Benetton v Glasgow: Franco Smith selects three debutants for URC season opener

Lucio Sordoni, Sintu Manjezi and Tom Jordan will all start in Treviso

Sintu Manjezi is one of three debutants in the Glasgow Warriors team to play Benetton tomorrow night. Image: © Craig Watson -
Sintu Manjezi is one of three debutants in the Glasgow Warriors team to play Benetton tomorrow night. Image: © Craig Watson -

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.

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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.

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Hope Glasgow start the season well. Seems odd to have two opensides on the bench with none in the starting XV.
    Maybe Benetton have a big but slow back row?
    Anyway, at least Smith can make an early adjustment, if needed.

    • had ankle surgery in off season, back training last week in August. I’d suggest not felt to be ready yet

  2. The season is about to start, interesting team , but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Lets hope Smith can get Glasgow playing like the Glasgow we know and like and then some.
    Interesting to see SHC in yet another club, hope it goes well for him, though obviously not to well.

    • Oh my lord that was a tough watch.

      Horrendous (especially in 1st 50mins). Manjazi very poor, Jordan behind a beaten pack, McDowall like Jordan but never seems to play to his potential/physical attributes.
      Very well beaten, much better after subs came on, M.Fagerson under powered.
      Dempsey Carried well, not much else on a positive perspective

  3. Will be a very interesting watch, Stafford McDowall, Tom Jordan in the backs with Manjezi in the forwards ,in particilar, will have my full attention.
    A win would be a superb start to Smith’s tenure.
    Very strong bench too.

    • Horrendous start.
      Replying to myself……
      Manjezi poor,Jordan ok….behind a beaten pack (at least in 1st half) McDowall seems to have everything….but…. S Cancelliere was particularly culpable in the backs.
      Dempsey played well, M.Fagerson too lighweight

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