Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets, PRO14 Semi-Final Preview 2017/18

KO 7.45 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium
Friday 18th May 2018

Live on BBC ALBA and SKY Sports Action

Dave Rennie will be hoping a couple of weekends off is just what his squad needed to freshen up after a long and attritional season. It’s certainly been good for the Warriors’ injury list with just 4 longer-term absentees unavailable. The coaches would have had 44 members of the full-time squad to select from this week – that’s a lot higher than the season average of 31 and there would have been some big debates before the final calls were made. The selection is a high quality one – and predominantly homegrown as Glasgow seek to make it to their third Grand Final.

  • 19 of the 23 are Scottish qualified
  • 19 of the 23 are capped internationals
  • 15 of the 23 came through either the Scottish Rugby Academy or Elite Development Programme
  • The 23 players selected have a combined 1,726 previous appearances for the Warriors – the most for any matchday squad this season


15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Finn Russell
9 George Horne
15 Johnny McNicholl
14 Tom Prydie
13 Scott Williams
12 Hadleigh Parkes
11 Steff Evans
10 Rhys Patchell
9 Gareth Davies

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Tim Swinson
5 Jonny Gray
6 Matt Fagerson
7 Callum Gibbins
8 Ryan Wilson (c)

1 Rob Evans
2 Ken Owens (c)
3 Samson Lee
4 Tadhg Beirne
5 Steve Cummins
6 Aaron Shingler
7 James Davies
8 John Barclay

16 George Turner
17 Alex Allan
18 Siua Halanukonuka
19 Robert Harley
20 Chris Fusaro
21 Henry Pyrgos
22 Peter Horne
23 Ruaridh Jackson

16 Ryan Elias
17 Wyn Jones
18 Werner Kruger
19 Lewis Rawlins
20 Will Boyde
21 Jonathan Evans
22 Dan Jones
23 Steff Hughes


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


Glasgow Greetings:
Time for a hearty welcome back home for skipper Ryan Wilson who, remarkably, will be playing his first game at Scotstoun since the Warriors took on Montpellier at the start of December – an absence of more than 5 months.


Once A Warrior:
There will be plenty of old friends on the pitch after the final whistle has blown – but they’ll all be best of enemies until that point! Only 5 men have played more games for Glasgow than the visitors’ flanker John Barclay, who was recently voted into the Warriors’ Team of the Decade. Former Scarlet DTH van der Merwe also made that squad and he will be looking at the possibility of winning his 3rd championship in 4 seasons if Glasgow can finish the campaign with 2 more victories.


One to Watch:
On the occasion of his last game at Scotstoun (well at least until next season when fate surely means a high probability of Glasgow drawing Racing 92 in the Champions Cup!) Finn Russell will be central to how well the Warriors perform. Closing in on 600 points for the club (4th all-time for Glasgow) he will need to have his kicking boots on to help the Warriors keep the scoreboard ticking over.

More than that though the fans will be hoping to see the big game player who has stepped up in the 4 previous playoff matches he played a significant part in. A balmy evening in Glasgow, with the 2 best attacking teams in the league going head to head and Finn playing the game with a smile in his face. What more could you ask for by way of entertainment?


The Glasgow v Scarlets fixture in the PRO12 / PRO14 era:

  • 3 wins
  • 3 losses
  • 2 Losing BPs
  • 14 points out of a possible 30 (47%)


Key player stats:

Top tacklers
Glasgow: Jonny Gray – 14.2 tackles per 80 minutes, 99% completion rate
Scarlets: Aaron Shingler – 12.9 tackles per 80 minutes, 98% completion rate

The Scarlets back row unit as a whole have been exceptionally consistent in their defensive duties this season. Between them they have only missed 12 tackles in the PRO14 (Davies 9, Shingler 2, Barclay 1).

Top carriers
Glasgow: Matt Fagerson – 12.0 carries per 80 minutes
Scarlets: Steff Evans – 11.5 carries per 80 minutes

Unusually the visitors don’t really have a forward who dominates ball-carrying duty, with no-one in their pack averaging 10 or more runs per game. (By contrast Glasgow have 3 players – the younger Fagerson, Gibbins and Gray – hitting double digits in this stat). The Scarlets’ workload is well spread and they also like to get the ball wide regularly and into the hands of players like Steff Evans who can make something happen even in the least promising of situations.

Attacking threat
Glasgow: DTH van der Merwe – a defender beaten for every 1.5 carries
Scarlets: Steff Evans – a defender beaten for every 2.7 carries

It’s quality as well as quantity for the Welsh winger when it comes to his work with ball in hand. Evans breaks tackles for fun – he’s a slippery customer and very hard to get a good solid hit on. He’s also the Scarlets top man for clean breaks with 24 for the season and the Warriors’s defence will need to be extremely cautious when he’s around the ball.


Home and Away:
Glasgow last 6 in PRO14 (H) – W  W  W  W  W  W
Scarlets last 6 in PRO14 (A) – W  L  L  L  L  W


Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 70th competition game)
AR1: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
AR2: Frank Murphy (IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)

Mr. Lacey’s record in the PRO14 this season:

Matches – 6 (147 for all refs)
Average penalty count – 17.8 (19.1 all refs)
Average penalties for home team – 7.8 (9.0 all refs)
Average penalties for away team – 10.0 (10.1 all refs)
Yellow cards – 0.5 per game (0.8 per game all refs)

Mr. Lacey has been fairly kind to home sides this campaign with one of the lower rates (44%) among PRO14 refs of penalties going against the hosts. That’s countered by Glasgow’s relatively poor disciplinary record when the former Munster player has been the man in the middle though.

The Warriors averaged 11.3 penalties a game against and just 8.6 for in the 9 games Mr. Lacey refereed over the previous 4 seasons. Of the 8 yellow cards he issued in those matches 7 were for Glasgow players. It has been over a year and half since the Irish whistler took charge of a Warriors’ fixture though. Hopefully that means a clean slate and no preconceptions about what he expects from the team on Friday night.

ICYMI – take a look at OTOTM’s team stats head to head comparison for Glasgow and the Scarlets here.

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