URC: Zebre v Glasgow: Franco Smith rings the changes for Italian trip

Nine new faces in Warriors starting XV ahead of clash against league's basement-dwellers

Allan Dell is one of nine changes to Glasgow Warriors' starting XV for this weekend's away match versus Zebre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Allan Dell is one of nine changes to Glasgow Warriors' starting XV for this weekend's away match versus Zebre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GLASGOW WARRIORS head coach Franco Smith always pushes back at the suggestion that he has identified a game as an opportunity to take key players out of the firing line, but his selection for tomorrow afternoon’s clash away to URC strugglers Zebre – who have just one win and one draw from 14 league matches so far this season – certainly looks like a case of judicious squad rotation.

The only survivors from the pack he sent out against Sharks at Scotstoun last weekend are in-form emerging second-row Max Williamson and back-row Henco Venter, who has shifted from openside to No 8. Zander Fagerson, Nathan McBeth and Scott Cummings all move to the bench, while Jack Dempsey and Matt Fagerson are rested altogether from the match-day 23. The other missing man is hooker Johnny Matthews who has an ankle injury.

That Smith is able to replace that lot with players of the experience and calibre of Allan Dell, Lucio Sordoni, Sintu Manjezi, Ally Miller, Thomas Gordon and the emerging Gregor Hiddleston demonstrates the depth he has at his disposal.

URC: Cardiff v Edinburgh: Emiliano Boffelli returns

Tom Jordan staying coy on Scotland prospects with focus on Glasgow’s URC title tilt

Sarah Beaney Cup: Abernethy twins face-off in Watsonians versus Hillhead Jordanhill clash

With Matthews, Angus Fraser (concussion), Japan-bound George Turner (foot) and retiring Fraser Brown (knee)all out injured, Grant Stewart is in line to make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance in two years after being named amongst the replacements, having agreed to return to Scotstoun on a permanent basis earlier this week.

Meanwhile, in the backline, last week’s half-backs, George Horne and Tom Jordan are named on the bench, allowing Ross Thompson a rare start at stand-off alongside Jamie Dobie at scrum-half.

The return from illness of Josh McKay allows Kyle Rowe to shift from full-back to wing in place of the injured Facundo Cordero (ribs).

“We know that we will need to perform at our best in Parma tomorrow to get the better of a dangerous Zebre side,” said Smith, whose son, Franco Smith Junior, is at outside-centre for Zebre tomorrow.  “They are a much-improved squad this season and have the ability to pose a challenge to any side, especially at home.

“Training has been competitive all week and we look forward to the test tomorrow afternoon.”

Thomas Dominguez, son of legendary Italian stand-off Diego, is at scrum-half for the home side.


Glasgow Warriors (v Zebre in the URC at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Saturday @ 1pm UK time): J McKay; K Steyn ©, S McDowall, S Tuipulotu, K Rowe; R Thompson, J Dobie; A Dell, G Hiddleston, L Sordoni, S Manjezi, M Williamson, A Miller, T Gordon, H Venter. Replacements: G Stewart, N McBeth, Z Fagerson, S Cummings, E Ferrie, G Brown, G Horne, T Jordan.

Unavailable for selection: Jamie Bhatti (foot), Fraser Brown (knee), Facundo Cordero (ribs), Rory Darge (ankle), Richie Gray (bicep), Angus Fraser (head), Huw Jones (hand), Oli Kebble (ankle), Johnny Matthews (ankle), JP du Preez (knee), Alex Samuel (head), Ollie Smith (knee), Logan Trotter (thigh), George Turner (foot), Sione Vailanu (knee).


Zebre Parma: L Pani; J Trulla, F Smith Jr, Enrico Lucchin, S Gregory; G Prisciantelli ©, T Dominguez; D Fischetti, M Manfredi, M Hasa, L Krumov, D De Leeuw, G Volpi, I Bianchi, G Ferrari. Replacements: G Ribaldi, S Taddei, J Pitinari, M Canali, D Sisi, R Jelic, F Paea, T Fox-Matamua.

URC: Cardiff v Edinburgh: Emiliano Boffelli returns

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.

1 Comment

  1. Happy to be corrected, but the injury update is, I think, the first time I have seen Logan Trotter’s name associated with the first team squad.

    Hope the squad rotation works. Opportunities there for the wider squad to stake a claim for more regular involvement. Especially hope that Stewart gets off to a good start. Seems to be a confidence player.

Comments are closed.