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

KO 2.00pm GMT (3.00pm local time)
Stadio Monigo
Saturday 5th January 2019
Live on Premier Sports 2 *

  • With 12 Scotland internationals and 3 key non-Scottish players rested / missing for Glasgow the advantage in the head to heads lies with the hosts.
  • Niko Matawalu makes his 50th PRO14 start.
  • Powerful winger Robbie Nairn is the Warrior to Watch.
  • Glasgow have won all 6 of their previous trips to the Stadio Monigo in the PRO12/14 era.

Teams

BENETTON
15 Jayden Hayward
14 Angelo Esposito
13 Tommaso Benvenuti
12 Luca Morisi
11 Monty Ioane
10 Tommaso Allan
9 Dewaldt Duvenage
GLASGOW
15 Ruaridh Jackson
14 Robbie Nairn
13 Stafford McDowall
12 Sam Johnson
11 Niko Matawalu
10 Adam Hastings
9 George Horne

1 Nicola Quaglio
2 Hame Faiva
3 Simone Ferrari
4 Irne Herbst
5 Dean Budd (c)
6 Sebastian Negri
7 Giovanni Pettinelli
8 Abraham Steyn

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 Grant Stewart
3 Siua Halanukonuka
4 Tim Swinson
5 Scott Cummings
6 Ryan Wilson (c)
7 Chris Fusaro
8 Adam Ashe

16 Tomas Baravalle
17 Cherif Traore
18 Tiziano Pasquali
19 Federico Ruzza
20 Marco Lazzaroni
21 Tito Tebaldi
22 Ian McKinley
23 Marco Zanon

16 Kevin Bryce
17 Alex Allan
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Robert Harley
20 Matt Smith
21 Nick Frisby
22 Brandon Thomson
23 Lee Jones

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

There’s a welcome back for Lee Jones who hasn’t played for the Warriors since the 21st of October. 6 other players will return to action for the first time since that remarkable 14-man win over Scarlets at the start of December – Scott Cummings, Robbie Nairn, Ruaridh Jackson, Alex Allan, Matt Smith and Brandon Thomson.

Matchday Milestones:

Niko Matawalu will make his 50th start in the PRO14. When he comes off the bench Rob Harley will tick over onto 199 appearances for Glasgow. Will he become the club’s first double centurion next week against Cardiff Blues?

Warrior to Watch:

It’s only his 3rd appearance (and 2nd start) for Glasgow but Robbie Nairn is a real prospect in a position where the Warriors need some young blood coming through. The club don’t lack for talented wingers but the top 4 choices (DTH van der Merwe, Tommy Seymour, Niko Matawalu and Lee Jones) are all over 30 – and at least 2 of those named will miss a large chunk of next season due to the World Cup.

Robbie showed against the Scarlets some of the key attributes for a back 3 player. He was solid under the ball; came off his flank looking for work; and got himself on the end of a (disallowed) try with good support play.

The powerful winger is one of 6 men playing on Saturday for Glasgow and Edinburgh who were part of the Scotland u20 side that finished 5th in the 2017 World Rugby Championship 18 months ago. Stafford McDowall also starts for the Warriors and Darcy Graham, Callum Hunter-Hill, Luke Crosbie and Charlie Shiel will feature for Edinburgh against the Kings.

With another half dozen of that side already having made their top level debuts (including full Scotland caps Matt Fagerson and Blair Kinghorn) Robbie finds himself part of a group that will provide the core of the pro teams and national side over the next 2 or 3 RWC cycles.

Glasgow away to Benetton in the PRO12/14 era:

  • 6 wins
  • 0 losses
  • 4 try BPs
  • 28 points out of a possible 30 (93%)
  • Benetton won the first encounter between these 2 sides on Italian soil when it was still the Magners League.

Previous match-up:

Due to the vagaries of the conference system it’s been 2 years since Glasgow visited the Stadio Monigo. The last meeting between the 2 sides on Italian soil was a bit of a bonkers affair with plenty of interesting stuff going on:

  • Sean Lamont and Peter Murchie still playing;
  • Rory Clegg’s only try for the club winning the game for Glasgow;
  • Hoggy at 10;
  • Tommy Seymour continuing his love affair with the Treviso hedge;
  • one of the softest tries ever conceded by the Warriors;
  • Nick Grigg with hair.

Officials:

Referee: Joy Neville (IRFU, 3rd Championship game)
AR1: Frank Murphy (IRFU)
AR2: Gabriel Chirnoaga (FIR)
TMO: Alan Falzone (FIR)

Ms. Neville’s record last season in the PRO14:

Matches – 1 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 16.0 per game (all refs – 19.0)
Home penalty percentage – 56% (all refs – 53%)
Average card count – 0.0 per game (all refs – 0.9)
Penalties per card – n/a (all refs – 22)

This will be the first time Ms. Neville has refereed the Warriors. Having made her first PRO14 appearance last season she has taken charge of another match already during 2018/19 – Dragons v Zebre at Dave Parade. That game saw a similar penalty count (7 – 10) to the Irish official’s tournament debut (7 – 9). Rookie refs tend to have higher average penalty counts (20+ per game) so it will be interesting to see if Ms. Neville continues with these sorts of numbers.

She has only issued 1 yellow card so far (against the Dragons for taking a player out off the ball). Ruck completion in the Zebre v Dragons game was pretty much bang on the league average which suggests Ms. Neville allows no more or less of a contest than most refs in the PRO14. Jackallers in particular (like Chris Fusaro) will need to adapt quickly to the new official if they going to pinch ball on Saturday.


* Other coverage:
Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • Tuesday 8th January at 6.00am

Highlights of all matches in Round 13:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Sunday 6th January at 8.00pm
  • FreeSports – Monday 7th January at 6.30pm
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