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Townsend calls for strong finish

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend has told his Warriors to finish their Guinness Pro12 season with a flourish.

The Scotstoun outfit top the table with just six games to go before the play-offs.

Now Townsend has encouraged his players to build up a head of steam ahead of the post-season deciders, starting with Friday night's home clash with Zebre.

He said: "This is our last game for three weeks, so we're determined to finish this block of matches on a high.

"We're expecting a very tough game from a Zebre side who have shown a lot of improvement in the past two weeks and had a good win against the Dragons last weekend. So we'll have to be fully focused tomorrow evening.

"With just six games left of the regular season we know the importance of each match as we look to try and qualify for the play-offs."

Meanwhile, Townsend has confirmed Scotland f lanker Chris Fusaro will make his return to action against Zebre three months after injuring his ankle in the Warriors defeat in Toulouse.

There are seven personnel changes and two positional switches from the team which lost 22-10 to Munster on Saturday.

Sean Lamont, Peter Horne, Ryan Grant and Rob Harley all start against the Italians after being released from the Scotland squad.

Peter Murchie will play his fourth consecutive game at full-back, with Lee Jones coming in on the right wing and Niko Matawalu moving to scrum-half in place of Murray McConnell. DTH van der Merwe continues on the opposite wing.

Lamont starts at outside centre in place of Richie Vernon and will form a new partnership with Canadian international Connor Braid, who moves from fly-half to replace Fraser Lyle.

Horne wears the Number 10 jersey and will link up with Matawalu.

In the pack, Grant replaces Alex Allan at loose-head, Kevin Bryce comes in for Pat MacArthur at hooker and after scoring his first try for the club last weekend, Rossouw de Klerk continues at tight-head.

Harley comes in for James Eddie in the second-row to make his first appearance for Glasgow since December and he will partner Al Kellock in the engine room.

Adam Ashe and Josh Strauss continue at blindside and number eight respectively, with Fusaro in at openside in place of Will Bordill.

Townsend added: "We're delighted to be able to include Chris Fusaro once again and welcome back four players who were involved with Scotland last weekend."


From Belfast Telegraph