Leone Nakarawa will make his first appearance at Scotstoun since re-joining Glasgow Warriors last month, as Dave Rennie’s men prepare for the visit of Zebre on Friday night.
A matchday squad containing 15 internationals will run out under the Friday night lights for the club’s first Guinness PRO14 outing in over a month, including the return of five players from Scotland duty in the first fallow week of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
Oli Kebble will make his first appearance at tight-head in a Glasgow jersey, with the South African joining George Turner and Aki Seiuli in the front-row.
Having scored in his last home outing for the club against Zebre in 2016, Nakarawa is paired alongside the recently re-signed Rob Harley in the second row.
Ryan Wilson captains the team from the blindside flank, as Tom Gordon and Matt Fagerson return from Scotland camp and injury respectively to complete the pack.
Behind the scrum there’s a familiar combination at half-back, with Pete Horne lining up at fly-half outside younger brother George.
There are two notable inclusions in the Zebre line-up selected to face the Warriors, the first of which is the return of Maxime Mbandà in the starting XV chosen by coach Michael Bradley.
After a knee operation on January 17, the Italian international was forced to miss the first two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations but is now back to full capacity and ready to play from the first minute in Glasgow.
The second is the inclusion of permit player Riccardo Brugnara. The Rugby Calvisano prop, who has already featured for Benetton Rugby in two matches in the competition, is in line to make his official debut with Zebre.
How to watch: Live on Premier Sports 1, DAZN, pro14.tv
Players to watch out for: Leone Nakarawa v Mick Kearney
Who else? All eyes will be on the big ex-Racing 92 man and no doubt Nakarawa will be keen to tear up Scotstoun once again, as he did during his first spell at the club.
The Fijian has good pace for a lock, tonnes of power and perhaps the best offloading skills in the game – if he’s on form, nothing will stop him.
Two of the men tasked with that lofty challenge will be Zebre’s Irish locks Mick Kearney and Ian Nagle. The two have worked well together since joining in the summer, helping each other settle into Italian life both on and off the pitch, and no doubt they’ll have a plan to stop Nakarawa on Friday.
Key stat: The Warriors’ only victory in their last four outings at Scotstoun in all tournaments was 20-16 in the 1872 Cup clash with fierce rivals Edinburgh on 21 December.
Glasgow Warriors: Glenn Bryce, Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Stafford McDowall, DTH van der Merwe, Pete Horne, George Horne, Aki Seiuli, George Turner, Oli Kebble, Rob Harley, Leone Nakarawa, Ryan Wilson (capt), Tom Gordon, Matt Fagerson
Replacements: Mesu Dolokoto, Alex Allan, Adam Nicol, Tim Swinson, Chris Fusaro, Jamie Dobie, Ruaridh Jackson, Kyle Steyn
Zebre: Junior Laloifi, Paula Balekana, Jamie Elliott, Tommaso Boni (Capt), Pierre Bruno, Michelangelo Biondelli, Joshua Renton Daniele Rimpelli, Massimo Ceciliani, Eduardo Bello, Ian Nagle, Mick Kearney, Maxime Mbanda, Apisai Tauyavuca, Renato Giammarioli
Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani, Riccardo Burgnara, Alexandru Tarus, Leonard Krumov, George Biagi, Marcello Violi, Enrico Lucchin, Jimmy Tuivaiti
Glasgow Warriors boosted their hopes of reaching the Guinness PRO14 quarter-finals with an eight-try 56-24 victory over Zebre at Scotstoun Stadium.
George Horne was the star of the show as he opened the scoring in a fast Glasgow start before crossing for a match-turning try on the stroke of half-time.
Zebre were 17-14 in front but Horne’s second turned the match in Warriors’ favour as they scored five tries in the second period with debutant Mesu Dolokoto coming off the bench to notch a brace.
The bumper home victory sees Glasgow get within two points of third-placed Toyota Cheetahs in Conference A.
It took Glasgow just six minutes to get off the mark. After some slick handling, Nick Grigg made a superb line, bursting through before sending Horne over for an easy try.
Glasgow were slipping off tackles with returning lock Leone Nakarawa keeping play alive with fine handling and the hosts doubled their lead on 14 minutes.
Tom Gordon fed his back-row colleague Matt Fagerson who smashed through several Zebre players to score. Pete Horne added the extras.
Zebre were under all sorts of pressure in the opening quarter of an hour but those early scores proved to be a wake-up call.
Fly-half Michelango Biondelli thought he had gone over only for the score to be ruled out after replays showed no clear grounding.
But a minute later Zebre got their try with prop Daniele Rimpelli reaching over a pile of bodies to touch down near the posts.
Boindelli landed the conversion and then slotted a simple three-pointer on 27 minutes as Zebre closed the gap to 14-10.
That was his final contribution as he hobbled off and was replaced by scrum-half Marcello Violi with Josh Renton moving to stand-off.
But Violi made a stunning introduction. After Glasgow fumbled a lineout, Zebre moved the ball to the right and Jamie Elliott burst through a gap.
Elliott then fed Violi who crossed to put Zebre into the lead with a converted try.
But with half-time closing in Glasgow struck. George Turner made a brilliant carry and offload to George Horne who wriggled over to score. Pete Horne then did the honours from the tee to make it 21-17 at the break.
The try was crucial as Glasgow came bursting out of the traps and bagged two converted tries in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Nakarawa clattered forward before superbly offloading to hooker Dolokoto who burrowed over from close range.
DTH van der Merwe’s 16-month wait for a Guinness PRO14 try was then ended when he gobbled up Pete Horne’s cross-field kick and dotted down.
The Canada international wing’s score was his 58th in the competition, moving him to joint second in the all-time list.
With their tails up Warriors grabbed their sixth try on 54 minutes. George Horne burst through and looked set to score before being stopped illegally by Junior Laloifi.
The full-back was sin-binned for the high tackle and referee Joy Neville awarded Glasgow a penalty try, moving them 42-17 ahead.
Zebre tried to get back into it but a moment of brilliance from Jamie Dobie saw Warriors score another.
Dobie made a superb run from deep before being stopped short but Gordon was on hand to finish the job.
Zebre got back on the scoresheet when Laloifi produced a fine step and pass to Pierre Bruno who went over.
But Glasgow got their eight at the death courtesy of a stunning run from Kyle Steyn and finish from Dolokoto.
Back from international duty George Horne sent a message to Scotland’s selectors with a two-try showing.
The sniping scrum-half got Glasgow off the mark with a try inside the first six minutes before crossing for a pivotal score just before the break.
And Horne came agonisingly close to completing his hat-trick as he sprinted clear before being caught by a high tackle from Laloifi.
It resulted in a penalty try and Horne left the field with Glasgow on course for a crucial victory.
Zebre appeared to have all the momentum as they led 17-14 after tries from Rimpelli and Voili.
But with seconds left of the first half Glasgow scored thanks to great skill by Turner and finish by George Horne.
Turner charged forward before popping the ball up for Horne. The fly-half had a lot to do but managed wriggle away from a tackler before stretching and dotting the ball down to put Warriors back in front.