Steyn returns for Rainbow Cup opener
Kyle Steyn will make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance for over a year this weekend, as the winger returns from long-term injury to take his place in the starting XV for tomorrow’s meeting with Benetton.
The Scotland international has been out of action for the club since last February’s trip to Leinster, with a combination of international duty, the COVID-19-enforced suspension of the 2019/20 season and injury having kept him sidelined.
Steyn is one of 18 internationals in Head Coach Danny Wilson’s matchday squad for Glasgow’s opening Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup match, which also features two potential debutants amongst the replacements.
Oli Kebble and Zander Fagerson are once again selected as the starting props, with George Turner named at hooker for the opening match of the new competition.
Richie Gray and Rob Harley continue their partnership in the second-row, having also started alongside each other in the Challenge Cup clash with Montpellier earlier this month.
The back-row sees Fraser Brown pack down at openside flanker in Glasgow colours for the first time since a victory over the Dragons in September 2016, as fellow co-captain Ryan Wilson and Tongan international Fotu Lokotui complete the pack.
After scoring on his return from injury against Benetton last month, George Horne is named at scrum-half, partnering Ross Thompson in the half-backs.
An all-Scotland midfield partnership sees Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg combine once more, the latter another to have scored on his last outing against tomorrow’s opponents.
Rufus McLean joins the returning Steyn in starting on the wing, whilst Cole Forbes makes his own return from injury to start at full-back for the first time in his Glasgow career.
FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy prop Tom Lambert and newly-signed back-rower Rory Darge could each make their Glasgow Warriors debuts this weekend, following both men being named on the bench for tomorrow’s clash.
Scotland U20 loose-head Lambert – who was also named in the matchday squad for January’s win over Edinburgh – is joined by Grant Stewart and D’arcy Rae as the front-row cover for the trip to Treviso.
Leone Nakarawa is selected in the 19 jersey, whilst 21-year-old Darge starts amongst the replacements after linking up with his new team-mates for the first time this week.
Ali Price rotates to the bench having started in Montpellier last time out, as Ian Keatley returns to one of his former stomping grounds in Glasgow colours for the first time.
The replacements are completed by Ollie Smith, who impressed with ball-in-hand during the victory over Benetton at Scotstoun last month.
Previewing the game, Head Coach Danny Wilson said: “The Rainbow Cup presents an opportunity for us to get back to playing rugby and it’s good to have the full squad together for this block of games.
“We’re pleased to be welcoming Kyle [Steyn] back from a long-term injury. He’s a powerful attacking threat and we look forward to seeing him back out in a Warriors jersey.
“It’s great to have a number of our young players included throughout the squad and it’s good to see the likes of Tom Lambert and Rory Darge selected in the matchday 23 for the first time.
“Our recent win against Benetton will not represent the challenge we will face. Benetton at home are a formidable challenge and we look forward to meeting that challenge in Italy tomorrow.”
Glasgow Warriors team to face Benetton in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup, Saturday 24 April, kick-off 1pm, live on Premier Sports 2. You can follow the action in our Live Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
1. Oli Kebble (56)
2. George Turner (57)
3. Zander Fagerson (98)
4. Richie Gray (58)
5. Rob Harley (247)
6. Fotu Lokotui (10)
7. Fraser Brown (105)
8. Ryan Wilson (C) (187)
9. George Horne (62)
10. Ross Thompson (9)
11. Kyle Steyn (26)
12. Sam Johnson (69)
13. Nick Grigg (86)
14. Rufus McLean (7)
15. Cole Forbes (2)
16. Grant Stewart (44)
17. Tom Lambert (0)
18. D’arcy Rae (83)
19. Leone Nakarawa (79)
20. Rory Darge (0)
21. Ali Price (94)
22. Ian Keatley (3)
23. Ollie Smith (6)
Unavailable for selection: Alex Allan, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Chris Fusaro, Adam Hastings, Huw Jones, Sean Kennedy, Kiran McDonald, Enrique Pieretto, Aki Seiuli, Tommy Seymour.