected in a Glasgow matchday 23 for the first time.

Jamie Dobie is also in line for a first appearance in three months, having last featured in November’s 50-0 triumph over the Southern Kings at Scotstoun.

Elsewhere, Alex Allan and Adam Nicol join Dolokoto in providing front-row cover, the former making his first home appearance since joining the ranks of the club’s centurions.

Tim Swinson, Chris Fusaro and Ruaridh Jackson bring a wealth of experience to the replacements, whilst Kyle Steyn completes the club’s contingent of returning internationals by taking the number 23 shirt.

Speaking ahead of his side’s return to action, Rennie said: “The boys are in good shape. They’ve come back in after a bit of a break and we’ve prepared well. We’ve played really well over the last few matches, so it’s good to have them freshened up physically and mentally.

“We’ve got a good side going out there, including five players back from Scotland camp. They’ve slotted back in seamlessly as you’d expect – they’re guys that have played a lot of rugby for us over the last few months.

“We’ve got a few injuries at tight-head as well as Zander [Fagerson] away with the national side, but Oli [Kebble] put up his hand and was prepared to jump across. He’s done a fair bit of scrummaging there recently and he’s a big man who understands our structures. We’re excited and think that he can do a job for us, whilst it also means we’ve got him and Aki [Seiuli] out on the field together.

“It’s great to be back in front of our fans. Our home crowd is fantastic and the boys love playing at Scotstoun. We’ve got a really good side out on the field and we’re hoping for a bumper crowd.”

Glasgow Warriors team to play Zebre in the Guinness PRO14, Friday 14 February, kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports 1. You can follow the action in the Live Match Centre on glasgowwarriors.org. Glasgow Warriors appearances in brackets.

1. Aki Seiuli (8)
2. George Turner (45)
3. Oli Kebble (45)
4. Rob Harley (227)
5. Leone Nakarawa (70)
6. Ryan Wilson (C) (165)
7. Tom Gordon (15)
8. Matt Fagerson (59)

9. George Horne (53)
10. Pete Horne (165)
11. DTH van der Merwe (122)
12. Stafford McDowall (19)
13. Nick Grigg (66)
14. Tommy Seymour (140)
15. Glenn Bryce (27)

Replacements

16. Mesu Dolokoto (0)
17. Alex Allan (100)
18. Adam Nicol (17)
19. Tim Swinson (133)
20. Chris Fusaro (176)
21. Jamie Dobie (5)
22. Ruaridh Jackson (160)
23. Kyle Steyn (24)

Not available due to injury: Adam Ashe (calf), Bruce Flockhart (back), Siua Halanukonuka (calf), Sean Kennedy (ankle), Johnny Matthews (ankle), Kiran McDonald (hip), Robbie Nairn (knee), D’arcy Rae (hand), Grant Stewart (back), Brandon Thomson (calf) and George Thornton (ankle).

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