RaboDirect Pro12: Sean Lamont set to start for Glasgow

RaboDirect Pro12: Sean Lamont to make his first start for Glasgow Warriors in league since November

By Gareth Llewellyn

Sean Lamont will make his first league start since November for Glasgow Warriors after recovering from an injury picked up during the Six Nations.

The Scotland international wing joins centre Alex Dunbar in returning in the Warriors backline as one of nine changes to the side that secured a much-needed bonus point in Treviso last week.

I was absolutely delighted with the quality of our performance at Treviso last weekend but in order to secure home advantage in the play-offs, for the very first time, we will have to make sure that we maintain our standards tomorrow night

Gregor Townsend

Outside-half Duncan Weir completes the changes in the back line as Gregor Townsend makes his eighth consecutive change in the pivotal position as Finn Russell drops out of the 23 and the Scotland star partners Henry Pyrgos in the half-backs.

Lamont lines up on the right wing with Niko Matawalu continuing on the left and Stuart Hogg keeping his place at full-back. Peter Horne also keeps his place at inside centre to partner Dunbar in the midfield.

The Warriors know a win against the Italian side will guarantee them a home Pro12 semi-final for the first time and Townsend has rung the changes among the forwards.

Hooker Pat MacArthur keeps his place in the front row as props Ryan Grant and Moray Low come in for Gordon Reid and Geoff Cross.

Captain Al Kellock returns after missing the Treviso game to partner Tim Swinson in the second row as Jonny Gray misses out.

The back row sees an overhaul as flankers James Eddie and Chris Fusaro come in for Rob Harley and Tyrone Holmes, who drop to the bench, while Fijian lock Leone Nakawara is shifted to number 8 for the first time in a Warriors jersey with Ryan Wilson out with a shoulder injury and Josh Strauss rested.

“We face a very tough game tomorrow night against an in-form Zebre side who have beaten the likes of Ospreys and Edinburgh in recent weeks,” said Townsend.

“I was absolutely delighted with the quality of our performance at Treviso last weekend but in order to secure home advantage in the play-offs, for the very first time, we will have to make sure that we maintain our standards tomorrow night.”

Zebre make three changes and four positional changes in their backline from the starting XV that stunned the Ospreys 30-27 in Parma last week to jump above rivals Treviso in the battle between the Italian clubs to secure the only guaranteed place in next season’s Rugby Champions Cup.

David Odiete continues at full-back, Giulio Toniolatti replaces centre Kameli Ratuvou—who has returned to Fiji for the birth of his first choice—but slots in on the right wing so Dion Berryman switches to the left wing with Giovanbattista Venditti moving to inside centre and Gonzalo Garcia moving to outside centre.

Tommaso Iannone and last week’s hero Guglielmo Palazzini are both promoted from the bench to combine at half-back.

After the forwards led the bianconeri to victory over the Ospreys to set a club record for back-to-back wins after they stunned Edinburgh, Andrea Cavinato names an unchanged pack, again led by experienced Italian international Marco Bortolami partnering Quintin Geldenhuys in the second row with Mauro Bergamasco starting on the blindside.

Zebre need to at least match Treviso’s result against Newport Gwent Dragons to take their place at Europe’s top table next season, but have named scrum-half Alberto Chillon as their only replacement back with Alberto Caffini, Filippo Ferrarini and Filippo Cristiano all back-rowers, while Scotland-born and educated Italian international lock George Biagi could also feature from the bench.

Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Sean Lamont, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne, Niko Matawalu; Duncan Weir, Henry Pyrgos; Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Al Kellock (captain), James Eddie, Chris Fusaro, Leone Nakawara.

Replacements: Dougie Hall, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Geoff Cross, Rob Harley, Tyrone Holmes; Ruaridh Jackson, Lee Jones, Peter Murchie.

Zebre: David Odiete; Giulio Toniolatti, Gonzalo Garcia, Giovanbattista Venditti, Dion Berryman; Tommaso Iannone, Guglielmo Palazzini; Salvatore Perugini, Davide Giazzon, Dario Chistolini, Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Bortolami (captain), Mauro Bergamasco, Andries van Schalkwyk, Samuela Vunisa.

Replacements: Tommaso D’Apice, Matias Agüero, Dave Ryan, George Biagi, Emiliano Caffini, Alberto Chillon, Filippo Ferrarini, Filippo Cristiano.
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)

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