Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Ulster, PRO14 semi-final preview 2018/19

KO 7.35 at Sold Out Scotstoun Stadium
Friday 17th May 2019

Live on Premier Sports 1 *

  • Head to heads tilt towards a Glasgow side that is as close to full strength as they have managed all season.
  • In his last game at Scotstoun (for now anyway!) Stuart Hogg is the Warrior to Watch.
  • 15 players return from the 2015 PRO12 semi-final when these teams met at the Scotstoun – 7 for Glasgow and 8 for Ulster. 7 of them start on Friday after doing the same 4 years ago – 4 for the home side and 3 for the visitors. Can you name them all? Answers in the comments.


15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Kyle Steyn
12 Sam Johnson
11 DTH van der Merwe
10 Adam Hastings
9 Ali Price
15 Jacob Stockdale
14 Robert Baloucoune
13 Luke Marshall
12 Stuart McCloskey
11 Louis Ludik
10 Billy Burns
9 John Cooney

1 Jamie Bhatti
2 Fraser Brown
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Scott Cummings
5 Jonny Gray
6 Robert Harley
7 Callum Gibbins (c)
8 Matt Fagerson

1 Eric O’Sullivan

2 Rory Best (c)
3 Ross Kane
4 Iain Henderson
5 Kieran Treadwell
6 Nick Timoney
7 Jordi Murphy
8 Marcell Coetzee

16 Grant Stewart
17 Oli Kebble
18 D’arcy Rae
19 Ryan Wilson
20 Tom Gordon
21 George Horne
22 Peter Horne
23 Huw Jones

16 Rob Herring

17 Andy Warwick
18 Tom O’Toole
19 Alan O’Connor
20 Sean Reidy
21 David Shanahan
22 Michael Lowry
23 Darren Cave

Head to Head:

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

Changes from Round 19:

These two sides met just 6 weeks ago, with Glasgow running out victors 30-7 on that occasion. Here are the movements in personnel from the lineups for that previous encounter:

Glasgow starting XV
IN – DTH van der Merwe; Scott Cummings; Callum Gibbins
OUT – Niko Matawalu (inj); Adam Ashe; Chris Fusaro (inj)
The bench also sees D’arcy Rae, Ryan Wilson, Tom Gordon and Huw Jones coming in.

IN – Robert Baloucoune; Louis Ludik; Rory Best; Ross Kane; Ian Henderson; Nick Timoney
OUT – Michael Lowry; Rob Lyttle; Rob Herring; Marty Moore; Alan O’Connor; Sean Reidy
Lowry, Herring,  O’Connor and Reidy all drop down to the bench.

Glasgow Greetings:

After an absence of 124 days from playing at Scotstoun DTH van der Merwe’s return will be a very welcome one for the Warriors’ faithful. Especially those that recall his last comeback from injury for a playoff semi-final against Ulster

Matchday Milestones:

That man DTH van der Merwe will be making his 100th start for Glasgow – a milestone that seemed like it wouldn’t be reached when he left the club back in 2015. It’s been great to have the Canadian winger back for a second spell.

Elsewhere Ali Price will be making his 50th start for the club while Scott Cummings plays his 50th match in the PRO14 – and he’s still just 22 years of age!

Warrior to Watch:

On the occasion of his last appearance at Scotstoun before leaving to join Exeter, Stuart Hogg will once again remind Glasgow fans just what they will be missing. The last couple of seasons have been tough for Hoggy in terms of injury but whenever he has pulled on the black shirt he has given everything for the club.

This is the first time for more than three years that he’s played 5 games in a row in a season for Glasgow. The blonde bombshell really looks like he’s enjoying it as well. Across 12 appearances (so far) in the current campaign he’s never been far from the centre of the action having scored 2 tries, assisted on another 8 and scored a game-winning drop goal. No-one outwith half backs Ali Price (13) and Adam Hastings (10) have set up more tries.

It’s maybe also significant that 4 of of those assists have been for Tommy Seymour scores. The two Scotland internationals seem to have an almost telepathic link which has been functioning at a very high level in recent weeks. More on Friday please!

Glasgow at home to Ulster at Scotstoun:

  • 12 Oct 1997 – Won 30-15 (Champions Cup pool stages)
  • 19 Oct 2012 – Lost 8-19 (Champions Cup pool stages)
  • 22 Feb 2013 – Won 20-14 (PRO12 regular season)
  • 18 Apr 2014 – Won 27-9 (PRO12 regular season)
  • 16 May 2015 – Won 32-10 (PRO12 regular season)
  • 22 May 2015 – Won 16-14 (PRO12 playoffs)
  • 25 Mar 2016 – Won 27-17 (PRO12 regular season)
  • 23 Sep 2016 – Lost 17-22 (PRO12 regular season)
  • 05 Apr 2019 – Won 30-7 (PRO14 regular season)

Previous match-up:

For analysis of how these two sides’ key stats compare check out this article.


Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 80th Championship game)
AR1: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
AR1: George Clancy (IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)

Mr. Lacey’s regular season record for 2018/19 in the PRO14:

Matches – 9 (all refs – 147)
Average penalty count – 20.3 per game (all refs – 18.4)
Home penalty percentage – 45% (all refs – 52%)
Average card count – 0.8 per game (all refs – 1.0)
Penalties per card – 26 (all refs – 19)

It’s more than a decade since Mr. Lacey first took charge of a Warriors’ game – the Dragons visit to Firhill in January 2009. Since then there have been a further 16 encounters with the man who was, at one stage at least, reputed to be the fastest referee in world rugby.

Mr. Lacey will retire at the end of the season and this may well be the final top level game of his career. Having already been the man in the middle for two of Glasgow’s fixtures this season (the wins over Cardiff Blues and Ospreys – both at Scotstoun) there will be no excuse for the Glasgow players not to be familiar with the Irish official’s work. Ulster by contrast haven’t been refereed by Mr. Lacey during any of their games in 2018/19.

* Other coverage:

Match re-runs on FreeSports:

  • No coverage on FreeSports this week other than the PRO14 Hour at 10.30pm on Wednesday 22nd May

Highlights of the semi-finals:

  • Premier Sports 1 – Monday 20th May at 8.00am


  1. Glasgow starters for both semi-finals:
    Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Fraser Brown and Jonny Gray.

    Ulster starters for both semi-finals:
    Louis Ludik, Rory Best and Iain Henderson.


  2. Peter Horne, DTH van der Merwe and Ryan Wilson were also in the match day squad for Glasgow as were Darren Cave, Sean Reidy, Andy Warwick, Stuart McCloskey and Rob Herring for Ulster.


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