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

KO 5.15 at Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday 1st December 2018

Live on Premier Sports 1 *

  • Head to heads favour Scarlets, particularly in the backs with 3 key players back from Wales duty.
  • Nick Grigg will play his 50th game for the club – and is also the Warrior to Watch.
  • Scarlets have won 4 times at Scotstoun since 2012/13 – more than any other away side.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS
15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Robbie Nairn
13 Nick Grigg
12 Stafford McDowall
11 Niko Matawalu
10 Brandon Thomson
9 George Horne
SCARLETS
15 Johnny McNicholl
14 Tom Prydie
13 Jonathan Davies
12 Kieron Fonotia
11 Steff Evans
10 Rhys Patchell
9 Kieran Hardy

1 Alex Allan
2 George Turner
3 D’arcy Rae
4 Tim Swinson
5 Scott Cummings
6 Matt Smith
7 Chris Fusaro (c)
8 Adam Ashe

1 Rob Evans

2 Ryan Elias
3 Werner Kruger
4 Jake Ball
5 Steven Cummins
6 Will Boyde
7 Dan Davis
8 Uzair Cassiem

16 Kevin Bryce
17 Oli Kebble
18 Siua Halanukonuka
19 Kiran McDonald
20 Tevita Tameilau
21 Nick Frisby
22 Paddy Kelly
23 Ratu Tagive

16 Dafydd Hughes

17 Wyn Jones
18 Simon Gardiner
19 Lewis Rawlins
20 Tom Phillips
21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
22 Paul Asquith
23 Clayton Blommetjies

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

There’s a home debut in the offing for Robbie Nairn. The powerful winger made his first appearance for the club in less than ideal circumstances against the Kings a couple of months back. A warm welcome to Scotstoun is in order so he knows things won’t always be that bad!

Siua Halanukonuka and Ratu Tagive will make their first appearances of the campaign when they come off the bench. Siua is just back from injury and Ratu has spent a fair bit of time with Stirling County this season. Hopefully both men are ready to hit the ground running against the Scarlets.

Matchday Milestones:

Nick Grigg will make the 50th appearance of his Warriors’ career on Saturday evening. Since making his first start early in the 2016/17 season Squiggs has played 49 out of the club’s 67 fixtures. That’s more than any other Glasgow back in that period.

Warrior to Watch:

It’s that man Nick Grigg again. The pocket rocket’s irresistible form during November makes him hard to ignore and there’s a strong case for him being the most dangerous attacker in the league over the last month. During Glasgow’s 3 games against Munster, Ospreys and Cardiff Blues he ran up these numbers:

  • 1 try and 3 assists
  • Over 100 metres per game with ball in hand, at 12.7m per carry (the average for centres in the PRO14 last season was 3.6m).
  • Managed 9 clean breaks and 14 defenders beaten. He made a clean break for every 2.7 carries (the average for centres in the PRO14 last season was 1 CB every 12.1 carries).

Nick has quickly formed an effective partnership with outside centre Stafford McDowall and also seems to have a really good understanding with Niko Matawalu. Hopefully Glasgow can see the benefit of those combinations again versus the Scarlets.

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

  • 3 wins
  • 3 losses
  • 0 Try BPs
  • 2 Losing BPs
  • 14 points out of a possible 30 (47%)
  • Scarlets are the only side to win 3 times at Scotstoun during the PRO12/14 regular season (plus they added a 4th win in the playoff semi-final 6 months ago…)

Previous match-up:

Key stat – try bonus points in the PRO14:

TRY BP IN LAST 30 GAMES
1 Glasgow – 20

2 Leinster – 16
3 Munster – 15
4 Cheetahs – 14
5 Scarlets – 13
AVERAGE – 10.6
6= Edinburgh – 10
6= Ulster – 10
8 Benetton – 9
9= Cardiff Blues – 8
9= Connacht – 8
9= Kings – 8
12= Ospreys – 7
12= Zebre – 7
14 Dragons – 4

So far under Dave Rennie, Glasgow have played 14 PRO14 regular season matches at home. They’ve picked up try BPs in all bar two of those fixtures. There was a dog of a game v Edinburgh (only enlivened by a mid-match fire alarm) with just a single late try for Lee Jones; and a fixture earlier this season when they scored 3 tries in the first half against Munster but couldn’t complete the job in the 2nd period.

During the 2018/19 campaign the Warriors have picked up nearly all their points from tries (plus conversions) leading to 9 BPs. In 11 matches so far this season in the PRO14 and Champions Cup they have scored just 7 penalties (and 1 drop goal) accounting for 7% of the points they have scored.

However Scarlets are the only side in the PRO14 against whom Glasgow have never picked up a try BP at Scotstoun. In fact 2008 is the last time the Warriors managed 4 tries (or more) at home against the men from Llanelli. The visitors aren’t averse to a try or two themselves but they’ve also shown they’re capable of rolling up their sleeves and grinding it out when required. Conditions could well dictate which versions of these sides play on Saturday.

Officials:

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 18th Championship game)
AR1: Kieran Barry (IRFU)
AR1: Dunx McClement (SRU)
TMO: Charles Samson (SRU)

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

Matches – 9 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 19.4 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 52% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 0.7 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – 29 (all refs – 22)

Only 2 referees (Warriors’ fans’ faves George Clancy and Ian Davies) doled out more penalties between cards last season. That probably means a little bit more freedom at areas like the breakdown before Mr. Murphy escalates things. Can Glasgow take advantage on Saturday night?

After a hammering at the hands of the former Connacht scrum half when the Warriors played…er Connacht at the end of last season (15 pens, 2 sin bins and a penalty try in a pear tree) Glasgow got on much better with Mr. Murphy earlier in the current campaign. 5 penalties conceded (to 11 by the Cheetahs) was a strong effort. There was still another yellow for Alex Dunbar but it was definitely a step in the right direction.

Against the side in the PRO14 who conceded the fewest penalties of all in 2017/18 it’s important that the Warriors keep their noses clean to avoid handing the visitors a significant advantage.


* Other coverage:

Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • none

Highlights of all matches in Round 10:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Sunday 2nd December at 7.00pm
  • FreeSports – no highlights on FreeSports this week

It appears that re-runs of PRO14 matches, highlights and the preview show have dropped off FreeSports entirely…

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