Need to Know: Glasgow Warriors v Leinster, United Rugby Championship match preview 2021/22

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium
Friday 22nd October 2021

Live on Premier Sports 1

  • Glasgow are aiming for their 7th consecutive home win under Danny Wilson – this would match the longest such streak achieved in the Dave Rennie era. The only longer runs in the club’s history all came in a golden 2½ year spell under Gregor Townsend (separate streaks of 9, 10 and 13 consecutive home wins).
  • Leinster’s loss to Glasgow in the Rainbow Cup is their only away defeat in domestic competition in the last 2½ years.
  • That win for the Warriors at the end of May snapped a 5-match losing streak against Leinster – the longest run of defeats versus the Dubliners since 2006.
  • There will be 35 capped internationals on show on Friday night (Glasgow – 16, Leinster – 19). They will be joined by a further 6 players who could well make their Test debuts this Autumn (Rory Darge, Rufus McLean, Ross Thompson, Sione Tuipulotu, Ciaran Frawley and Dan Sheehan.)
  • A hip injury means Johnny Sexton has still never played in a URC* match at Scotstoun. It has been more than 12 years since the legendary Irish 10’s last appearance in a regular season domestic fixture against the Warriors and 13 years since his last trip to Glasgow for such a game – which ended in a 15-12 win for the Warriors with all the home side’s points coming from the boot of stand off, Dan Parks.
  • Returning Lion Zander Fagerson is the Warrior to Watch.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS

LEINSTER

Ross Thompson
Kyle Steyn
Sione Tuipulotu
Sam Johnson
Rufus McLean
Duncan Weir
Ali Price

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Hugo Keenan
Adam Byrne
Garry Ringrose
Ciaran Frawley
James Lowe
Ross Byrne
Luke McGrath (c)

Jamie Bhatti
Johnny Matthews
Zander Fagerson
Robert Harley
Richie Gray
Ryan Wilson (c)
Rory Darge
Jack Dempsey

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Cian Healy
Ronan Kelleher
Tadhg Furlong
Ross Molony
Ryan Baird
Caelan Doris
Dan Leavy
Jack Conan

George Turner
Oli Kebble
Enrique Pieretto
Lewis Bean
Matt Fagerson
George Horne
Nick Grigg
Cole Forbes

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

Dan Sheehan
Ed Byrne
Michael Ala’alatoa

Devin Toner
Rhys Ruddock
Jamison Gibson-Park
Jamie Osborne
Josh van der Flier

Head to Head:

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

This is the most experienced lineup fielded by the Warriors so far this season with 1,442 previous appearances for the club among the matchday 23. That’s still a good bit short of the 2,049 appearances for Leinster boasted by the visitor’s squad though!

Glasgow Greetings:

The Warriors’ Lions, Zander Fagerson and Ali Price, return for the first time since their adventures in South Africa. The presence of Price alongside Richie Gray means that Glasgow will have 2 Test capped British & Irish Lions in their starting XV. The only other occasions that has happened came in a 3-game spell in 1998 when both Tom Smith and Rob Wainwright started in consecutive matches against Edinburgh, Colomiers and Pontypridd.

It has been more than a year since Zander or Ali played a match at Scotstoun against anyone other than Edinburgh.

Warrior to Watch:

On his return to the lineup it’s hard to overstate just how important Zander Fagerson is to the club. In most positions across the starting XV there is significant competition for places. While the giant prop has 3 other capped internationals chasing his number 3 jersey he almost certainly has the biggest lead in the Depth Chart of any Glasgow player.

That comes down to being the top performer in all the key roles for a tighthead. He is an aggressive scrummager (which admittedly may come at the risk of conceding penalties as well as winning some!) and has a ferocious work rate (there are few props who will average 10+ carries and 10+ tackles per game and he is consistently one of the top performers for rucks hit for Scotland).

Rumours had swirled around whether Zander would maybe be off to France at the end of his contract. Signing him up to a new deal during the Lions’ tour was a hugely important piece of business for the Warriors. As one of the cornerstones of the pack his departure would have left a massive gap to fill. It will be good to have the big man back on Friday as he plays his 102nd game for Glasgow at the age of just 25.

Glasgow at home to Leinster in the PRO14 era (inc. Rainbow Cup):

  • 6 wins
  • 1 draw
  • 3 losses
  • 2 try BPs
  • 1 losing BP
  • 29 points out of a possible 50 (58%)

Previous match-up:

Officials:

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU, 25th league game)
AR1: Keith Allen (SRU)
AR2: David Sutherland (SRU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

Mr Evans’ regular season record for 2020/21:

Matches – 12
Average penalty count – 24.0 per game
Home side penalties conceded percentage – 51.4%
Average card count – 1.1 per game
Penalties per card – 22.2

Mr Evans is younger than Warriors’ skipper, Ryan Wilson. Hopefully the Welsh whistler will respect his elders at Scotstoun! Like most young refs he is still at the stage of high penalty counts which means he is likely to pick up more marginal offences and tolerate less shenanigans at the scrum.

So far this season, Glasgow’s discipline has been an improvement on the last campaign – although, to be fair, almost anything short of prison time would have been an improvement on that…An average of 12.5 penalties per game conceded is still too high. Leinster will give little away in this facet of the game so the Warriors’ need to be controlled, even when they are having to put everything on the line to keep the visitors at bay.


Additional ref stats from: https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/referee_heads.php?countryID=1

* in all its guises – United Rugby Championship, PRO14, PRO12, Celtic League and including the Rainbow Cup.

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