Glasgow Warriors: Four Scotland players released back for match against Benetton - with potential for two debuts

Scotland have released four players back from the national squad to represent Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s URC match against Benetton.
Kyle Steyn, left, and Rufus McLean have left the Scotland camp to play against Benetton on Friday.Kyle Steyn, left, and Rufus McLean have left the Scotland camp to play against Benetton on Friday.
Kyle Steyn, left, and Rufus McLean have left the Scotland camp to play against Benetton on Friday.

Prop Murphy Walker, winger Rufus McLean and centres Stafford McDowell and Kyle Steyn have all been selected in Franco Smith’s starting XV for the visit of his former club to Scotstoun. Steyn captains what looks, on paper, to be a competitive team despite the absences of Zander Fagerson, Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Scott Cummings, Richie Gray, Jack Dempsey, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Ali Price, Ross Thompson, Sione Tuipulotu and Ollie Smith, who have all remained in the Scotland set-up. Alex Samuel, a Scotland Under-20 internationalist, will make his Warriors debut at second row.

Smith has made 11 changes to the team that lost in Durban to Cell C Sharks two weeks ago. Oli Kebble and Fraser Brown join Murphy in the front row, Sintu Manjezi partners Samuel at lock, with Ryan Wilson, Sione Vailanu and Gregor Brown making up the pack. In the back line, scrum-half Jamie Dobie links up with Domingo Miotti, McDowell and Steyn fill the centre berths, McLean and Sebastian Cancelliere are on the wings and Josh McKay is at full-back. Another Scotland U-20 internationalist in Euan Ferrie is likely to make his debut from the bench at second row.

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Glasgow were inactive last weekend following the postponement of their match against Lions due to a sickness bug ravaging the squad, while Benetton lost 44-22 to Bulls in Treviso. However, Glasgow will be wary of their Italian opponents, who overpowered them 33-11 on the opening day of the URC campaign, which was Smith’s first competitive match in charge of the Warriors.

“After a disrupted few weeks everyone is looking forward to getting back to playing rugby in front of our home crowd tomorrow evening,” said Smith. “It’s great to be able to welcome Jamie Dobie back into the side and we’re looking forward to seeing Alex [Samuel] and Euan [Ferrie] earn their debuts. It is another challenge – Benetton out-performed us in the first week and we need to be at our best to rectify that tomorrow at Scotstoun in front of our home crowd.”

Glasgow Warriors: Josh McKay; Sebastian Cancelliere, Kyle Steyn (c), Stafford McDowall, Rufus McLean, Domingo Miotti, Jamie Dobie; Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown, Murphy Walker, Sintu Manjezi, Alex Samuel, Ryan Wilson, Gregor Brown, Sione Vailanu. Replacements: Johnny Matthews, Nathan McBeth, Simon Berghan, JP du Preez, Lewis Bean, Euan Ferrie, Sean Kennedy, Tom Jordan.

Benetton: Rhyno Smith; Ignacio Mendy, Joaquin Riera, Marco Zanon, Mattia Bellini, Giacomo Da Re, Dewaldt Duvenage (c); Nahuel Tetaz, Federico Zani, Tiziano Pasquali, Scott Scrafton, Carl Wegner, Giovanni Pettinelli, Sebastian Negri, Henry Time-Stowers. Replacements: Manuel Arroyo, Thomas Gallo, Filippo Alongi, Marco Lazzaroni, Abraham Steyn, Alessandro Izekor, Alessandro Garbisi, Marcus Watson.

Referee: Referee: Craig Evans (WRU).

Match details: Friday, 7.35pm, URC round 7, Scotstoun Stadium, live on Premier Sports.