Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Benetton Rugby, Pro 14 match preview 2017/18

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 29th September
Buy tickets online
No TV coverage so get yourself along to Scotstoun!

Head coach Dave Rennie goes big with his first major overhaul of the matchday squad this season. There are 9 changes to the starting XV that faced off against Munster and 7 players come into the 23. The Warriors’ head honcho has also gone large in terms of experience – 1,275 previous games for Glasgow is the most for any starting XV in the past 3 years. There’s even more biglyness with the selection in the pack – the total weight of the starting forwards is 910kg compared to an average of 882kg for the other 4 games played so far in this campaign.


15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 Lee Jones
10 Peter Horne
9 Henry Pyrgos
15 Jayden Hayward
14 Angelo Esposito
13 Tommaso Benvenuti
12 Andrea Sgarbi
11 Luca Sperandio
10 Marty Banks
9 Tito Tebaldi

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

1 Cherif Traore
2 Luca Bigi
3 Simone Ferrari
4 Marco Fuser
5 Dean Budd
6 Sebastian Negri
7 Abraham Steyn
8 Marco Barbini

16 Fraser Brown
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Adam Nicol
19 Tim Swinson
20 Matt Fagerson
21 Ali Price
22 Brandon Thomson
23 Niko Matawalu

16 Federico Zani
17 Alberto De Marchi
18 Tiziano Pasquali
19 Federico Ruzza
20 Marco Lazzaroni
21 Robert Barbieri
22 Giorgio Bronzini
23 Ian McKinley

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

Glasgow Greetings:
First appearance of the season (if/when they come off the bench): Fraser Brown, Adam Nicol and Brandon Thomson.
First start of the season: Alex Allan, Pat MacArthur, D’arcy Rae, Brian Alainu’uese, Rob Harley and Chris Fusaro – almost the entire pack!
First home appearance of the season: Niko Matawalu – 862 days after the last time he graced the Scotstoun stage – and Tommy Seymour – let’s give one of our British and Irish Lions a warm welcome back.

Matchday Milestones:
This will be the 100th Pro 14 / 12 (Magners League etc. etc.) match for both Ryan Wilson and Chris Fusaro. Ryan made his tournament debut against Leinster at Firhill back on the 3rd of September 2010 while Chris’ first game was a few months earlier on the 19th of February 2010 against Cardiff Blues.

Warriors One to Watch:
With the backs dominating the Glasgow scoring so far this season (10 of 12 tries in the first four games) it’s likely to be the fancy Dans with the crucial interventions again in this match. Right now there is no-one in better scoring form for the Warriors than Lee Jones. The Selkirk native has picked up 6 tries in his last 9 games for the club and has a fantastic instinct for where to be (and when) allied to the willingness to work hard to get there.

Lee recently completed his Weegiefication and has now played more games for the Warriors than he did for Edinburgh. The way he has rebuilt his career after being discarded by Alan Solomons is a credit to him and he is a fine example of the tenacity that’s required to make it in the face of the sort of setbacks that are often part and parcel of pro rugby.

Opponent Stat Watch – For Treviso to be successful they have to be very solid defensively. Dean Budd is a key part of that and is on a run of 44 tackles without a miss so far this season. He is being rather shoehorned in at second row for this match though. Weighing in at 27kg (more than 4 stone) lighter than the Warriors’ lock, Brian Alainu’uese, Budd may not be able to provide the impetus in the scrum that his props require. Outwith the setpiece though he will be a key factor in his side’s attempts to close down the home side’s high tempo gameplan.

The Glasgow v Benetton Rugby fixture in the Pro 12 era

  • 5 wins and 1 loss
  • 3 Try BPs and 1 Losing BP
  • 24 points out of a possible 30 (80%)
  • Treviso’s sole win in Glasgow came during the 2011/12 season when they edged out the Warriors 15 – 13 at Firhill. This is the only time Glasgow have lost at home to Italian opposition in the Pro 14 / 12.

Last season’s match-up:

Tries scored by Tommy Seymour – the first time he had drawn a blank in any one of his 7 starts against Treviso. Tennessee Tam has actually favoured the away fixtures at the Stadio Monigo (the hedge there seems to have some kind of magnetic attraction for him) and has picked up 10 tries in 5 games over there.

While Tommy didn’t get on the scoresheet Rory Hughes picked up a brace and a wide game, making intelligent use of the wingers is often fruitful against a Benetton defence that is very physical in close quarters but less well organised on the flanks when faced with quick ball.

Tackles missed by Glasgow – the equal fewest of the campaign (only matched by – no word of a lie – the Leicester game at Welford Road). The glass half full fan might say – “Well that was good – didn’t give Treviso many chances”. The glass half empty fan might say “So how the hell did they manage to give up 2 tries to such an impotent attack?”

Try 1 was a turnover from a misplaced grubber followed by a comedy of errors. Number 2 came from a driving lineout. It’s worth bearing in mind no matter how strong the defensive line there are still errors, turnovers, set pieces and simple misfortune to manage. There is no room for complacency, even for a side who have won 4 out of 4.

Offloads thrown by Glasgow – the most in any game last season. Offloading rather went out of fashion as the Fijiweegie contingent reduced in recent years. In fact after 405 in Leone Nakarawa’s last season the Warriors’ totalled 120 fewer offloads in 2016/17. Will the return of Niko Matawalu spark the return of the miracle pass out of the tackle?!?

Home and Away:
Glasgow last 6 in Pro 14 (H) – W W W L W W
Benetton Rugby last 6 in Pro 14 (A) – L L L W L W

Referee: Dan Jones (WRU, 11th competition game)
AR1: Rhys Thomas (WRU)
AR2: Cammy Rudkin (SRU)
TMO: none as the match is not being televised

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

Matches – 1 (118 for all refs)
Average penalty count – 13.0 (19.1 all refs)
Average penalties for Glasgow – 7.0 (9.6 all refs)
Average penalties against Glasgow – 6.0 (9.5 all refs)
Yellow cards – 1 (for Glasgow)

This will be the first ever visit to Scotstoun as a match ref for Mr. Jones – so be gentle with him…His previous encounter with the Warriors came last season at the Kingspan. In some ways it may have been one of the easier matches to officiate. It was very loose – more than 400 passes, 54 missed tackles – and also fairly one-sided with Ulster pretty comfortable winners. It will be interesting to see if that low penalty count repeats in games with a bit more bite to them.

Hungry for extra stats? Read more about the Glasgow v Benetton Rugby fixture in the official matchday magazine “Warrior Nation” at Scotstoun on Friday night – including the home player who, on his own, made almost as many metres with ball in hand as the entire Treviso team…


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