FRANCO SMITH has handed Glasgow Warriors competitive debuts to three players ahead of tomorrow [Friday] evening’s URC season opener against Benetton in Treviso.
Argentinean Lucio Sordoni – who is on a short-term deal with the club – starts at tight-head prop, South African signing Sintu Manjezi – a summer recruit from the Vodacom Bulls – is at blindside flanker, and New Zealander Tom Jordan – who established himself in Scotland playing Super6 with Ayrshire Bulls before signing his first pro deal with Warriors in November 2021 – is at stand-off.
Meanwhile, Matt Fagerson starts at openside alongside Jack Dempsey and Manjezi in the back-row, and George Horne is handed the No 9 jersey ahead of Ali Price, who is on the bench.
Newly appointed captain Kyle Steyn is on the left wing, while Sione Tuipulotu comes into the starting XV after missing the team’s only pre-season hit-out against Ayrshire Bulls at the Caledonian Stadium a fortnight ago, to combine with Stafford McDowall in the middle of the park.
A six-two split on the bench – including two opensides in Rory Darge and Tom Gordon – suggests that the Warriors coaching team anticipate a war of attrition up-front at the Stadio Monigo, which has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for Glasgow in recent seasons. However, two mobile
“We’re all excited to get our season underway tomorrow evening in Treviso,” said head coach Smith. “The boys have all worked extremely hard throughout pre-season and tomorrow gives them the opportunity to show the results.
“Lucio, Sintu and Tom have all earned the opportunity to make their debut for the club tomorrow and we look forward to seeing them make their mark in a Warriors jersey.
“Benetton are a fit attacking minded team who like to run the ball from everywhere and we’ll need to be at our best tomorrow in Treviso.”
Meanwhile, well-travelled Scottish scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is set to debut for Benetton off the bench.
Glasgow Warriors (v Benetton at Stadio Monigo, Friday 5.30pm): C Forbes; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall, K Steyn; T Jordan, G Horne; J Bhatti, F Brown, L Sordoni, L Bean, R Gray, S Manjezi, M Fagerson, J Dempsey. Replacements: J Matthews, O Kebble, Z Fagerson, S Cummings, R Darge, T Gordon, A Price, D Weir.
Unavailable for selection: Allan Dell (calf), Jamie Dobie (hamstring), Huw Jones (back), Ally Miller (back), Domingo Miotti (hamstring), Enrique Pieretto (shoulder), Ollie Smith (back), Ross Thompson (back).
Benetton: R Smith; E Padovani, I Brex, J Riera, I Mendy; G Da Re, D Duvenage; I Nemer, G Lucchesi, S Ferrari, S Scrafton, F Ruzza, G Pattinelli, M Zuliani, L Cannone. Replacements: G Nicotera, F Zani, R Pasquali, N Cannone, M Lamaro, S Hidalgo-Clyne, M Zanon, M Bellini.