Glasgow Warriors have been pretty much perfect this season, but they take on a Zebre side eager to turn around two successive defeats this Friday.
What’s at stake? Glasgow Warriors currently rule the roost in Conference A – winning four of their five games so far this season and picking up 20 points in the process.
They reigned supreme in Round Five with a 29-13 win over Dragons last time out with Lee Jones scoring an impressive double either side of half time.
However, it’s been an up and down season for Zebre so far, earning two victories against Cardiff Blues and Southern Kings, but they haven’t won in their last two Guinness PRO14 outings.
Team news (Glasgow):
Jonny Gray will captain the Warriors at Scotstoun alongside second row Andrew Davidson who made his Glasgow debut last time out.
Adam Nicol makes his first start for Dave Rennie’s men as Adam Ashe starts on the blindside flank.
Rory Hughes plays his first game of the season, while Adam Hastings starts at 10.
On the bench USA international Tevita Tameilau is in line to make his Glasgow Warriors debut and hooker Grant Stewart is involved in a matchday 23 for the first time this season.
Team news (Zebre):
Zebre have made eight changes for this weekend’s Scotland trip with Fijian winger Paula Balekana making his debut for the club.
Cruze Ah-Nau and Eduardo Bello make their first starts of the season at prop, while Marcello Violi comes in alongside Francois Brummer at fly-half.
Giulio Bisegni is also handed a call-up for Michael Bradley’s men.
Nicolas De Battista, Renato Giammarioli, Giovanni Licata, Maxime Mbandà and Matteo Minozzi all miss out through injury.
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie said: “Zebre are a really dangerous side, they are one of the leading teams in terms of offloads and line-breaks, so defensively we’ll have to be at our best tomorrow night.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Tevita (Tameilau) come off the bench.
“He arrived late but has worked hard and hopefully supporters will get a chance to see his physicality and athleticism when he comes on.”
Key battle: Adam Hastings v Francois Brummer
Adam Hastings has been in electric form since being given the nod at the start of the campaign.
The 21-year-old has beaten the most defenders in Guinness PRO14 this year, making 224 metres in the process.
Throw in his key contribution of 29 points this campaign from the kicking tee, and Hastings has proved a menace in most matches.
His opposite number will make his PRO14 debut this weekend following his move from Blue Bulls after a stint in Japan. Will the experience head make the difference on Friday?
Key fact: Glasgow have won their last 25 matches against Italian opponents.
Did you know? Zebre have won just one of their last 10 fixtures against Scottish opponents.
Glasgow Warriors: Oli Kebble, George Turner, Adam Nicol, Andrew Davidson, Jonny Gray (c), Adam Ashe, Chris Fusaro, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Adam Hastings, Rory Hughes, Alex Dunbar, Huw Jones, Lee Jones, Ruaridh Jackson
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Greg Peterson, Matt Smith, Tevita Tameilau, Pete Horne, Niko Matawalu
Zebre: Edoardo Padovani, Gabriele Di Giulio, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Boni, Paula Balekana, Francois Brummer, Marcello Violi, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Johan Meyer, Apisai, George Biagi (c), Leonard Krumov, Eduardo Bello, Oliviero Fabiani, Cruze Ah-Nau
Replacements: Massimo Ceciliani, Daniele Rimpelli, Roberto Tenga, Samuele Ortis, Giosué Zilocchi, Riccardo Raffaele, Maicol Azzolini, Giovanbattista Venditti
TV: At Scotstoun Stadium 7.35pm on Premier Sports and DAZN
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Hollie Davidson
Citing Commissioner: Paul Minto
TMO: Charles Samson
Glasgow Warriors produced a blistering second half display to brush aside Zebre and pick up their fifth victory of the Guinness PRO14 season.
Huw Jones got the Warriors off to the perfect start but Apisai Tauyavuca’s response kept the Italians within striking distance before second half efforts from George Turner, Greg Peterson, George Horne and a magnificent team try rounded-off by Peter Horne secured the victory.
The Warriors prided themselves on their home form last season and continued that fine work after just five minutes as Adam Hastings broke from his own half, racing away and drawing the defender before passing back inside to Jones who converted for his second try in his last two games.
Despite that early start the Warriors were careless in their set pieces as a disciplined Zebre side made the most of defensive errors and dominate that game.
Zebre continued to press hard against their hosts and the Italian side had their reward with their first try following 20 phases of play.
The visitors packed on the pressure and managed to bundle their way over with Tauyavuca adding the finishing touches.
The Warriors would have been concerned by Zebre’s hustle but with two minutes to go, Hastings’ penalty extended their advantage to five with two minutes to go before the break.
But back came the Italians in the dying moments of the first half with a penalty of their own, converted by Marcello Violi.
Zebre had 10 points to their name heading into the clash against the Warriors and at half-time would’ve felt more than a match for a side that finished 40 points ahead of them last season.
But a yellow card for no.7 Johan Meyer put Zebre on the back foot and the hosts made the most of that one-man advantage as Turner spotted a gap in the Italians back-line and darted over in the corner to extend the lead.
And with 17 minutes to go Warriors put the game beyond doubt with a scintillating score.
Following a set piece, George Horne picked up the ball before showing fine hands to release Greg Peterson for the Warriors third score.
Minutes later the Warriors had the bonus point as a slick attack saw Jones burst through the Zebre back line before feeding in Horne who dived under the posts.
But the Warriors’ fifth and final try was the best of the lot as neat build-up play between Nikola Matawalu and Lee Jones allowed birthday boy Peter Horne to round-off the scoring in stunning fashion.