Intrigue as Glasgow Warriors prepare to unleash new winger against Zebre Parma

Danny Wilson will unleash Sebastian Cancelliere on Zebre on Saturday as Glasgow Warriors look to attack the Italian club on the flanks.

Sebastián Cancelliere will make his debut for Glasgow Warriors against Zebre in Parma. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

With Cancelliere on one wing and Rufus McLean on the other there will be no lack of pace in the Warriors side in Parma.

A bigger concern is the back row, with coach Wilson losing both Jack Dempsey and Matt Fagerson to illness. Dempsey, the 14-times capped Australia international, has been outstanding since moving to the club in the summer while Fagerson only returned to the team last weekend as a substitute following surgery on his broken arm.

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In the pair’s absence, captain Ryan Wilson moves to No 8 and Ally Miller comes in at blindside for his first start since switching from Edinburgh. Rory Darge continues at openside.

Sebastian Cancelliere in action for Argentine Super Rugby side, the Jaguares. Picture: Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images

Cancelliere has been away with the Argentina national team but didn’t see much action save for a substitute’s appearance against South Africa back in August. He arrived in Glasgow earlier this month and Danny Wilson is excited to see him make his debut in Italy.

“He has a huge amount of pace, and I think with him on one wing and Rufus on the other that brings real pace to our flank and our outside backs,” said the coach.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing how he goes. Obviously he’s come off the back of a period with Argentina. He didn’t play much rugby there, so he’s really keen to get back playing.”

He comes into the team in place of Kyle Steyn who is being rested by Wilson who has one eye on next week’s game against Leinster and is also mindful of the autumn Tests.

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Sam Johnson isn’t risked after last week’s head knock which means a return to the side for Sione Tuipulotu, but at inside centre.

There’s a double change at half-back, with experienced heads George Horne and Duncan Weir starting ahead of Jamie Dobie and Ross Thompson who are on the bench, a role reversal from last week’s win over the Lions.

The front row is also freshened up as Johnny Matthews starts ahead of Fraser Brown at hooker and Oli Kebble makes his return after ankle surgery, but at tighthead as Jamie Bhatti continues at loosehead.

It is Glasgow’s first game in Italy since the horror-show against Benetton in Treviso in April. The Warriors lost 46-19 that afternoon, prompting much soul-searching but they bounced back to win their remaining four matches of the season.

“It was a big turning point for us, if I’m honest, a big wake up call,” said Wilson. “It was the catalyst to go on and we didn’t lose a game after that.

“It kind of gave us what we needed at that time - a realisation that you can’t go to places like Treviso and not be on top of your game. And it’s the same at Zebre - we can’t go there without being on top of our game.

“It’s a big challenge against a good side who are very difficult to beat away from home - both those sides are. We know that and respect that and we need to be mentally and emotionally on top of our game as well as physically if we’re going to have a chance of coming out with a win.”

Zebre Parma v Glasgow Warriors (United Rugby Championship, today 1pm, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi)

Zebre: Junior Laloifi; Pierre Bruno, Giulio Bisegni (c), Tommaso Boni, Asaeli Tuivuaka; Carlo Canna, Alessandro Fusco; Danilo Fischetti, Luca Bigi, Matteo Nocera, David Sisi, Andrea Zambonin, Maxime Mbandà, Renato Giammarioli, Giovanni Licata.

Subs: Oliviero Fabiani, Andrea Lovotti, Eduardo Bello, Cristian Stoian, Luca Andreani, Marcello Violi, Paolo Pescetto, Erich Cronjé.

Glasgow: Cole Forbes; Sebastian Cancelliere, Nick Grigg, Sione Tuipulotu, Rufus McLean; Duncan Weir, George Horne; Jamie Bhatti, Johnny Matthews, Oli Kebble, Lewis Bean, Richie Gray, Ally Miller, Rory Darge, Ryan Wilson (c).

Subs: Fraser Brown, Brad Thyer, Enrique Pieretto, Rob Harley, Thomas Gordon, Sean Kennedy, Ross Thompson, Stafford McDowall.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)

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