Dave Rennie has put a pretty strong team together for the visit to Zebre in Parma over the weekend with a new midfield pairing of Nick Grigg and Huw Jones. Interestingly Jones played quite a lot at 12 for Western Province but is being kept at 13 here where Grigg usually plays. Possibly with Scotland in mind, or possibly because Grigg can fill a pocket-sized basher role at 12 while Alex Dunbar is listed injured.
Other points of note: Brandon Thomson is coming onstream just in time for the Six Nations when Finn Russell and Pete Horne are both likely to be absent. And Adam Ashe reappears on the bench too after ankle surgery. Remember, he looked pretty handy in the very early stages of the season. Will he come into the reckoning for Scotland, or might Matt Fagerson also recently returned from injury? Could be too soon for either but with Ryan Wilson and John Hardie possibly unavailable, who knows…?
Of slight worry for Gregor Townsend will be the injury list, with several players who he will hope to include in his Scotland squad hiding in there. Callum Gibbins has had to undergo surgery and faces up to 12 weeks on the sidelines, which won’t bother him as much as Rennie but the news that Scott Cummings and Zander Fagerson suffered hand and foot injuries in training earlier this week will. Both face a recovery period of “up to eight” weeks.
Still, it is a strong enough side that they should be able to do some damage over in Italy and maintain their position atop the league heading into more European fixtures and the Six Nations period – the next round of PRO14 is not until the 9th of February.
Glasgow: 15. Ruaridh Jackson, 14. Lee Jones, 13. Huw Jones, 12. Nick Grigg, 11. Niko Matawalu, 10. Finn Russell, 9. George Horne; 1. Alex Allan, 2. Pat MacArthur, 3. Siua Halanukonuka, 4. Greg Peterson, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Rob Harley (Capt), 7. Chris Fusaro, 8. Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: 16. James Malcolm, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. D’Arcy Rae, 19. Kiran McDonald, 20. Adam Ashe, 21. Henry Pyrgos, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Brandon Thomson.
Zebre: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Rory Parata, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Castello (capt), 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Renato Giammarioli; 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà, 5 George Biagi, 4 David Sisi, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Tommaso D’Apice, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Luhandre Luus, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Roberto Tenga, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Maicol Azzolini, 23 Ciaran Gaffney
Glasgow unavailable players: Brian Alainu’uise (knee), Fraser Brown (head) Scott Cummings (hand), Alex Dunbar (knee), Zander Fagerson (foot), Callum Gibbins (achillies), Stuart Hogg (hip), Rory Hughes (shoulder), Sam Johnson (jaw), Lelia Masaga (knee), Leo Sarto (shoulder), Tommy Seymour (foot) Tim Swinson (hand) Ratu Tagive (Achilles), George Turner (suspension) and Ryan Wilson (ankle).
Live on BBC ALBA, kick-off 3.30pm (UK time)