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

KO 5.15pm
Thomond Park
Saturday 27th October 2018
Live on Premier Sports 1 *

This will be Glasgow and Munster’s second and final meeting of the season – and October isn’t even over yet! International duty (or more specifically rest protocols ahead of the opening Autumn Tests) mean that there are plenty of changes to the line ups when compared to the 23s that clashed at Scotstoun 7 weeks ago. 13 players return for Glasgow and Munster call on 15 of the group who featured in Round 2. It’s worth noting that while the Warriors have multiple international players dropping out, Munster have actually added 3 British and Irish Lions to the side that played in the away leg…


15 Mike Haley
14 Andrew Conway
13 Sam Arnold
12 Rory Scannell
11 Keith Earls
10 JJ Hanrahan
9 Alby Mathewson
15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 DTH van der Merwe
13 Nick Grigg
12 Sam Johnson
11 Rory Hughes
10 Peter Horne
9 George Horne

1 James Cronin
2 Niall Scannell
3 John Ryan
4 Jean Kleyn
5 Billy Holland
6 Peter O’Mahony
7 Chris Cloete
8 CJ Stander

1 Oli Kebble
2 Grant Stewart
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Robert Harley
5 Scott Cummings
6 Adam Ashe
7 Callum Gibbins (c)
8 Matt Fagerson

16 Kevin O’Byrne
17 Dave Kilcoyne
18 Stephen Archer
19 Fineen Wycherley
20 Arno Botha
21 Neil Cronin
22 Ian Keatley
23 Darren Sweetnam

16 Kevin Bryce
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Petrus du Plessis
19 Greg Peterson
20 Chris Fusaro
21 Nick Frisby
22 Brandon Thomson
23 Niko Matawalu

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

After 8 appearances from the bench Grant Stewart will make his first start for the Warriors. Elsewhere 37 year old Petrus du Plessis will play his first game in the PRO14 and will become the oldest man to feature in the competition for Glasgow. Petrus will need to stick around a while longer though if he wants to beat the all-time club record of the late, great Danny Herrington. One of the ‘Tillicoutry Troglodytes’ Danny featured in the Welsh-Scottish league at the ripe old age of 39!

Matchday Milestones:

Warrior number 179, Chris Fusaro made his debut back on the 19th of February 2010 against Cardiff Blues at Firhill. On Saturday he’ll become just the ninth man to play 150 games for Glasgow. Fuzzy joins a list of club legends in hitting that massive milestone:

Rob Harley (191)
Graeme Morrison (177)
Pat MacArthur (165)
Al Kellock (157)
Jon Petrie (156)
Dougie Hall (153)
John Barclay (152)
Moray Low (151)

Warrior to Watch:

One of five players released from the Scotland squad, Rob Harley has been demonstrating his flexibility this season, covering in the second row. Despite initially arriving at the Warriors nominally as a lock, Big Bad Bob has only featured there fitfully over the years. Until this season just 13 of his 158 starts were in the boiler room. With injuries biting for Glasgow this will be the 5th of his 7 starts during 2018/19 to be at lock.

There’s more to it than simple expediency though. While 110kgs is not big for a second row it can be enough behind a big front row and in an era when the scrum has been somewhat depowered as a weapon to dominate games. Having Bob in the lineup allows the full trio of back rowers to get on with things unencumbered by the grubby, unflashy grunt work that is the Ginger Ninja’s stock in trade.

Glasgow away to Munster in the PRO12/14 era:

  • 1 win
  • 6 losses
  • 1 try BP
  • 3 losing BPs
  • Of the original PRO12 sides only the away trip to Ulster has provided fewer points than the journey to Munster.

Previous match-up:

Key stat – last season in the PRO14:

1. Cardiff Blues – 83.2%
2. Cheetahs – 81.5%
3. Southern Kings – 81.4%
4. Glasgow – 80.9%
5. Ospreys – 79.0%
6. Scarlets – 76.0%
League average 75.5%
7. Edinburgh – 75.5%
8. Ulster – 75.2%
9. Leinster – 73.1%
10. Benetton – 71.9%
11. Connacht – 71.7%
12. Dragons – 71.1%
13. Zebre – 68.1%
14. Munster – 67.6%

The way Glasgow play the game means the importance of goal-kicking can be reduced somewhat – they only averaged 1.5 penalty shots at goal per game last season, often opting to trust their attack to get them over the line. It’s nice to be able rely on adding the extras though – or accumulating points when things aren’t quite running as smoothly.

Munster’s kickers struggled during the 2017/18 PRO14 campaign. They’re also a side that backs themselves to notch tries – particularly once they get into the red zone and can use their physicality to batter teams into submission. Missed kicks can still be costly though, making it harder to put opponents away – or stay in touch. The Warriors will be hoping it’s an off night all round for the men in red on Saturday evening.


Referee: Dan Jones (WRU, 18th Championship game)
AR1: Elgan Williams (WRU)
AR1: Chris Busby (IRFU)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)

Mr. Jones’ record last season in the PRO14:

Matches – 6 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 22.5 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 55% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 1.0 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 22.5 (all refs – 22)

During the 2017/18 campaign Mr. Jones had the highest average penalty count of the 13 refs on the PRO14’s Elite Referee Panel. He will be quick on the whistle and Glasgow will need to be streetwise to avoid getting the worst of the penalty count. This will be just the third time the Welsh whistler has taken charge of a Warriors’ match so the players are unlikely to have much experience of his style and may well have to adapt on the fly to his interpretations.

* Other coverage:
Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • Wednesday 31st October at 10.00am
  • Friday 2nd November at 1.00am

Highlights of all matches in Round 7:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Sunday 28th October at 3.00pm
  • FreeSports – Monday 29th October at 7.30pm

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