Need to Know: Warriors v Connacht match preview

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 11th September
Buy tickets online
Live on BBC2 Scotland & TG4

Six changes from last week and the first appearance this season of a 6-2 split on the bench. Glasgow’s backline options are receding faster than a young Gregor Townsend’s hairline…

Teams

15. G. Bryce
14. Bulumakau
13. Murchie
12. Lyle
11. Jones
10. Clegg
9. Blair
1. Allan
2. MacArthur
3. Cusack
4. Cummings
5. Low
6. Harley
7. Fusaro
8. Ashe
15. O’Halloran
14. Poolman
13. Parata
12. Aki
11. Healy
10. Carty
9. Cooney
1. Buckley
2. McCartney
3. Ah You
4. Roux
5. Browne
6. Muldoon (captain)
7. Fox-Matamua
8. Masterson

16. K. Bryce
17. Yanuyanutawa
18. Fagerson
19. Eddie
20. Holmes
21. Blake
22. Hart
23. Wight

16. Heffernan
17. Cooney
18. Bealham
19. Dillane
20. Marshall
21. Marmion
22. Ronaldson
23. Carr

Glasgow Greetings:

Junior Bulumakau is the latest player to make his debut and will be joined from the bench by the ninth Warriors virgin to pop their cherry this season, Hugh Blake. Three of the players who made their inaugural appearance from the bench last week now get a first start under their belts –  Rory Clegg, Mike Blair and Kieran Low.

Once Were Warriors:
No sign of former Glasgow lock Aly Muldowney (24 appearances) for Connacht but on the flip side Warriors coach Dan McFarland finds himself facing off against the club he left just 4 months ago.

Matchday Milestones:
James Eddie will make his 75th appearance as a substitute. Only Kevin ‘T-bone’ Tkachuk has featured in more matches off the bench for Glasgow’s finest.

Warriors One to Watch:
Junior Bulumakau. In last week’s defeat to the Scarlets the Glasgow backline appeared to be short of a powerful, pacy ball-carrier who could beat defenders and break the line. Junior should provide that and has already shown he knows his way to the try line.

Head to Head:
Back 3 – EVEN
Centres – ADV Connacht
Half Backs – ADV Glasgow
Front Row – ADV Connacht
Second Row – ADV Connacht
Back Row – ADV Glasgow

Toonie’s Track Record…
…against Connacht – 6 wins and no losses. 3 Try BPs. 27 points in total.

  • Only the Italian sides have provided a better source of league points in the Townsend era.
  • The sides’s 2 previous meetings in international windows have yielded no BPs for Glasgow and losing BPs on each occasion for the men from Galway in extremely tight games.

Last season’s match-up:

  • 1. Clean break by Euan Murray – his only one in 671 minutes of action last season. Oxygen was administered shortly thereafter.
  • 1. Try for Henry Pyrgos – his only try of the season until he doubled his tally in the Grand Final.
  • 5. Penalties won by Glasgow – the equal lowest total of the season. Connacht also only conceded 5 pens in the return fixture – their discipline means there will be few opportunities for easy points or field position.
  • 5. Glasgow lineouts – lowest of the season. Connacht keep the ball in hand or push deep up the middle with their kicking game and look to contain with a structured line on the chase.
  • 146. Tackles made by Glasgow – the most in any game at Scotstoun in 2014/15. Connacht hammer away at the defensive line, going through multiple phases with their big ball carriers looking to create mismatches or space out wide.

Home and Away:
Opening day defeat to the Scarlets snapped a 22 month, 20 game winning run at home in the Pro 12. Glasgow have only lost back to back home league games once in 3 seasons at Scotstoun.

Connacht only have 6 away wins from 22 games in the last 2 seasons, with 3 of those victories coming in Italy. The Westies have won just twice in Glasgow in the 14 years of the Pro 12 / Celtic League but with an almost full strength team will view this Friday’s game as a golden opportunity to improve that stat.

Officials:
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 33rd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White, Mike Adamson (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Iain Goodall (SRU)
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

Only Nigel Owens refereed more league games than Mr. Davies last season so he is clearly highly thought of within the Pro 12 hierarchy (make of that what you will!). He has reffed 5 Glasgow games in the last 2 seasons with the Warriors being on the right side of the average penalty count, conceding 9.2 per game and winning 13.0 per game. His card count of 1.6 per game is only slightly above the league average of 1.3. Proponents of quality (good-natured) banter are advised to turn their attention to the sidelines where former Warriors’ One Cap Wonder Mike ‘Mikey’ Adamson will be strutting his stuff as an assistant referee.

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One comment

  1. Reasonably happy with this one. Junior looked lively before injury forced him off. Game was as tight (tighter even) than previous meetings during international windows. Lineouts, penalties and tackles were all pretty consistent with expectations.

    Head to heads panned out pretty well although the Connacht advantage in the tight 5 was mainly in the set piece with the Glasgow 1-5 offering more around the park. Warriors back row edged a really good battle between 2 fine units. The home side’s half backs really were the difference in the first half and the disruption of Clegg moving to full back / wing contributed to Glasgow not maintaining their level from the opening forty. Full credit to Connacht though for coming back from 30-6 down – couldn’t fault their attitude at all.

    Like

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