Need to Know: Ospreys v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 2.30 at Liberty Stadium, Sunday 31st January
Live on BBC Alba

Team Talk
Limited options for Toony Tombola this week with Fraser Lyle the only fit and available full-time squad member in the backs not in the 23. Despite this Glasgow have only once this season put out a side with more previous appearances for the club, with no less than 6 Warrior Centurions starting and another on the bench.


15 Dan Evans
14 Tom Grabham
13 Owen Watkin
12 Josh Matavesi
11 Eli Walker
10 Sam Davies
9 Brendon Leonard (c)
15 Peter Murchie
14 Lee Jones
13 Taqele Naiyarovoro
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Duncan Weir
9 Grayson Hart

1 Nicky Smith
2 Sam Parry
3 Dimitri Arhip
4 Rynier Bernardo
5 Rory Thornton
6 Joe Bearman
7 Sam Underhill
8 Dan Baker

1 Ryan Grant
2 Pat MacArthur
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Greg Peterson
5 Leone Nakarawa
6 Rob Harley
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Ryan Wilson (c)

16 Scott Otten
17 Gareth Thomas
18 Ma’afu Fia
19 Adam Beard
20 Olly Cracknell
21 Tom Habberfield
22 Ben John
23 JJ Engelbrecht

16 James Malcolm
17 Gordon Reid
18 D’Arcy Rae
19 Josh Strauss
20 James Eddie
21 Ali Price
22 Gregor Hunter
23 Glenn Bryce

Glasgow Greetings:
No new faces but the Warriors do welcome Rory Hughes, D’Arcy Rae and Gregor Hunter back into the squad for the first time since October.

Matchday Milestones:
No significant events to note this week.

Warriors One to Watch:
With his 100th appearance; the announcement of his departure to Edinburgh at the end of the season; time in camp with the Scotland squad; and now back with Glasgow to face the Ospreys, it’s been a busy week for Duncan Weir. The man they call Meatball will have a big responsibility as the most experienced player in the backline and his goalkicking is likely to be essential to any chance of the Warriors picking up any points. He will have his hands full containing Sam Davies but equally he has the opportunity to bring some pretty big strike runners into the match if he can get his passing game going.

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

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Ospreys:

  • 6 wins, 1 loss. 2 Try BPs. 26 points out of a possible 35.
  • Last season’s defeat at the Liberty Stadium ended a run of 7 consecutive victories for the Warriors against the Os.

Last season’s match-up:

Carries by Glasgow players – the lowest of any game last season. The Warriors again demonstrated that torrential downpours are not where they flourish. Unfortunately the forecast is for persistent rain in Swansea on Sunday…

Turnovers conceded by Glasgow. Despite having less of the ball than the Ospreys the Warriors gave it away more – at over twice the rate of their Welsh opponents. Ball retention will be key if the weather is poor.

Offloads by the Fijiweegies, Niko Matawalu and Leone Nakarawa – the rest of the side contributed just 1. Glasgow’s offloading numbers are down on last season and in general their play has been a little more conservative. It will be interesting to see how much freedom Gregor Townsend gives his squad with so many first choice players away.

Home and Away:
Glasgow have a winning record at the Liberty Stadium in the Pro 12 era, leading the head to head 3 victories to 2. The Warriors have only won once in 4 away trips this season while Ospreys home ground has not been the fortress of old with 3 defeats in 6 matches.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU, 67th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Leighton Hodges, Wayne Davies (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Gwyn Bowden (WRU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

Having gone almost 2 years without refereeing a Glasgow game Mr. Fitzgibbon is making up for lost time with his 3rd appearance in the middle for a Warriors’ game this season. Unusually this match will mean he has officiated both this campaign’s clashes between these 2 sides. Toony’s charges will be hoping he doesn’t feel the need to even the score after awarding twice as many penalties against the Ospreys and sin binning 2 of their players in the Scotstoun fixture in November.

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