Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Munster, PRO14 match preview 2018/19

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium
Friday 7th September 2018

Live on Premier Sports 2 *

Recent history has not favoured the Warriors in clashes with Munster. Since storming their way to the PRO12 trophy at the Kingspan Stadium in 2015, Glasgow have only managed two wins in eight attempts against the Irish side. The home team have tended to do better in open, high-scoring matches while the visitors have edged the tight games where they’re strong in the championship minutes. If it is a nervy one then Dave Rennie will be hoping closing out the win late on against Connacht last week was a good warm-up for what will undoubtedly be a tough test on Friday.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Peter Horne
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Adam Hastings
9 George Horne
MUNSTER
15 Mike Haley
14 Darren Sweetnam
13 Sam Arnold
12 Ronan O’Mahony
11 Shane Daly
10 JJ Hanrahan
9 Neil Cronin

1 Oli Kebble
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Robert Harley
5 Jonny Gray
6 Ryan Wilson (cc)
7 Callum Gibbins (cc)
8 Adam Ashe

1 Dave Kilcoyne
2 Mike Sherry
3 John Ryan
4 Jean Kleyn
5 Billy Holland
6 Dave O’Callaghan
7 Tommy O’Donnell
8 Arno Botha

16 George Turner
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Scott Cummings
20 Matt Fagerson
21 Ali Price
22 Alex Dunbar
23 Niko Matawalu

16 Rhys Marshall
17 James Cronin
18 Stephen Archer
19 Fineen Wycherley
20 Tadhg Beirne
21 Duncan Williams
22 Joey Carbery
23 Jaco Taute

Head to Head:

Back 3 – ADV Glasgow
Centres – EVEN
Half Backs – ADV Munster
Front Row – ADV Munster
Second Row – EVEN
Back Row – ADV Glasgow
Subs – ADV Munster

Glasgow Greetings:

There’s a chance to welcome back some players after a significant absence from Scotstoun. It’s been nearly 6 months since Oli Kebble played a home game for the club and nearly 7 months since Adam Ashe and D’arcy Rae were in competitive action on Danes Drive. It will be good to see them back!

Matchday Milestones:

It’ll be the 100th start of Stuart Hogg’s time at the Warriors. That first appearance in the number 15 shirt when he was selected ahead of Bernie Stortoni against the Dragons at the end of the 2010/11 season seems an awful long time ago! DTH van der Merwe will start a PRO14 / PRO12 / Celtic League match for the 100th time.

Warriors One to Watch:

The equivalent fixture last season against Munster was when Callum Gibbins really announced his arrival at the club. 14 tackles with none missed. 8 carries for 32 metres – including a burst into the open field before sending Lee Jones away for the 2nd try. Cully was a niggly presence in attack and defence and the co-captain will be looking to set the tone again.

Glasgow at home to Munster in the PRO12/14 era:

Previous match-up:

Key stat – last season in the PRO14:

KICKS FROM HAND
1. Munster – 28 per game

2. Scarlets – 25
3. Leinster – 24
4. Dragons – 23
5. Ospreys – 22
6. Cardiff Blues – 21
7. Benetton – 21
8. Cheetahs – 20
9. Edinburgh – 19
10. Connacht – 19
11. Kings – 18
12. Glasgow – 18
13. Ulster – 17
14. Zebre – 16

Munster are extremely comfortable kicking the ball. They are very well drilled on the chase and they know they will almost always be following up high quality kicks that are intended to pressurise their opponents into errors or contain them territorially.

There will be no messing about with unnecessary phases when the Irish side’s half backs are on the ball. If they feel a situation is unfavourable they will hoof it and put the burden back on the opposition to come up with answers to the conundrum of breaking down an organised defence.

The Warriors were the outliers from among last season’s playoff semi-finalists with Munster, Scarlets and Leinster being the most likely teams to kick away possession. Glasgow only kicked once every 7.1 carries (compared to once every 3.8 carries for Munster). That meant more times probing the defence and trying to create a mismatch. However it also meant more occasions taking on a structured defensive line and losing the ball.

It will be a definite clash of styles on Friday night – although both teams have the capability to change it up. Glasgow will have 3 kicking options in the backline with Adam Hastings, Peter Horne and Stuart Hogg. Munster can look to two very creative stand offs in JJ Hanrahan and Joey Carbery (from the bench). Do the coaches go with the tried and trusted or adapt their gameplans slightly to try and get an edge?

Officials:

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU, 47th Championship game)
AR1: Dan Jones (WRU)
AR1: Sam Grove-White (SRU)
TMO: Neil Patterson (SRU)

Mr. Whitehouse’s record last season in the PRO14:

Matches – 13 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 19.8 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 50% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 0.7 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 29 (all refs – 22)

Only Mike Adamson reffed as many rounds (13) as Mr. Whitehouse in the PRO14’s regular season during 2017/18. He didn’t see much action involving Glasgow though – in fact the Warriors have only been reffed once by Mr. Whitehouse in the last 2 ½ years.

This will be the referee’s first trip to Scotstoun. He did travel to Scotland to officiate the Warriors v Munster clash in 2015/16 but that was held at Rugby Park. He also took charge of the reverse fixture that same season when Glasgow were edged out at Thomond Park. A Welsh whistler who’s a regular selection for Warriors’ matches against the top Irish sides? He’s clearly being lined up as the new Nigel Owens…


* There’s also a re-run of the match on FreeSports on Tuesday 11th September at 2.00pm. Highlights of all the matches in Round 2 will be on Premier Sports 1 on Sunday 9th September at 4.30pm and then repeated on Freesports on Monday 10th September – the first part at 6.30pm and the second part at 10.00pm.

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