Benetton Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby
Date: Sat 2nd March 2019
Venue: Stadio Monigo
Edinburgh are in a bit of a fix with Cockers saying they’ll probably need 4 wins out of the remaining fixtures to get a decent playoff spot, but of the two Scottish team coaches he’s probably in slightly better shape in terms of the talent coming back onstream either from light international duty or long term injury. Both teams are far from full strength but are peppered with internationals.
In Edinburgh’s case that means he has Ben Toolis available on the bench and Chris Dean and James Johnstone back in harness, but quick injury turnarounds for WP Nel and Hamish Watson provide a further boost for Cockerill, and more than likely Gregor Townsend if they make it through the weekend. Mark Bennett continues his long term recovery on the bench and the picture has changed a little in the Edinburgh midfield since he was injured.
Youngster Jack Blain is set to make his Edinburgh competitive debut on the wing, holding the distinction of being the first player born in the 2000s to play for Edinburgh.
Edinburgh will be targeting this as a possible win but Treviso is an increasingly hard place to get a result as the rise of Italian credibility in this competition slowly continues.
Benetton Rugby: Luca Sperandio, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Marco Zanon, Alberto Sgarbi, Monty Ioane, Ian McKinley, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nicola Quaglio, Tomas Baravalle, Marco Riccioni, Irne Herbst, Niccolo Cannone, Marco Lazzaroni, Giovanni Pettinelli, Toa Halafihi.
Replacements: Hame Faiva, Derrick Appiah, Tiziano Pasquali, Robert Barbieri, Marco Barbini, Giorgio Bronzini, Antonio Rizzi, Tommaso Benvenuti.
Edinburgh Rugby: Tom Brown, Damien Hoyland, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Jack Blain, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Willem Nel, Fraser McKenzie, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Crosbie, Hamish Watson, Ally Miller.
Replacements: Ross Ford, Rory Sutherland, Pietro Ceccarelli, Ben Toolis, Senitiki Nayalo, Nathan Fowles, Simon Hickey, Mark Bennett.
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)
Unavailable due to injury: Lewis Carmichael; John Barclay; Luke Hamilton; Viliame Mata; Matt Scott; Dougie Fife; Duhan van der Merwe
Unavailable due to international selection: Simon Berghan; Magnus Bradbury; Allan Dell; Grant Gilchrist; Darcy Graham; Blair Kinghorn; Stuart McInally; Jamie Ritchie
Zebre Rugby Club v Glasgow Warriors
Date: Sat 2nd March 2019
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ruaridh Jackson will make his 150th appearance for Glasgow in a team that also features Adam Hastings starting at standoff, with a perhaps an outside chance to start next week against Wales if Finn doesn’t make it through another weekend of Top14 – assuming he’s even fit to play for Racing.
It’s a far cry from Glasgow’s top back division otherwise, with a lot of young guns looking to make their names while the stars are away.
Up front it is a bit more familiar and certainly more experienced courtesy of Rob Harley and Tim Swinson, with Zander Fagerson like Hastings (and Watson and Nel for Edinburgh) looking to get back into that Scotland squad quickly.
Hopefully Glasgow will get the away win and keep that momentum going despite considerable disruption to their team.
Zebre Rugby: Francois Brummer, Gabriele di Giulio, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Castello, Jamie Elliott, Carlo Canna, Josh Renton, Daniele Rimpelli, Oliviero Fabiani, Roberto Tenga, Samuele Ortis, Dave Sisi, James Brown, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Renato Giammarioli.
Replacements:Massimo Ceciliani, Danilo Fischetti, Matteo Nocera, Apisai Tauyavuca, Jacopo Bianchi, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Boni, Paula Balekana.
Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson, Robbie Nairn, Kyle Steyn, Stafford MacDowell, Rory Hughes, Adam Hastings, Nick Frisby, Oli Kebble, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Alex Allan, D’arcy Rae, Bruce Flockhart, Adam Ashe, Nikola Matawalu, Brandon Thomson, Patrick Kelly.
Referee: Andy Brace (IRFU)
Unavailable players: Siua Halalnukonuka (head), George Horne (shoulder), Callum Gibbins (ankle/knee), Stuart Hogg (shoulder), Huw Jones (knee), Lee Jones (knee), Lelia Masaga (illness), Matt Smith (shoulder), DTH van der Merwe (shoulder), Ryan Wilson (knee).
Unavailable due to international selection: Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, Nick Grigg, Pete Horne, Sam Johnson, Ali Price, Tommy Seymour (all Scotland). Tevita Tameilau (USA)
Also in action this weekend around the leagues: Sean Maitland (Sarries), Byron McGuigan and Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks), Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Scarlets).
Still injured: David Denton (Leicester), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), Sam Skinner (Exeter)