Need to Know: Ulster v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 7.30 at Kingspan Stadium, Friday 12 February
Live on Sky

Team Talk
Just 4 players return for Glasgow from the last time these 2 clubs met – the Pro 12 playoff semi-final – with Ryan Grant the only Warriors’ player to start both fixtures. The home team can call on 14 of the 23 who lost out in dramatic fashion at Scotstoun in May as they look to maintain their position at the top of the league. Despite the pressure on their resources Glasgow have won 9 of their 12 games under head coach Gregor Townsend during 6 Nations’ windows. In those dozen fixtures there has only been one occasion when they failed to gather at least 1 league point. Potentially the best performance of the season so far may be required to ensure they don’t leave the Kingspan Stadium empty-handed.

Teams

ULSTER
15 Stuart Olding
14 Craig Gilroy
13 Darren Cave
12 Stuart McCloskey
11 Jacob Stockdale
10 Sam Windsor
9 Ruan Pienaar
GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Peter Murchie
14 Lee Jones
13 Glenn Bryce
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Gregor Hunter
9 Ali Price

1 Callum Black
2 Rob Herring
3 Ricky Lutton
4 Alan O’Connor
5 Franco van der Merwe
6 Robbie Diack
7 Sean Reidy
8 Nick Williams

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

16 John Andrew
17 Kyle McCall
18 Bronson Ross
19 Chris Henry
20 Roger Wilson
21 Paul Marshall
22 Paddy Jackson
23 Sam Arnold

16 James Malcolm
17 Alex Allan
18 D’Arcy Rae
19 Josh Strauss
20 Chris Fusaro
21 Grayson Hart
22 Peter Horne
23 Taqele Naiyarovoro

Glasgow Greetings:
A first Warriors start for Gregor Hunter whose previous game time for the club amounts to 5 minutes away to Munster! He does however have 14 previous appearances (8 starts) for Edinburgh in the Pro 12.

Matchday Milestones:
No significant events to note this week.

Warriors One to Watch:
A powerful winger on a hot streak – not Mr. T but rather Rory Hughes who brought his scoring touch back with him from his loan spell at London Scottish and nailed his first ever Glasgow try last week against the Ospreys. Rory has looked quicker and more powerful this season and with a hunger to get on the scoresheet (just don’t ask him where a full back is supposed to stand!) With the Warriors likely to need to score tries if they want to come away from the Kingspan with anything at all then Rozza’s contributions may well be crucial.

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

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Ulster:

  • 4 wins, 2 losses. 2 Try BPs. 18 points out of a possible 30.
  • Last season’s defeat at the Kingspan Stadium was Glasgow’s only loss in the opening 2 months of the campaign.

Last season’s match-up:

20
Margin of victory for Ulster – the largest for any side over the Warriors in their championship winning season. It was one of those games (that tomorrow night’s side cannot afford to repeat) where Glasgow were slightly flat and the hosts took advantage in fine style.

19
Difference in metres run between the 2 sides. While Glasgow made similar ground to the hosts they were wasteful with their opportunities. By contrast Ulster made sure to take their chances. It’s been a failing on a number of occasions this season but the Warriors have to be more clinical if they want to be competitive during the 6 Nations.

12
Penalties conceded by Glasgow (plus a yellow card) – Ulster conceded just 7. With Ruan Pienaar starting and Paddy Jackson off the bench the Ulstermen have a significant advantage in terms of goal kicking so discipline will be another key area for the Warriors.

Home and Away:
Glasgow have managed a couple of hard fought victories in Belfast during the Pro 12 era, but trail in the head to head by 3 to 2. The Warriors have only won once in 5 away trips this season while Ulster have only lost once on their home patch in the league.

Officials:
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 47th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway, Paul Haycock (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)

This will be the second time around for the Warriors and Mr. Mitrea this season. The Romanian / Italian whistler hammered Glasgow in the crime count away against the Blues – 18 penalties conceded to 10 won plus 2 yellow cards. Following on from a similarly indisciplined outing against Connacht in 2014/15 (15 penalties conceded to 5 won plus 2 yellow cards) Friday night’s team are going to have to find a way to stay on the referee’s good side or their efforts to win will be severely hampered…

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One comment

  1. I believe the stats say that there is a 60% better chance of the home team getting a penalty from Mitrea than the away team. Discipline will need to be tight tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

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