Need to Know: Dragons v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 7.35 at Rodney Parade, Friday 30th September
Live on BBC Alba

Team Talk
Plenty of changes in the Warriors side from the one which played Ulster with injuries to the back 5 of the pack really biting and rest protocols for Scotland players having to be managed. All of that pales into insignificance though in light of the front row selection that On Top Of The Moon has been waiting months for (not even joking), the one that means when the props are changed the description of the action can genuinely be “And Djustice for Al”.


15 Carl Meyer
14 Pat Howard
13 Sam Beard
12 Jack Dixon
11 Hallam Amos
10 Nick MacLeod
9 Sarel Pretorius
15 Peter Murchie
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Mark Bennett
12 Alex Dunbar
11 Rory Hughes
10 Finn Russell
9 Henry Pyrgos

1 Sam Hobbs
2 T Rhys Thomas
3 Brok Harris
4 Matthew Screech
5 Rynard Landman
6 Nick Crosswell
7 Nic Cudd
8 Lewis Evans (c)

1 Alex Allan
2 Corey Flynn
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Robert Harley
5 Jonny Gray (c)
6 Lewis Wynne
7 Fraser Brown
8 Josh Strauss

16 Rhys Buckley
17 Thomas Davies
18 Craig Mitchell
19 Cory Hill
20 Harrison Keddle
21 Charlie Davies
22 Angus O’Brien
23 Tom Prydie

16 Pat MacArthur
17 Djustice Sears-Duru
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Rob McAlpine
20 Matt Fagerson
21 Ali Price
22 Rory Clegg
23 Leonardo Sarto

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

Glasgow Greetings:
Djustice Sears-Duru and Rob McAlpine are both due to make long awaited debuts for the Warriors from the bench on Friday. DSD has been patient since signing in March and it’s been an even longer wait for Rob who was an EDP player with Glasgow in 2011/12 but didn’t see any game time back then. They would be the 7th and 8th debutants of the season – still some way short of the 19 new faces in the 2015/16 campaign.

Corey Flynn makes his inaugural start for the club – the last (former) All Black to do so was Angus MacDonald, almost 4 years ago to the day against Zebre. Centurion Peter Murchie and D’arcy Rae return to the matchday squad for the first time this season – Pete hasn’t featured in a competitive game for Glasgow since having to withdraw at half-time against Leinster on the 18th of March.

Matchday Milestones:
It’s 50th appearance time for both Mr. Adaptable, Fraser Brown and The Dancer, Finn Russell, 2 players who have featured heavily in the club’s recent renaissance. Ali Price hits an early marker with his 25th match for Glasgow and at the other end of the scale Rob Harley will start in black and blue for the 125th time, almost 40 more than anyone else in the current Warriors’ squad.

Warriors One to Watch:
As mentioned above it’s his 50th game for Glasgow and hooker Fraser Brown is celebrating by showing his versatility again as he starts the game at openside flanker. He has filled in at 7 on a number of occasions including Leinster at home in 2015/16, last week against Ulster and most famously as part of the break glass in case of emergency trio of 6. Nakarawa, 7. Brown, 8. Vernon that played against Bath in the Champions’ Cup. Very much a modern day mobile hooker it’s easy to see where the crossover in positions lies with Fraser’s breakdown work in particular a real benefit for the Warriors in the battle to win the contact area. Fraz was one of the standout performers in the latter part of last season after returning from injury and he has carried that form into the 2016/17 – he will need to be at his best to help the Warriors forwards overcome a tough, nuggety Dragons pack.

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Dragons:

  • 6 wins, 2 losses. 4 Try BPs, 1 Losing BP. 29 points out of a possible 40 (72%).
  • Double defeat to the Dragons in 2013/14 (a season in which Glasgow only lost 2 other Pro 12 regular season matches) should be all the reminder Gregor Townsend’s charges need as to what happens if the team do not get it right against the men of Gwent…

Last season’s match-up:

Penalties attempted by the Dragons – fortunately for Glasgow they were only successful with 5 kicks, otherwise the result might have been different. The home side didn’t make a single clean break in the game – the Warriors need to trust that their defence can contain the Dragons and not give away needless penalties.

Turnovers conceded by Glasgow. They weren’t helped by a pitch that was in poor condition but much of the Warriors’ attacking play was brought to a grinding halt by careless handling errors. With an all international backline this season’s side need to be moving the ball quickly and accurately to beat a Dragons defence that will be at its best and most organised in early phases of play.

Percentage of territory in Glasgow’s favour for the second half – they also had 71% possession. While they dominated and contained the Dragons in their own half there was a lack of penetration and it took a long time before the crucial score came. Gregor Townsend will probably be happier to see his side get in front early and control the game rather than allowing Newport/Gwent to sit in, defend a lead and make life difficult for the visitors.

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

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU, 14th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy (IRFU), Aled Evans (WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Gwyn Bowden (WRU)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (IRFU)

Mr. Brace has only refereed one previous Glasgow game. Given that was the 70-10 romp against Zebre at Scotstoun last season it’s hard to read to much into how that match was officiated. He was Mr. Average for cards in 2015/16 (at just under 1 per game) but has already sent 4 players to the sin bin in his 2 games so far this season. Watch out for former Connacht, Leicester and Munster player, Frank Murphy in the assistant referee role – an up-and-coming official who has been fast-tracked since the end of his playing career, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him as the man in the middle for a Pro 12 match within the next 12 months.

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