Italy’s near miss against Scotland in their Six Nations Championship encounter in Rome last weekend should serve as a reminder to Glasgow Warriors that their Pro14 meeting with Zebre this weekend is no foregone conclusion, according to their backs coach Kenny Murray.

“They’re a lot better team than they have been in recent years. Both Italian sides this year have shown that and they’ve also won games that they wouldn’t have won two or three years ago,” he noted.

“When we played them over there they scored three tries against us, one from a turnover and the other two showing they are really good when they get into your 22, where they’re really physical. They’ve got some decent players who’ll cause us problems if we don’t defend well.

“(Carlo) Canna’s a sharp 10, he’s got a decent running game and likes a show and go. They’ve got a pretty abrasive forward pack, so we know what’s coming when we play them here.”

While Glasgow will be resting some of their front-line Scotland players, knowing they will be required for the end-of-season play-offs, Murray said they are preparing to meet a full strength opposing team, including Matteo Minozzi, the full-back who, in the context of playing for a struggling team, was a serious contender for Six Nations player of the tournament as he registered four tries in five matches.

“We were talking about that this morning, the full-back, so we’ll wait and see. I think all the Italian boys will come back in,” said Murray.

And he paid tribute to the work being done by Italy’s head coach Conor O’Shea, the Irishman’s influence having extended beyond the national team and into their two Pro14 representatives.

“If you watch their games, the coaches they’ve got in the pro sides as well as the national team, they’re trying to play rugby and playing a lot more than they played before,” said Murray.

“Zebre now when we preview them are doing really well from turnover attack and counter-attack. I think Conor O’Shea’s got an influence on that and trying to play the game. Even at the weekend when you watch them play against Scotland, for long parts of that game they played some really good rugby at times. You can see that definitely in their two games.

“So, they’re bringing players through. I thought Tommy Allan was outstanding at the weekend. He’s got a real attacking game now. Canna’s got that ability to pick teams off, so I definitely agree that they’re on an upward slope.

“All you need to do is look at results. They’re beating teams now that they wouldn’t have before so they will be a challenge for us this week.”