Need to Know: Glasgow v Connacht Pro 12 Match Preview 2016/17

KO 5.15 at Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 25th March 2017
Buy tickets online
Live on Sky Sports 2

It’s been more than 18 months since these sides last met at Scotstoun. On that occasion the Rugby World Cup was in full swing and only 17 of the 46 players return from that game in September 2015. Just 5 of Saturday’s 23 for Glasgow featured in that game – test your memory and see if you can figure out the right Warriors (answers in the comments).

                                                .

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Sean Lamont
13 Nick Grigg
12 Peter Horne (c)
11 Rory Hughes
10 Finn Russell
9 Ali Price
CONNACHT
15 Tiernan O’Halloran
14 Niyi Adeolokun
13 Bundee Aki
12 Craig Ronaldson
11 Stacey Ili
10 Jack Carty
9 Kieran Marmion

1 Alex Allan
2 Corey Flynn
3 Sila Puafisi
4 Tim Swinson
5 Brian Alainu’uese
6 Robert Harley
7 Matt Smith
8 Adam Ashe

1 Denis Buckley
2 Tom McCartney
3 Finlay Bealham
4 Quinn Roux
5 Andrew Browne
6 Sean O’Brien
7 Jake Heenan
8 John Muldoon

16 Fraser Brown
17 Gordon Reid
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Scott Cummings
20 Lewis Wynne
21 George Horne
22 Alex Dunbar
23 Peter Murchie

16 Dave Heffernan
17 Ronan Loughney
18 D Robertson-McCoy
19 James Cannon
20 Naulia Dawai
21 John Cooney
22 Tom Farrell
23 Josh Rowland

Head to Head:
Back 3 – ADV Glasgow
Centres – ADV Connacht
Half Backs – ADV Glasgow
Front Row – ADV Connacht
Second Row – ADV Glasgow
Back Row – ADV Connacht
Substitutes – ADV Glasgow

Glasgow Greetings:
The match will see a first appearance at Scotstoun for Matt Smith after making his debut at the Liberty Stadium last month. Stuart Hogg will be playing his first home Pro 12 match since the 28th of October.

Matchday Milestones:
50th and 75th starts for the club for, respectively, Finn Russell and Peter Horne. The match could also see Pete and wee brother George become the second set of siblings this season to take to the pitch at the same time for Glasgow (after the Fagersons). In this week’s Bob Harley watch OTOTM notes that the big man is playing his 158th match for the Warriors, overtaking Al Kellock to move 2nd all-time for appearances on his own. The next target for the Ginger Ninja will be Graeme Morrison’s 177 games for the club.

Warriors One to Watch:
The top carrier in the equivalent fixture in the 2015/16 campaign was Adam Ashe with 20 – more than twice as many as any other Glasgow forward. DJ Adam was the team’s primary ball carrier during the RWC period and got through an enormous amount of work. Injuries have held him back over the last 10 months but the end of season run in could well be his chance to shine once more.

Adam has recently been added to the Warriors’ European squad ahead of the Champions Cup quarter final. With Josh Strauss looking like he will be on the sidelines for an extended period the ability to get over the gain line that young Mr. Ashe brings to the side will be crucial. If he’s hitting top form expect to see him picking up 15-20 carries in the matches he starts – hopefully beginning with Connacht on Saturday.

Toony’s Track Record…
…against Connacht:

  • Regular season: 8 wins and 1 loss. 4 Try BPs, 1 Losing BP. 37 points out of a possible 45 (82%). Playoffs: 1 loss
  • Gregor Townsend’s men have a strong record against Connacht – only the Italian sides have provided a higher percentage of points. The visitors are on good run though and getting back towards something approaching the form that took them to last season’s Pro 12 trophy.

Last season’s match-up:

6
Penalties / free kicks conceded by Glasgow’s props. It was a tough day at the office for the Warriors’ scrum as they lost 2 on their own put-in;  committed the aforementioned offences; saw Zander Fagerson yellow carded for persistent infringements at the setpiece; and ultimately conceded a penalty try while trying to hold the Connacht pack. The Westies will be targeting this area once again so a lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of Alex Allan and Sila Puafisi to contain the green tide.

65
Minutes played at outside centre by flanker Hugh Blake. Shug demonstrated remarkable composure to fill in while making his Glasgow debut. He ended up as part of a never to be seen again Warriors backline that finished the game looking something like this:

9. Hart 10. Wight
12. Lyle 13. Blake
11. Jones 14. Bryce 15. Clegg

79
Percentage of tackles completed by Glasgow. This was one of the lowest levels of the season but is maybe more understandable within the context of the makeshift nature of the team and the fierce fightback launched by Connacht in the second half. The visitors will use their passing game try and work their way around the Warriors’ defence so Glasgow’s units have to be completely in sync and communication will be key if they are going to keep the tackle percentage high.

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

Officials:
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU – 60th tournament game)
AR1: Sean Brickell (WRU)
AR2: Bob Nevins (WRU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

Bizarrely this will be the fourth consecutive regular season meeting between these 2 sides to be refereed by Mr. Davies. There’s a question mark over whether the Warriors have struggled to adapt to his style or whether they have just had a sequence of unfortunately timed errors in the games he has taken charge of across the past 2 seasons:

2015/16:
Connacht (H) – Fagerson yellow carded. Penalty try conceded.
Leinster (A) – MacArthur & Naiyaravoro yellow carded. Penalty try conceded.
Zebre (A) – MacArthur yellow carded.
Connacht (A) – Puafisi red carded.

2016/17:
Connacht (A) – Wilson yellow carded.
Ulster (H) – Sarto yellow carded. Penalty try conceded.
Edinburgh (A) – Allan yellow carded.

Incidentally in those 8 matches Ian Henderson (Ulster) is the only opposition player to be sent to the sin bin and Glasgow have spent a total of 101 minutes shorthanded against 10 minutes with a man advantage.

The average penalty count in the Mr. Davies’ previous matches only averages out at 9-7 against the Warriors. If they can avoid the high profile incidents that have dogged them during these fixtures they can reduce the referee’s impact on the game and give themselves a far better chance of picking up a vital win.

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One comment

  1. Peter Murchie, Alex Allan, Scott Cummings, Rob Harley and Adam Ashe all started for Glasgow in that game against Connacht in Round 2 of the 2015/16 season and are also in the 23 for Saturday’s match.

    Like

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