Glasgow’s hopes of overtaking Munster at the top of Pro14 Conference A with a resounding win against Zebre this afternoon have been boosted by the return of Adam Hastings and Zander Fagerson.
The stand-off and the tighthead prop have been released by Scotland to play for the Warriors after both were second-half substitutes in last week’s Six Nations defeat in France, and head coach Dave Rennie has not been given any restrictions from his Scotland counterpart Gregor Townsend about the amount of game time they can play.
“Gregor’s really good around that,” Rennie, pictured, said. “He’s obviously keen for these guys to get a bit of game time, which is the reason he’s released them. We have pretty good depth on the bench, so we aren’t expecting Zander to play 80.”
Fagerson’s younger brother Matt comes into the back row in place of Adam Ashe, while there are three other changes in personnel among the backs, besides the preference of Hastings over Brandon Thomson at No 10, from last week’s win over Connacht. Nick Frisby takes over at scrum-half from George Horne, who has a shoulder injury, Rory Hughes replaces Niko Matawalu on the left wing, and Robbie Nairn is named on the right wing. Kyle Steyn, who began at 14 last week, moves to centre to accommodate Nairn, replacing Paddy Kelly.
With a 14-point lead over Cardiff and Connacht in the conference, Glasgow are all but guaranteed a play-off place, and will now go all out to reclaim the top spot and the home semi-final that will go with it. “We want to keep winning and pushing Munster all the way,” added Rennie, whose team are a point behind the Irish province, who have a more demanding assignment today against Scarlets. “Munster are a good side and they may not slip up in the next wee while. We have to give ourselves every chance of getting to that No 1 spot. ”
Failure to finish top would mean an away semi-final against Conference B leaders Leinster. Rennie added: “Everyone knows that would be the toughest way to go to make it to the final – but if you have aspirations to win it then you’re going to have to beat them at some stage.”