URC: Glasgow v Zebre: Scotland duo return from injury for final outing of regular season

Richie Gray and Huw Jones start as head coach Franco Smith rings the changes

Huw Jones will make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance since mid-January against Zebre tomorrow [Friday] night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Huw Jones will make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance since mid-January against Zebre tomorrow [Friday] night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GLASGOW WARRIORS have been boosted by the return of Scotland stars Huw Jones and Richie Gray from injuries (hand and bicep respectively) which have kept them out of action since the Six Nations ahead of tomorrow [Friday] night’s final URC regular season match against Zebre at Scotstoun.

In total, head coach Franco Smith has made 12 changes to the starting XV he selected to face the Lions in Johannesburg a fortnight ago. The only survivors are Kyle Rowe, switching from win to full-back, centre Sione Tuipulotu, who takes over the captaincy from the injured Kyle Steyn, and openside flanker Rory Darge.

Veteran stand-off Duncan Weir, fresh from signing a two-year contract extension, is set to make his 150th appearance for the club, while Smith has gone for a five-three (as opposed to a six-two) split on the bench for only the second time in his tenure at Scotstoun.


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Warriors are currently fourth in the URC table, three points behind league leaders Munster. They are already certain of being back at Scotstoun in the play-off quarter-finals but can book home advantage in the semi-finals  if they make the top two, and in the final if they finish top. Essentially, they need to win this game with a bonus-point, then hope that some or ideally all of their top four rivals slip up in their final matches. Third-placed Leinster are at home to Connacht (kicking off at the same time), second-placed Bulls visit the Sharks on Saturday afternoon, and Munster are at home to Ulster on Saturday evening.

“We are looking forward to returning home for the final match of the regular season tomorrow night, and we know that every point could be crucial in the final standings,” said Smith.

“We are pleased to welcome Huw and Richie back into our matchday 23 – both men have worked hard with our medical and S&C teams and are ready to go out and give their all for the team.

“Zebre will be looking to finish their season on a high, and we know that they have the ability to cause problems for us given the opportunity – we must be at our best across the field tomorrow night.”

 

Glasgow Warriors (versus Zebre at Scotstoun on Friday @ 7.35pm BST): K Rowe; F Cordero, H Jones, S Tuipulotu ©, S Cancelliere; D Weir, J Dobie; J Bhatti, J Matthews, Z Fagerson, M Williamson, R Gray, M Fagerson R Darge, J Dempsey. Replacements: G Hiddleston, N McBeth, O Kebble, S Cummings, E Ferrie, G Horne, R Thompson, T Jordan.

Unavailable for selection: Fraser Brown (knee), JP du Preez (knee), Stafford McDowall (hand), Alex Samuel (head), Ollie Smith (knee), Kyle Steyn (knee), George Turner (foot), Sione Vailanu (knee).


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About David Barnes 3995 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.

3 Comments

  1. It’s a good match to throw the returning lads into as Zebre have nothing to play for but pride – as long as we actually get the job done… Hoping for easy BP win and no dramas or injuries while we prepare for more important matches to come.

  2. Agree re Weir, Tuipulotu ends up being the attack 10.
    Assume Weir big boot will kick into position and several tries possible for Johnny Matthews

  3. Glad to see Jones and Gray back. I think Jones works brilliantly with Sione and Jordan works well with Staff but that’s the only good combos. The others don’t work well together at all. I think having Weir starting ahead of both Jordan and RT is a complete waste of the midfield as he sits far too deep and hasn’t the attacking ability of the others but we dare not criticise because of rugby values blah blah.

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