Need to Know: Glasgow v Blues Match Preview

KO 2.30 at Scotstoun Stadium, Sunday 6 March
Live on BBC ALBA

Team Talk
After an absence of 85 days (only 3 weeks shorter than the break between seasons!) Glasgow finally return to Scotstoun looking to maintain their playoff push. The Toony Tombola spins again and comes up with 7 changes and a a positional switch from the side that battled past the Dragons in the previous round. A youthful Blues side is packed with talent but their recent form has also reflected the inconsistency inherent in a 23 short of experience in some key positions.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Peter Murchie
14 Lee Jones
13 Mark Bennett
12 Alex Dunbar
11 Rory Hughes
10 Duncan Weir
9 Henry Pyrgos (c)
BLUES
15 Rhys Patchell
14 Blaine Scully
13 Aled Summerhill
12 Reynold Lee-Lo
11 Dan Fish
10 Jarrod Evans
9 Tomos Williams

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Greg Peterson
6 Rob Harley
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Leone Nakarawa

1 Thomas Davies
2 Matthew Rees (c)
3 Salesi Ma’afu
4 Jarrad Hoeata
5 James Down
6 Josh Turnbull
7 Ellis Jenkins
8 Manoa Vosawai

16 James Malcolm
17 J Yanuyanutawa
18 Sila Puafisi
19 Scott Cummings
20 Simone Favaro
21 Mike Blair
22 Sam Johnson
23 Glenn Bryce

16 Kristian Dacey
17 Corey Domachowski
18 Taufa’ao Filise
19 Macauley Cook
20 Josh Navidi
21 Lewis Jones
22 Jarrod Evans
23 Garyn Smith

Glasgow Greetings:
No brand new faces but Henry Pyrgos makes his first appearance of the season and will be the 55th player to run out for the club in 2015/16. On the flip side the Warriors will be without Taqele Naiyaravoro for the first time since the 2nd of October as his run of 17 consecutive games comes to a halt. Sila Puafisi takes over as the man with the longest active streak at 16 matches.

Matchday Milestones:
280 days after his last game for the Warriors, Henry Pyrgos becomes the 6th player this season to notch up 100 matches and get his picture in the newly updated Centurion Way. Alex Dunbar makes his 75th appearance for Glasgow.

Warriors One to Watch:
Alex Dunbar will be keen to get a run of games under his belt after an injury interrupted season. He showed flashes last week of the kind of power and skill levels that had him appearing on many experts ‘Best centres in the 6 Nations’ lists last season. His physicality will provide an outlet for Duncan Weir in the face of the rush defence and he’ll provide a contrast with the silky skills of Mark Bennett (his centre partner for just the 2nd time in the last 13 months for Glasgow).

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

Toony’s Track Record…
…against the Blues:

  • Regular season – 7 wins, 0 losses. 3 Try BPs. 31 points out of a possible 35 (89%)
  • Only the 2 Italian sides have provided a better source of points during Gregor Townsend’s time at the club.

Last season’s match-up:

2
Retiring Warriors the match was supposed to celebrate – Dougie and Al. The old fellas didn’t get the memo though, deciding they wanted one more last hurrah and ended up playing their part in the Grand Final in Belfast!

4
Offloads by Tim Swinson. This is a much underrated part of the Gun Show’s game and only Nakarawa and Matawalu threw more per game last season. Gregor Townsend will be looking for his players to kepp the ball alive in contact (when it’s on) to get the Warriors on the front foot.

1,008
Total metres gained by both teams – the only time in any of Glasgow’s matches last seasons that the 2 sides combined for over a kilometre with ball in hand. The Warriors and the Blues both like to move the ball so Scotstoun could be in for an open game on Sunday.

Home and Away:
Glasgow have only lost once in their last 25 Pro 12 games at Scotstoun. Nobody in the league has a bigger differential between their home form and away form than the Blues. They have only lost twice on the artificial pitch at the Arms Park but have just a single win in 8 attempts on their travels.

Officials:
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU, 59th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Lloyd Linton, Dunx McClement (both SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (SRU)
TMO: Iain Ramage (SRU)

As befits one of the league’s most experienced officials, Mr. Phillips has been regular in Glasgow games over the past 2 seasons, refereeing them 5 times. His penalty counts over those fixtures are almost level pegging for and against the Warriors and similar to other senior refs in the league he’s below average for total penalties awarded. He differs from the likes of Owens and Clancy in being more willing to go to his pocket – Glasgow will need to be aware of this if they want to avoid adding to the 17 yellow cards they’ve already racked up this season.

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