Need to Know: Glasgow v Scarlets Match Preview

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 10th February 2017
Live on Sky Sports 3
Buy tickets here

With just a single point splitting the 2 teams in the Pro 12 this is a hugely important fixture. That being the case it’s rather unfortunate that for the 3rd time in 4 league meeting both clubs will be missing their international players (15 for Glasgow and 7 for the Scarlets).

The last time they met, during the November Test window, the Welsh side ran out comfortable winners. The vagaries of injury, form and player release mean that only 7 Scarlets and 6 Warriors who started that game return for this fixture but the visitors will still head into the game in confident mood – the home team will be looking for revenge.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Peter Murchie
14 Lee Jones
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Rory Clegg
9 Henry Pyrgos (c)
SCARLETS
15 Johnny McNicholl
14 Tom Williams
13 Gareth Owen
12 Hadleigh Parkes (c)
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Dan Jones
9 Jonathan Evans

1 Alex Allan
2 Pat MacArthur
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Brian Alainu’uese
5 Scott Cummings
6 Robert Harley
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Adam Ashe

1 Wyn Jones
2 Ryan Elias
3 Werner Kruger
4 Tom Price
5 Lewis Rawlins
6 Aaron Shingler
7 James Davies
8 Will Boyde

16 James Malcolm
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Sila Puafisi
19 Richie Vernon
20 Lewis Wynne
21 Grayson Hart
22 Hagen Schulte
23 Sean Lamont

16 Emyr Phillips
17 Luke Garrett
18 Nicky Thomas
19 Tadhg Beirne
20 Joshua MacLeod
21 Aled Davies
22 Aled Thomas
23 Steffan Hughes

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

Matchday Milestones:
Rory Hughes will be celebrating signing up for another 2 years with Glasgow – can he mark his 25th appearance for the club with a try? Richie Vernon returns to play (where he wants) in his 75th Pro 12 fixture.

Glasgow Greetings:
The game could see a full debut for Hagen Schulte if he gets on – the 17th new player in 2017/18. He’ll be joined by Scott Cummings and Richie Vernon who will be putting injury woes behind them to make their first appearances of the campaign. This trio will take the Warriors up to 54 players used so far – only 2 less than in the RWC-affected 2015/16 season!

Once A Warrior:
He’s played against his old side 3 times since he left but this will be the first time DTH van der Merwe has played at Scotstoun since this happened…

giphy-4

Warriors One to Watch:
It’s been a tough season for Henry Pyrgos. Injuries have held him back and he’s had to watch from the sidelines and the bench as Ali Price has usurped his position for both Glasgow and Scotland. The match against the Scarlets provides a big opportunity for Henry to show just why he has been such an integral part of the Warriors’ success in recent years.

The man with the worst moustache in rugby (even in the face of stern competition from Sam Johnson) is still the club’s top man for assists, providing 8 scoring passes so far in this campaign. Glasgow will need some of that creativity if they are to outscore the Scarlets on Friday night. There will also be an assumption that he will take a lot of the decision-making burden away from his stand off’s shoulders. All while bossing his forwards and providing effective cover defence. No pressure Henry!

Toony’s Track Record…
…against the Scarlets:

  • Pro 12 – 4 wins, 5 losses. 1 Try BP. 2 Losing BPs. 19 points out of a possible 45 (42%)
  • Champions Cup – 2 wins. 1 Try BP.
  • No other side in the Pro 12 has provided fewer points for Gregor Townsend’s men than the Scarlets.

Last season’s match-up:

6
Number of players who made their Glasgow debuts in last season’s match-up. The World Cup put severe pressure on the Warriors’ playing resources. The current 6 Nations window may not see quite the same number of players missing but the club’s success or failure in the Pro 12 remains very reliant on the depth in the squad.

24
Number of scrums – the most in any Warriors’ game last season (the next highest was 19). The handling on show was definitely of the early season variety. Hopefully even in the forecast Arctic conditions the 2 sides will be more careful in possession and the crowd won’t spend much of the night watching scrums being set.

94
Percentage territory for Glasgow in the second half. Those in the East Stand Massive may have felt very short-changed as almost the entire second period took place at the far end from their perspective! Despite almost total dominance – and playing the final phases of the game against 12 men with 3 Scarlets in the bin – Glasgow couldn’t get over the line to win the match. This season’s team has a lot more experience to call on and Gregor Townsend would expect his side to know how to close out a tight game.

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

Officials:
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU, 86th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Gary Conway (IRFU), Kevin White (SRU)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)

Nobody has refereed more matches at Scotstoun recently than Mr. Clancy who has officiated 8 times in a little over 2 years – more than a quarter of all the games played at the Warriors’ home in that period. His name on the match previews seems to raise the hackles of Glasgow fans but he the red meted out to Brian Alainu’uese against the Ospreys is the only time the Irish whistler has carded any Warrior in the last 3 seasons.

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