Need to Know: Scarlets v Glasgow Match Preview

KO 7.35 Parc y Scarlets, Saturday 5th November
Live on BBC Alba & S4C

Team Talk
A combination of player churn, injuries and international duties mean that only 6 of the Glasgow squad and 8 of the Scarlets played in the equivalent fixture back in Round 20 of last season. This will be the least experienced 23 that the Warriors have fielded this campaign – and over half their previous caps come from just 4 players. It’s a perennial problem for the Pro 12 teams, but Glasgow have been hit disproportionately hard by Test call-ups in recent years. The efforts of a patched together squad kept the club in the playoff hunt with more than half of the games in 2015/16 taking place during international windows and Gregor Townsend will be hoping his side can play above themselves again at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.


15 Aled Thomas
14 DTH van der Merwe
13 Steffan Hughes
12 Hadleigh Parkes (c)
11 Steffan Evans
10 Rhys Patchell
9 Jonathan Evans
15 Peter Murchie
14 Lee Jones
13 Mark Bennett
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Peter Horne (c)
9 Ali Price

1 Wyn Jones
2 Ryan Elias
3 Werner Kruger
4 Tom Price
5 David Bulbring
6 Aaron Shingler
7 Will Boyde
8 John Barclay

1 Djustice Sears-Duru
2 Pat MacArthur
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Tim Swinson
5 Brian Alainu’uese
6 Robert Harley (c)
7 Simone Favaro
8 Lewis Wynne

16 Emyr Phillips
17 Dylan Evans
18 Peter Edwards
19 Lewis Rawlins
20 James Davies
21 Aled Davies
22 Dan Evans
23 Gareth Owen

16 Corey Flynn
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 D’Arcy Rae
19 Matt Fagerson
20 LangiLangi Haupeakui
21 Grayson Hart
22 Rory Clegg
23 Nick Grigg

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

Once A Warrior:
This will be the third time that DTH van der Merwe has played against Glasgow since leaving after the 2014/15 season. The Canadian sensation has yet to taste victory against his former club – and much as he remains one of OTOTM’s all-time favourite players that’s a record that will hopefully continue this weekend. John Barclay, who left in 2013, has only won twice in 6 attempts against the Warriors – although both of those wins came during Test windows…

Glasgow Greetings:
Jamie Bhatti will be the 11th Scottish Rugby Academy player to feature for the Warriors if he comes off the bench on Saturday. There are also first starts for Brian Alainu’uese and Djustice Sears-Duru. It’s possible LangiLangi Haupeakui might have joined them but his preparations would have been far from ideal after having a Disciplinary Panel hearing hanging over him for half the week. Fortunately the right decision was reached – now it’s up to Glasgow to ensure they make the best use of the big man’s ball-carrying ability.

Warriors One to Watch:
Fan favourite Simone Favaro is getting back to his best after 5 weeks out with a shoulder injury. His best against his old Treviso teammates seemingly involving an awful lot of tackling with his face as he showed off on Twitter after the game! Simone’s destructive presence will be an asset as the Warriors try to stop a talented Scarlets backline from getting on the front foot. He will be haring off the line from minute one and hopefully his teammates can follow his example – coming away from Parc y Scarlets with any kind of result is going to take the kind of energy, commitment and physicality that are hallmarks of the Italian maestro’s play.

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Scarlets:

  • 4 wins, 4 losses. 1 Try BP. 2 Losing BPs. 19 points out of a possible 40 (48%)
  • Scarlets were the last side in the league that Gregor Townsend’s men managed to collect a try BP against – coming at the eighth attempt in this same fixture towards the end of last season.
  • 19 points are the fewest Glasgow have managed in the Townsend era against any Pro 12 side.

Last season’s match-up:

Percentage of possession for Glasgow. The Warriors were highly efficient turning what ball they did have into points. The Scarlets defence struggled to cope, missing more tackles than their opponents despite attempting 50 fewer than Glasgow. It’s unlikely that the Warriors’ will be able to play the same plan of absorbing the pressure and counter-punching – expect Gregor Townsend to look for his side to retain pressure and starve the Scarlets backline of the ball.

Percentage of carries ending in a ruck. As a general rule the top Super Rugby sides and the All Blacks are now playing a game that sees them trying to move the ball away from or out of contact. These sides will normally only see around 60-65% of their carries lead to a ruck. Up in the Northern Hemisphere that figure is more typically 75-80% with lots more rucks and lots more slow ball. It didn’t always work for Glasgow last season but this was one game where their passing and offloading game beat the defence time and time again. They will pick their moments on Saturday but the midfield in particular can thrive on quick ball.

Metres gained by Lee Jones. This was one of Wee Lee’s best performances for Glasgow and he was well worthy of the 2 tries he scored. The game is unlikely to be as open this time out but the Warriors should still benefit from Lee’s workrate and his willingness to come looking for the ball rather than waiting for something to happen – it’s important that the playmakers make use of both their wingers as options on the inside ball to counter the Scarlets’ defensive line speed.

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

Referee: Gary Conway (IRFU, 25th competition game)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson (IRFU), Neil Jones (WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Aurwell Morgan (WRU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)

Mr. Conway refereed Glasgow on 3 occasions last season, yellow carding 4 players – Grayson Hart, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Simone Favaro (all on their debuts!) and Greg Peterson. Given he also sent Niko Matawalu and Roussouw de Klerk to the sin bin in his only Warriors’ game in 2014/15, OTOTM would respectfully suggest that Glasgow need to do everything they can to ensure the ref has no reason to add to the 10 yellow cards collected so far this season by the club (on the pitch anyway – minus 2 for those removed by the Pro 12 Disciplinary Panel…)

One comment

  1. Nine different countries are represented in the Warriors’ squad for this game. Can you name them all? Scroll down for the answers:
    New Zealand


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