Need to Know: Glasgow v Munster Match Preview

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 2 December
Live on BBC Alba

Team Talk
Only 4 of the 14 backs who lined up at Thomond Park 6 weeks ago return for this fixture, with rest protocols and injuries taking their toll. The respective packs are made of sterner stuff (or maybe just have had less international duties to attend to) with only Jonny Gray, Zander Fagerson, Donnacha Ryan and CJ Stander missing out. The big issue for Glasgow is that they were bullied by the Munster forwards during their Champions Cup encounter. A big opportunity then for the Warriors pack if they want to set the record straight…

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Peter Murchie
14 Rory Hughes
13 Nick Grigg
12 Mark Bennett
11 Tommy Seymour
10 Peter Horne
9 Ali Price
MUNSTER
15 Andrew Conway
14 Darren Sweetnam
13 Jaco Taute
12 Rory Scannell
11 Ronan O’Mahony
10 Ian Keatley
9 Duncan Williams

1 Gordon Reid
2 Fraser Brown
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Tim Swinson
5 Rob Harley
6 Josh Strauss
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Ryan Wilson (c)

1 Dave Kilcoyne
2 Niall Scannell
3 John Ryan
4 Jean Kleyn
5 Billy Holland
6 Peter O’Mahony (c)
7 Tommy O’Donnell
8 Jack O’Donoghue

16 Corey Flynn
17 Alex Allan
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Rob McAlpine
20 Langilangi Haupeakui
21 Nemia Kenatale
22 Rory Clegg
23 Lee Jones

16 Rhys Marshall
17 Thomas du Toit
18 Stephen Archer
19 Donnacha Ryan
20 Robin Copeland
21 Te Aihe Toma
22 Dan Goggin
23 Alex Wootton

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

Glasgow Greetings:
Nemia Kenatale could make his debut from the bench on Friday. He would become the 16th new Warrior this season, the 50th player to be used in the 2016/17 campaign and the 112th to take the field during Gregor Townsend’s 4½ year reign.

Matchday Milestones:
No significant events to note this week but Josh Strauss moves close to the threshold of Warrior Centurion status with his 98th appearance for the club.

Warriors One to Watch:
Glasgow have been testing their players’ flexibility this season (eg Fraser Brown covering in the back row) and it’s required again on Friday with Rob Harley moving forward to feature at lock. Necessity is the mother of invention in this case with Brian Alainu’uese suspended; Jonny Gray rested; and Greg Peterson and Tjiuee Uanivi both out with long-term injuries.

This will be the third time in this campaign that Bob has played in the second row and with his high work rate and strength at the lineout he’s a good fit to cover. He will also be able to bring his usual niggly presence to the breakdown and it’s essential both he and Tim Swinson help the back row win the collisions in attack and defence if they are to have any chance of subduing this Munster side.

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Munster:

  • Playoffs – 2 wins.
  • Regular season – 4 wins, 4 losses. 2 Try BP. 2 Losing BPs. 20 points out of a possible 40 (50%)
  • Europe – 1 loss. 0 points
  • Last season’s bonus point win over Munster at Rugby Park meant Gregor Towsend collected less than 50% of the available league point against only Leinster (48%) and Scarlets (48%) in his first 4 seasons in charge.

Last season’s match-up:

4
Tries scored by props in the first 24 minutes of a match that swung this way and that almost to the very end. With Glasgow’s front rows already notching 7 scores so far this season will the big lads fancy adding more 5-pointers to their tally on Friday night?

100
Percentage of their own scrums won by the Warriors pack. They also won penalties on Munster ball leading to James Cronin being yellow carded for repeated scrum infringements by the visitors. A strong performance at the setpiece is essential to provide a good platform for the Glasgow backs – and to minimise the impact of a powerful Munster pack.

103
Metres made with ball in hand by Josh Strauss – the only time a Glasgow forward made over 100 metres in a single game last season. Big Josh was in storming form on the artificial surface at Rugby Park breaking 7 tackles and making 3 clean breaks. The Warriors need that level of dominating carrying again at Scotstoun to get them on the front foot.

Home and Away:
Glasgow last 6 in Pro 12 (H) – W W W W L
Munster last 6 in Pro 12 (A) – L L W W L W

Officials:
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 142nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Dan Jones (WRU), Dunx McClement (SRU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

Despite refereeing Glasgow 11 times in the last 4 seasons Mr. Owens has only twice before visited Scotstoun – and it’s been over 2 years since he was last here. No doubt the Warriors faithful will give him the usual warm welcome reserved for match officials…In terms of style of play he is pretty laissez faire, particularly at the breakdown, and will look to keep the game moving.

Mr. Owens has one of the lowest sin bins per game ratios but given Glasgow’s struggles in this area (33 cards in their last 40 games stat fans – more on this next week hopefully in “We need to talk about: Cardmageddon”) his preference for managing the players rather than punishing them could be sorely tested!

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