Need to Know: Scarlets v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 7.45 at Parc y Scarlets, Saturday 19th December
Live on BT Sport

Team Talk
Gregor Townsend changes 6 of the starting XV and makes 3 positional switches from last week’s record Champions Cup win. Wayne Pivac tops the master though with 9 new faces and 2 positional alterations in the Scarlets side as they look to get some revenge for the previous round’s hammering.

Teams

SCARLETS
15 Michael Collins
14 Steffan Evans
13 Gareth Owen
12 Hadleigh Parkes
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Aled Thomas
9 Gareth Davies
GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Tommy Seymour
14 Taqele Naiyarovoro
13 Mark Bennett
12 Alex Dunbar
11 Sean Lamont
10 Finn Russell
9 Mike Blair

1 Rob Evans
2 Emyr Phillips (c)
3 Samson Lee
4 Jake Ball
5 Maselino Paulino
6 Lewis Rawlins
7 Jack Condy
8 Morgan Allen

1 Alex Allan
2 Fraser Brown
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Leone Nakarawa
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Rob Harley
7 Simone Favaro
8 Josh Strauss

16 Ken Owens
17 Wyn Jones
18 Rhodri Jones
19 George Earle
20 Tom Price
21 Aled Davies
22 Steve Shingler
23 Harry Robinson

16 Shalva Mamukashvili
17 Gordon Reid
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Tim Swinson
20 Ryan Wilson
21 Grayson Hart
22 Duncan Weir
23 Lee Jones

Once Were Warriors:
Glasgow’s record try scorer, DTH van der Merwe will face off against his old club for the very first time. The Glasgow defence will be desperate to keep him contained.

Matchday Milestones:
It’s been Toony’s Ton week here at On Top Of The Moon to celebrate the fact that Saturday’s fixture will be Gregor Townsend’s 100th game in charge of the Warriors. Not only that but this will also be the 100th European Cup match in the club’s history.

Warriors’ One to Watch:
Mark Bennett returns to the line-up and finds himself with some serious power in the positions either side of him. His quick feet will cause the Scarlets problems and he’s likely to benefit from the attention that the Glasgow backline’s 3 big ball carriers (Lamont, Dunbar and Naiyaravoro) will draw. On a more prosaic note he will also provide the long-range kicking option and the Warriors will be hoping he has his radar dialled in if called upon.

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

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Welsh sides in the Champions Cup:

    • 1 win and 2 losses. 1 try BP and 1 losing BP. 6 point in total out of a possible 15.
    • A chance for Glasgow to get back to an even record against Welsh teams. But Gregor’s men have only won once in three trips to the Parc y Scarlets…

Reaction to last week:
Glasgow
The Warriors will be looking for more of the same but are likely to opt for a more conservative plan aimed at getting the win under their belts rather than looking for the bonus point from minute one. The changes made solidify the side defensively and they will expect to be put under far more pressure this week with the Scarlets bolstered by reinforcements and playing at home. The additional turnover threat provided by Fraser Brown could be vital as this was one area where Glasgow weren’t able to dominate the previous game. With progression in Europe on a knife edge, nothing less than a win to back up last week will do if the Warriors are to stay in contention in Pool 3.

Scarlets
The Welsh team put out a stronger side this week but are still missing some crucial players. With European qualification gone for another season this match will be all about an element of revenge for last week but primarily Wayne Pivac’s men will be looking to get some momentum behind them as they head into a crucial festive season with upcoming derby fixtures that could define their Pro 12 challenge as they head into 2016. The lack of reinforcements in the back row could be crucial however with the Llanelli-based side’s first choices still sitting on the sidelines.

Officials:
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (Fra)
Assistant Referees: Maxime Chalon (Fra), Jean-Luc Rebollal (Fra)
TMO: Bruno Bessot (Fra)
Citing Commissioner: Mike Rafter (Eng)

The 3rd match of the European campaign with French officials for Glasgow and the rarity of getting the same referee twice in the group stages as M. Gauzere again takes charge. Ryan Grant’s absence through rotation is perhaps ‘convenient’ after the M. Gauzere seemed to decide he was the root cause of the scrum shambles against Northampton. The refereeing of the setpiece is unlikely to be as vital with 2 teams who are keen to run the ball but the officials’ interpretation at the breakdown could be equally significant this time out.

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