Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Townsend expecting tough test

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend knows his side will not have it easy as they chase a home draw in the RaboDirect Pro12 semi-finals.

The Warriors host Zebre on Saturday at Scotstoun Stadium and know a win will see the venue put to use once more when the play-offs kick-off.

But Townsend is concerned by the Italian team's recent hot streak.

He said: "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.

"Zebre are engaged in a battle with Treviso to represent Italy in the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup next season and having just climbed above their rivals in the league, they will be determined to stay there by beating us at Scotstoun.

"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.

"In our last two home matches against Ulster and Edinburgh we have had record crowds, which shows how much our support has grown in recent years.

"We're hoping for another big crowd tomorrow night for what is a massive game for the club."

Sean Lamont and Alex Dunbar have both recovered from injury and return to the Warriors starting line-up for the Zebre clash.

Lamont has been ruled out since Scotland's defeat to France in March and lines up on the right wing, while Dunbar last featured for Glasgow in their win over Munster at Thomond Park last month and starts at outside centre.

Following last week's win in Treviso, Stuart Hogg continues at full-back and Niko Matawalu keeps his place on the left wing.

Dunbar forms a centre partnership with Peter Horne for the first time this season.

Scotland international Duncan Weir comes in at stand-off and Henry Pyrgos continues at scrum-half.

In the forwards Ryan Grant replaces last week's try-scorer Gordon Reid at loosehead, Pat MacArthur keeps his place at hooker and Moray Low starts ahead of Geoff Cross at tighthead.

Captain Al Kellock is reinstated to the second row in place of Jonny Gray and he will partner Tim Swinson in the engine room.

After featuring for Scotland at the Glasgow Sevens last weekend, James Eddie comes back in at blindside flanker in place of Rob Harley, Tyrone Holmes makes way for Chris Fusaro at openside and Leone Nakarawa plays his first game for the club at number eight replacing Josh Strauss.

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph