Need to Know: Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 7.00 at Cardiff Arms Park, Friday 16th September
No TV coverage

Team Talk
Toony’s Tombola is still not up to full speed after its summer holidays – there are 6 new faces in the 23 from last week but 3 of those alterations are injury-enforced – so the coach has avoided wholesale changes. The returns of Josh Strauss (after injury) and Mark Bennett (after an Olympic holiday!) are particularly good news for the Warriors’ faithful.

The excellent Dan Fish is missing for Cardiff Blues but his replacement (Matthew Morgan) and Danny Wilson’s other changes – Lloyd Williams, Josh Turnbull and Sam Warburton – add plenty of experience to a strong lineup that won away to Munster last time out. The 2 sides combined have named 33 capped internationals in their ranks so the crowd at the Arms Park can be entitled to expect a high quality match.


15 Matthew Morgan
14 Alex Cuthbert
13 Cory Allen
12 Rey Lee-Lo
11 Tom James
10 Gareth Anscombe
9 Lloyd Williams
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Peter Horne
11 Lee Jones
10 Rory Clegg
9 Ali Price

1 Gethin Jenkins
2 Kristian Dacey
3 Taufa’ao Filise
4 George Earle
5 Josh Turnbull
6 Sam Warburton
7 Ellis Jenkins
8 Josh Navidi

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Robert Harley
7 Ryan Wilson
8 Josh Strauss

16 Matthew Rees
17 Rhys Gill
18 Scott Andrews
19 Macauley Cook
20 Nick Williams
21 Tomos Williams
22 Steven Shingler
23 Blaine Scully

16 Pat MacArthur
17 Alex Allan
18 Sila Puafisi
19 Greg Peterson
20 Lewis Wynne
21 Grayson Hart
22 Mark Bennett
23 Rory Hughes

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

Glasgow Greetings:
It’s a first Warriors’ start for Nick Grigg. It will also be Nick’s first appearance of the season – as is the case for Greg Peterson, Josh Strauss, Grayson Hart, Mark Bennett and Rory Hughes.

Matchday Milestones:
Jonny Gray starts for Glasgow for the 50th time in his career.

Warriors One to Watch:
Ali Price is a wee ball of energy and provides a very different challenge for the opposition than Henry Pyrgos. The artificial surface (and clear weather conditions forecast) at the Arms Park should suit the pace that Ali wants to play at and encourage him to look for opportunities to break. This sniping game should not only benefit Glasgow in terms of creating attacking positions but will also hopefully give a very strong Blues back row something to think about and keep some of the pressure off Rory Clegg and Peter Horne in the 10/12 channel. For any fans making the trip to Cardiff the East Stand Massive debuted their new chant last week and it might come in handy:

(To the tune of Oh What A Night)
“Oh, Ali Price
Just remember that he’s only wee
It’s no his fault he’s only 5 foot 3
What a player, Ali Price”

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Cardiff Blues:

  • League play – 8 wins, no losses. 3 Try BPs. 34 points in total (85%)
  • Champions Cup – no wins, 2 losses.
  • Only the Italian sides have provided more league points for Gregor Townsend’s men (Treviso – 37, Zebre 38).
  • The Champions’ Cup matches still stand as a stark reminder what can happen when the Warriors’ tactics and execution are not spot on – and this Cardiff Blues side have been on an upwards trajectory for some time now.

Last season’s match-up:

Penalties kicked by Rhys Patchell – the most scored against the Warriors in 2015/16. This was the second season in a row that Glasgow coughed up 6 kickable penalties to the Blues – and suffered the consequences. The Ginger Messiah may be gone but Cardiff still have plenty of goal-kicking talent to take advantage of any indiscretions

James Malcolm became the 51st player used by Glasgow when he came off the bench late on – in only the 7th game of the season. By contrast the Toony Tombola has only drawn out 32 names so far this season, the coach taking advantage of no RWC and a slightly shorter than average injury list to try and get the season off to a flying start.

Combined metres made by the 2 sides – the only game involving Glasgow last season where this stat went over the 1km mark. Maybe it was the pitch. Maybe it was the return of a number of World Cup stars. Maybe it was the gale force wind that forced the teams to avoid kicking the ball for 40 minutes each! Either way the Arms Park saw plenty of running rugby. Given the style in which both sides have started the season it might be fair to expect more of the same on Friday evening.

Home and Away:
Cardiff Blues last 5 (H) – W W W L W
Glasgow last 5 (A) – W W L L W

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU, 82nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway (IRFU), Simon Rees (WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Chris Morgan (WRU)

There can be no surprises for the Warriors (for both teams in fact) as one of the league’s most experienced officials takes charge. He is pretty much bang on a 20 penalties a match official – which is round about average for the league – but his fussiness and the precision he demands at the setpiece can make the game slower than most refs. Glasgow started last season with cards in 7 of their first 8 matches (11 yellows in total – plus 4 penalty tries). With a sin binning in each of their 2 opening fixtures of this campaign the coaching staff will be reinforcing the mantra that the Warriors must keep their discipline and not put themselves under extra pressure by having to play short-handed.

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