Need to Know: Glasgow v Munster Match Preview

KO 7.35 at Rugby Park, Friday 19 February
Live on Sky

Team Talk
Only 9 of the 30 players who kicked off the Pro 12 Grand Final last May are named in their sides respective starting line-ups for Friday night’s league clash. Gregor Townsend makes 9 changes to the XV that took on Ulster, taking advantage of 4 more Scotland squad members being available and rotating in 5 players who benched at the Kingspan. Munster also benefit from the release of 3 Ireland squad members and their side has a more settled look – although they are coming off the back of a short (5 day) turnaround from their defeat at home to Ospreys.


15 Peter Murchie
14 Taqele Naiyarovoro
13 Glenn Bryce
12 Peter Horne
11 Sean Lamont
10 Duncan Weir
9 Ali Price
15 Andrew Conway
14 Darren Sweetnam
13 David Johnston
12 Rory Scannell
11 Ronan O’Mahony
10 Ian Keatley
9 Tomas O’Leary

1 Gordon Reid
2 James Malcolm
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Tim Swinson
5 Leone Nakarawa
6 Rob Harley
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Josh Strauss (c)

1 Dave Kilcoyne
2 Niall Scannell
3 John Ryan
4 Donnacha Ryan
5 Billy Holland (c)
6 Jack O’Donoghue
7 Tommy O’Donnell
8 Robin Copeland

16 Cameron Fenton
17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Greg Peterson
20 Simone Favaro
21 Grayson Hart
22 Fraser Lyle
23 Rory Hughes

16 Mike Sherry
17 James Cronin
18 Mario Sagario
19 Dave Foley
20 Conor Oliver
21 Duncan Williams
22 Johnny Holland
23 Cian Bohane

Glasgow Greetings:
Cameron Fenton could make his debut from the bench on Friday. He would become the 18th new Warrior this season, the 54th player to be used in the 2015/16 campaign and the 95th to take the field since the start of Gregor Townsend’s reign.

Matchday Milestones:
No significant events to note this week but 3 players move ever closer to becoming Warrior Centurions – Horne (98 appearances), Lamont (98) and Murchie (99).

Warriors One to Watch:
It’s been a tough season for Josh Strauss so far. Not becoming eligible to play for Scotland until the RWC had started meant his preparations were hampered and he’s not yet nailed down a Scotland jersey. International interruptions and injuries have reduced his impact for Glasgow as well. The matchup with Munster provides the perfect opportunity for the Beard to be Feared to show what his game is all about – powerful carrying that dominates the gain line and provides the kind of front foot ball that the Glasgow backline thrives on.

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

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Munster:

  • Playoffs – 2 wins.
  • Regular season – 3 wins, 4 losses. 1 Try BP. 2 Losing BPs. 15 points out of a possible 35 (43%)
  • The only side in the Pro 12 that Glasgow have collected a lower percentage of available points against is…Scarlets (40%).

Last season’s match-up:

Total number of tackles in the game. 4 of the last 5 Glasgow v Munster games have exceeded 300 tackles which means a big physical effort for the players. It also tests the coaches who have to time their substitutions to minimise drop off in workrate across the team.

Combined number of passes and offloads thrown by Leone Nakarawa. Outside of the 9-10 axis he was the main distributor of the ball for the Warriors. He was instrumental in both Glasgow’s scores and his all-round game will be essential again on Friday.

Total number of mauls in the game – surprisingly, both of them for Glasgow. With the maul currently being in the height of fashion there are likely to be far more of them for the crowd’s delectation down the road at Kilmarnock – zzzzzzzzzzz.

Home and Away:
Glasgow are defending a 100% winning record at Rugby Park. Munster’s only wins in their last 6 Pro 12 games came in their most recent fixtures outside of Cork and Limerick and they currently have the best away record in the league.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU, 18th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sam Grove-White, Mike Adamson (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Douglas Hunter (SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)

This will be the second meeting of the season for the Warriors and Mr. Whitehouse (Jr.)  – both of them being games against Munster. At Thomond Park the penalty count was level pegging at 13 apiece but Glasgow had 2 costly yellow cards (both reasonable decisions). The league average for cards is 1.1 per game – Mr. Whitehouse is at 1.6, with the away team more than twice as likely to be sin binned as the home side and 70% of his cards being issued in the second half. Maintaining discipline as the side tire will be essential and could then allow the Warriors to gain an advantage over the men from Cork.

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