Big Game In Parma For Warriors

Glasgow Warriors will be led by victorious Scotland A captain Ryan Wilson as the RaboDirect PRO12 gets back underway this weekend with an Italian job in Parma waiting for head coach Gregor Townsend's side.


The Warriors travel to face Zebre this Sunday with an experienced line up as they seek to consolidate second place in the PRO12 division. _

Wilson is joined by seven others from the Scotland A squad who beat their English counterparts, the Saxons, south of the border for the first time.

Rory Lamont also returns to the side, a year after suffering a serious leg injury while on duty for Scotland.

Gregor Townsend, Warriors head coach, said: "Obviously a lot of our players are involved with the Scotland set-up but the strength of the side we are able to field is a testament to the quality of players we have at the club.

"Any game away in Italy is a real challenge and we have to make sure that we are sharp and ready for Zebre. Last week we focused on skill work, games and fitness at training, while this week has been focused on preparing to win on our return to competitive rugby. We had a productive training session with the Scotland Club XV on Tuesday and we are in a

"We have had to look at providing cover at hooker with all four of our contracted hookers currently unavailable, so Kevin Bryce, Fraser and Gerwyn have been with us this week competing for selection. Having Jon, Ed and Ofa back really strengthens our front row options alongside Gordon Reid, who has been in excellent form in recent weeks."

There is youth waiting in the wings with Elite Development players Sean Kennedy, Fraser Thomson and Finn Russell all on the bench.

Gerwyn Price and and Finn Russell are in line to make their first appearance for the Warriors.

"If Gerwyn, Finn and Ed all get game time in Parma, then that will mean 49 players have taken the field for us this season. It underlines the fact that you need to build a robust squad for the twin demands of playing in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 and the Heineken Cup. _

"I am delighted with our strength-in-depth and it's great to be able to put out another strong Glasgow Warriors team in such an important match for the club."
The Warriors have also been boosted by the news that Tongan prop Ofa Fainga"anuku has extended his stay in Scotland with a contract extension until the end of the season, subject to a work permit.

The loose-head has established himself as a favourite at Scotstoun with his hard-hitting approach around the breakdown and his work ethic in training.

Tom Ryder and Tim Swinson form a familiar second row pairing for the PRO12 clash while skipper Wilson is joined in a strong back-row trio by Josh Strauss and John Barclay, who has recovered from the hamstring injury suffered away at Castres at the start of December.

Niko Matawalu teams up with Scott Wight at half-back with Graeme Morrison forming a midfield partnership with Alex Dunbar who has passed his return to play protocols following a head knock while on duty with Scotland A.

There is threat and pace on the wings with Byron McGuigan being given the chance to start on the wing with Rory Lamont making a welcome return from injury on the right wing.

Peter Murchie completes the line up at full-back after being with the Scotland squad at Twickenham last weekend.

Townsend commented: "We were very keen to keep Ofa involved with the squad as he made an excellent impact since he joined us. He brings yet another dimension to our game and is an outstanding person who has fitted in so well at the club and worked hard to improve. It's great news that he's agreed to extend his contract. The return of John Barclay and Rory Lamont from injury is also a real boost for us.""

"I"m also delighted that Ryan Wilson is able to captain the side for the first time. He has displayed leadership throughout this season and has produced a run of consistent performances. I thought all of those who were involved in the Scotland A game were terrific and showed real fight but we"ll need the same level of intensity this weekend as well if we"re to leave Italy with the win."

Glasgow Warriors team to face Zebre at Stadie XXV Aprile on Sunday, 10 February (kick off 3.05 local time, 2.05pm GMT) Live on BBC Alba.

15 Peter Murchie_ _
14 Rory Lamont
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Graeme Morrison
11 Byron McGuigan
10 Scott Wight
9 Niko Matawalu_

8 Ryan Wilson (c)" _ _ """""""""""""""""""_ _ _ _ _ _
7 John Barclay
6 Josh Strauss
5 Tim Swinson
4 Tom Ryder
3 Jon Welsh
2 Gerwyn Price
1 Gordon Reid

16 Fraser Brown
17 Ed Kalman
18 Ofa Fainga"anuku
19 Nick Campbell
20 James Eddie
21 Sean Kennedy
22 Finn Russell
23 Fraser Thomson

Not considered for selection due to injury: Mike Cusack (shoulder), Chris Cusiter(shoulder),Chris Fusaro (groin), Finlay Gillies (neck), Angus MacDonald (neck), Tommy Seymour (ill), DTH Van Der Merwe (head).