Need to Know: Glasgow v Ospreys, Pro 14 match preview 2017/18

KO 3.15 at Scotstoun Stadium, Saturday 9th September 2017
Buy tickets online
Live on Sky Sports Arena

Dave Rennie will take charge of a match at Scotstoun for the very first time and the Warriors’ faithful will have the chance to extend a warm welcome to the new head coach. There will be plenty of new players on show too, although no Lelia Masaga who scored in Dave’s first home game as boss of the Chiefs back in 2012. In the absence of Flash who will pick up the first Scotstoun try of the Renniesance?

The two clubs provided seven players who featured on the most recent British and Irish Lions tour. Only two of those men (Finn Russell and Justin Tupuric) are available for this fixture but both teams will still be significantly stronger than the last time they met in Glasgow. On that occasion the Warriors and the Ospreys were missing no less than 46 players between them, with 27 of them (18 for the Weeg and 9 for the Os) absent on international duty.


15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Lee Jones
13 Alex Dunbar
12 Peter Horne
11 Rory Hughes
10 Finn Russell
9 Ali Price
15 Dan Evans
14 Keelan Giles
13 Kieron Fonotia
12 Cory Allen
11 Jeff Hassler
10 Sam Davies
9 Tom Habberfield

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 George Turner
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Scott Cummings
6 Ryan Wilson (c)
7 Callum Gibbins
8 Adam Ashe

1 Paul James
2 Sam Parry
3 Ma’afu Fia
4 Bradley Davies
5 Lloyd Ashley
6 Olly Cracknell
7 Justin Tipuric (c)
8 James King

16 Pat MacArthur
17 Oli Kebble
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Brian Alainu’uese
20 Matt Fagerson
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Nick Grigg
23 Leonardo Sarto

16 Scott Otten
17 Nicky Smith
18 Rhodri Jones
19 Adam Beard
20 Guy Mercer
21 R Morgan-Williams
22 James Hook
23 Jay Baker

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

Glasgow Greetings:
The 5th Warriors’ debut of the season goes to Callum Gibbins. With 41 Super Rugby games and another 60 appearances at NPC level in New Zealand he’s the most experienced of the players who are brand new to Glasgow this year. There will also be home debuts for George Turner and Oli Kebble.

Matchday Milestones:
Having played 41 times already in the Pro 12/14 for Zebre this will be Leonardo Sarto’s 9th game in the league for Glasgow, bringing up his 50th appearance overall. Henry Pyrgos will be playing for the 100th time in the same competition but unlike Leo all HP’s matches have been exclusively for the Warriors.

Warriors One to Watch:
This will be the first time ever that Lion number 835, Finn Russell, has played in Glasgow’s opening home fixture of the season. What’s even more surprising is that this will also be the first time in Finn’s career that he has started at stand off against the Ospreys (his only previous matches against the side from Swansea came at centre in the 2013/14 campaign). Hopefully this means he comes as a surprise package to the Welshmen!

In attack Finn’s ability to take the ball right up to the defensive line but still get the pass away is a key component in unleashing Glasgow’s backs. It helps that he is also such a dangerous runner as there is no chance for would-be tacklers to drift onto the next man for fear of allowing the Warriors’ stand off to break. It’s also worth watching out for Finn’s defensive contributions where his attitude and hard work overcome his relative lack of bulk to make him a solid tackler who is rarely run over.

The Glasgow v Ospreys fixture in the Pro 12 era

  • 5 wins and 1 loss
  • 2 Try BPs
  • 22 points out of a possible 30 (73%)
  • The 17 point deficit in last season’s defeat by the Ospreys was the largest for Glasgow at home in the Pro 12 (2011 to 2017).

Last season’s match-up:

Number of league points taken from the game by Glasgow. This was a rare occurrence in the previous 4 seasons at Scotstoun with the Warriors taking nothing from a Pro 12 match on just 2 occasions betwen 2012-2016. Unfortunately it would happen twice more in 2016/17 and the drop off in home form was a crucial factor in missing out on the playoffs. Dave Rennie will be keen to return Scotstoun to the fortress that witnessed only 1 defeat in 30 league matches between December 2013 and September 2016.

Total penalties awarded by the referee, George Clancy – the fewest in any match Glasgow played in last season. The relative lack of penalties wasn’t the main disciplinary issue on the night though with a red card in the 47th minute for Brian Alainu’uese – one of 4 sending offs incurred in less than a year (after only 2 in the previous decade). Going down to 14 doesn’t guarantee a game is lost but it certainly makes winning much harder.

Passes made by Glasgow. For the only time last season this was equal to the number of carries they made which is indicative of a lot of pick and goes and one out passes with not much creativity or ability to involve the backline. Overpowering the opposition around the breakdown is almost essential for any successful side but when a team gets stuck doing that one thing over and over it becomes too easy to defend and disrupt. With Price and Russell as the half backs expect a more confident and extravagant showing in the Warriors’ attacking patterns.

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

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 69th competition game)
AR1: Manuel Bottino (FIR)
AR2: Sam Grove-White (SRU)
TMO: Stefano Penne (FIR)

Mr. Mitrea’s record in Warriors’ fixtures over the past 4 seasons:

Matches – 6 (118 for all refs)
Average penalty count – 22.5 (19.1 all refs)
Average penalties for Glasgow – 9.0 (9.6 all refs)
Average penalties against Glasgow – 13.5 (9.5 all refs)
Yellow cards – 7 (6 of them for Glasgow)

Mr. Mitrea is unusual among the more experienced officials in the league. The majority tend to have lower penalty counts as their domestic and international appearances rack up. For example Nigel Owens and George Clancy average 15.1 and 16.8 penalties per Glasgow game that they have taken charge of. What Mr. Mitrea’s record means for the Warriors is probably a more stop-start contest and maintaining discipline has to be a priority.

The Romanian-born whistler hasn’t refereed at Scotstoun since the 2014 playoff semi-final against Munster – a game that ought to bring back some happy memories for Warriors’ fans! Since then Glasgow have only seen Mr. Mitrea on their travels – in which time he has carded Tommy Seymour, Chris Fusaro, Stuart Hogg, Leonardo Sarto and Ryan Wilson (twice in the space of 3 months). The new skipper may want to mind his p’s and q’s with Mr. M to try and stay on his good side…

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