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

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday 29th September 2018

Live on FreeSports *

  • Head to heads favour Glasgow.
  • Lock Andrew Davidson is in line for his club debut.
  • Revitalised scrum half Ali Price is the one to watch.
  • Glasgow have won 5 out of 6 at home to Dragons in the PRO12/14 era.
  • Referee Stuart Berry has hammered the Warriors in the penalty count in two previous matches.
  • Dragons have lost their last 33 away games in the PRO12/14.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Lee Jones
13 Huw Jones
12 Alex Dunbar
11 Niko Matawalu
10 Adam Hastings
9 Ali Price
DRAGONS
15 Jordan Williams
14 Dafydd Howells
13 Adam Warren
12 Jarryd Sage
11 Jared Rosser
10 Arwel Robson
9 Tavis Knoyle

1 Oli Kebble
2 Fraser Brown
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Robert Harley
5 Jonny Gray
6 Ryan Wilson (cc)
7 Callum Gibbins (cc)
8 Matt Fagerson

1 Ryan Bevington
2 Richard Hibbard (c)
3 Lloyd Fairbrother
4 Brandon Nansen
5 Rynard Landman
6 Aaron Wainwright
7 Nic Cudd
8 Lewis Evans

16 George Turner
17 Alex Allan
18 Adam Nicol
19 Andrew Davidson
20 Chris Fusaro
21 George Horne
22 Brandon Thomson
23 Nick Grigg

16 Elliot Dee
17 Brok Harris
18 Aaron Jarvis
19 Huw Taylor
20 James Thomas
21 Rhodri Williams
22 Josh Lewis
23 Will Talbot-Davis

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

He’s taken a circuitous route to get here but Andrew Davidson will finally make his Warriors’ debut. After heading to Newcastle following his time in the Glasgow branch of the Scottish Rugby Academy the second row is back on a short-term loan deal. Andy’s a Robert Harley-esque player – not just in terms of being able to cover both lock and flanker but also just having that niggly ability to get under the skin of the opposition. Whether it’s at Glasgow or Newcastle he still has the potential to develop into a future Scotland cap.

There’s also a big welcome back for Huw Jones who hasn’t played at Scotstoun since the 20th of January against Exeter.

Matchday Milestones:

200 games ago Nathan Bombrys took over as the club’s Managing Director. The man from Michigan has been an integral part of the club’s growth over the past 7 years – and there’s still lots to do. He’ll be responsible for driving forward the proposed stadium expansion plans which could make a significant contribution to maintaining that upwards trajectory.

Warriors One to Watch:

After a tough spell during last season Ali Price looks to be getting back to his best. It was always going to be difficult to follow up 2016/17 when the hedgehog-headed half back grabbed the number 9 jersey for Glasgow and Scotland (admittedly with Greig Laidlaw in absentia). Ali’s try double against the Cheetahs a fortnight ago showcased his speed of foot and thought and he can help spark the Warriors’ attack against the Dragons.

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

  • 5 wins
  • 1 loss
  • 3 Try BPs
  • 23 points out of a possible 30 (77%)
  • Immediately prior to the PRO12 era Glasgow only managed 1 win in 7 seasons at home to the Dragons in the league (1 draw, 5 losses).

Previous match-up:

Key stat – last season in the PRO14:

CLEAN BREAKS CONCEDED
1. Glasgow – 115

2. Edinburgh – 134
3. Leinster – 138
4. Munster – 150
5. Benetton- 160
6. Ospreys – 160
7. Scarlets – 161
8. Zebre – 167
9. Ulster – 167
10. Cheetahs – 171
11. Cardiff Blues – 182
12. Connacht – 191
13. Dragons – 196
14. Kings – 266

Last time out we looked at clean breaks from an attacking stand point. This week it’s time to flip that round and look at how teams performed when it came to preventing the opposition cutting through their defensive line.

The Glasgow defence (among other things!) has come in for some criticism after last week’s performance but last season showed they can muster an organised, hard to break down line. It doesn’t guarantee success (the Warriors shut out Munster in this stat when they played them at Irish Independent Park – but still lost) but it certainly helps when a side is able to effectively contain their opposition and make them break through the hard way.

On the other side of things the Dragons struggled to cut out the line breaks. They weren’t helped by the volume of possession and carries their opponents were able to make. The visitors gave a up a clean break for every 19 runs against them – the same as Ulster, Ospreys, Zebre and Cheetahs and would have placed them 6th equal in the league. They just had the ball coming back at them far more often than those other sides. Bernard Jackman will be keen to see his team spend more time in possession to reduce the attacking opportunities for the Warriors.

Officials:

Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU, 17th Championship game)
AR1: Mike Adamson (SRU)
AR1: Dunx McClement (SRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)

Mr. Berry’s regular season record for 2017/18 in the PRO14:

Matches – 12 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 19.4 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 50% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 1.1 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 18 (all refs – 22)

Mr. Berry’s only previous trip to Scotstoun came last season when he refereed the Warriors’ encounter with Leinster – during which he did a better job of keeping up with Niko Matawalu’s end-to-end break than the Dubliners’ defence!

The South African official has hammered Glasgow a bit in the penalty count though. Adding in an away trip to Ulster the tally stands at 25-14 against the Warriors with Scott Cummings and Alex Dunbar both being sent to the sin bin. The home side cannot afford to give the Dragons any encouragement so some solid discipline, a single figure penalty count and no cards would seem to be the order of the day.


* Other coverage:

Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • Sunday 30th September at 6.00am
  • Sunday 30th September at 11.00am
  • Monday 1st October at 9.00am

Highlights of all matches in Round 3:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Sunday 30th September at 4.30pm
  • FreeSports – Monday 1st October. Part 1 at 6.45pm. Part 2 at 10.15pm
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