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

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium
Friday 23rd November 2018

Live on FreeSports *

  • Head to heads are very even.
  • Niko Matawalu will become the 44th Warrior Centurion in the club’s history.
  • Hooker / flanker / winger George Turner is the Warrior to Watch.
  • The Warriors have won 7 out of 7 at home in the league against Cardiff Blues during the PRO12/14 era.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Stafford McDowall
11 Niko Matawalu
10 Peter Horne
9 Ali Price
CARDIFF BLUES
15 Tom Williams
14 Aled Summerhill
13 Garyn Smith
12 Willis Halaholo
11 Jason Harries
10 Jarrod Evans
9 Lloyd Williams (c)

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 George Turner
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Robert Harley
5 Kiran McDonald
6 Adam Ashe
7 Callum Gibbins (c)
8 Matt Fagerson

1 Brad Thyer
2 Kristian Dacey
3 Kieron Assiratti
4 George Earle
5 Seb Davies
6 Josh Turnbull
7 Olly Robinson
8 Nick Williams

16 Grant Stewart
17 Kevin Bryce
18 Petrus du Plessis
19 Tim Swinson
20 Matt Smith
21 Nick Frisby
22 Brandon Thomson
23 Rory Hughes

16 Liam Belcher
17 Rhys Carre
18 Scott Andrews
19 James Down
20 Sion Bennett
21 Lewis Jones
22 Steve Shingler
23 Harri Millard

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

He might already be 4 months into his Warriors’ career but Nick Frisby is in line to make his first appearance in a match at Scotstoun for the club. The Australian scrum half is joined by returnees Tim Swinson – who hasn’t featured for Glasgow for more than 6 months – and Kiran McDonald – who last played at Scotstoun 7 months ago.

Matchday Milestones:

Warrior number 212, Niko Matawalu will make his 100th appearance for the club on Friday night, becoming the 44th man (and the first Fijian!) to join the ranks of the Warrior Centurions. In a nice bit of synchronicity Niko hits this milestone against the same team he made his debut against back in October 2012 – on that occasion coming off the bench to take on Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

Ruaridh Jackson will make his 100th start for Glasgow in this game. It’s just 2 weeks short of 10 years since Jacko’s first start which came in a Heineken Cup match versus Bath at the Rec in December 2008.

Warrior to Watch:

One of 8 players released from the Scotland squad, George Turner has really made himself at home in Glasgow since moving along the M8 from Edinburgh at the start of last season. The hyperactive hooker is a bundle of energy when he’s on the pitch, always involved whether that’s crashing the ball up in attack or chopping opponents down in defence.

He’s made a speciality of sneaking in for tries, keeping his head up and his wits about him at the back of rucks and mauls to spot any gaps left by unwary defenders. The sometime back row (and wing!) has notched 5 tries already for the Warriors. Add in the 4 he picked up for Scotland over the summer plus the exploits of namesake Horne Junior and you begin to wonder if the Georges could end up setting scoring records among both the forwards and the backs…

Glasgow at home to Cardiff Blues in the PRO12/14 era:

  • 7 wins
  • 0 losses
  • 5 Try BPs
  • 33 points out of a possible 35 (94%)
  • Excluding the current season’s matches this is the most points Glasgow have taken from home fixtures against another PRO12/14 side (level with Zebre).

Previous match-up:

Key stat – last season in the PRO14:

OPPONENT RUCK SUCCESS
1. Cardiff Blues – 95.7%

2. Scarlets – 95.8%
3. Cheetahs – 95.9%
4. Kings – 96.1%
5. Glasgow – 96.2%
6. Ulster – 96.4%
7. Connacht – 96.7%
8. Edinburgh – 96.8%
9. Opsreys – 96.9%
10. Zebre – 97.1%
11. Dragons – 97.1%
12. Leinster – 97.2%
13. Munster – 97.2%
14. Benetton – 97.5%

There are some very fine margins at ruck time – especially when trying to stop the opposition keeping possession. So many technical infringements. So much dependent on the particular referee. Turnovers are a relative rarity. There were an average of 184 rucks per game in the PRO14 last season and just 6 of those were lost. That scarcity value makes those ‘wins’ – whether by a direct turnover of possession or a penalty for holding on – all the more valuable though.

Cardiff Blues were the kings of this stat during 2017/18. Their back row in particular is set up to go hunting for the ball with the speed to the breakdown of the likes of Olly Robinson and Ellis Jenkins nicely contrasting with the sheer immovability of Nick Williams and Josh Turnbull.

Glasgow weren’t too shabby in this area themselves, primarily through their 7s but with auxiliary back rows like Fraser Brown and George Turner also playing a big part. There may not be a huge number of turnovers at the breakdown on Friday night but each time the ball is won here will be worth its weight in gold to the team that claims it.

Officials:

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 74th Championship game)
AR1: Mark Patton (IRFU)
AR1: Ian Kenny (SRU)
TMO: Charles Samson (SRU)

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

Matches – 6 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 17.8 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 56% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 0.5 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 27 (all refs – 22)

Mr. Lacey used to be more of a regular at Scotstoun but with his career winding down towards retirement this will be just his second trip to Glasgow in the last 2 years. In common with most of the experienced referees on the PRO14 panel he will issue fewer penalties and fewer cards than the average official.

Glasgow have struggled to get on the right wavelength with the Mr. Lacey. The Warriors averaged 11.5 penalties a game against and just 8.5 for in the 10 games he has refereed in recent seasons. Of the 9 yellow cards he dished out in those matches 8 were for Glasgow players. Hopefully those numbers can be improved upon on Friday night!


* Other coverage:

Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • Saturday 24th November 2.30pm

Highlights of all matches in Round 9:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Tuesday 26th November at 9.00pm
  • FreeSports – no highlights on FreeSports this week
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