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

KO 5.15 at Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday 8th January 2022

Live on Premier Sports 1

  • This will be the Warriors first game of 2022. They have won 6 out of 10 of their first matches of the year across the last decade – although they have lost 2 out of the last 3 (Edinburgh in 2021 and Benetton in 2019).
  • This will be the 36th time that these two teams have met. Their previous history can be split into two distinct phases. From 2003/04 to 2010/11, Glasgow only won 4 out of 17 matches. Since the 2011/12 season the Ospreys have only emerged victorious 4 times from 18 attempts. They have only won once in Glasgow in the last 12 years.
  • In recent years Glasgow and the Ospreys have rarely met with their interntational players available, with the vast majority of their games in the last 8 years scheduled in or around Test windows. It has been more than 4 years since either Ali Price or Zander Fagerson played against the Ospreys.
  • At 894kgs this is lightest Warriors starting pack so far this season. This is almost entirely down to the difference between Richie Gray and Kiran McDonald at lock. (It’s worth noting that, depending on substitutions, Glasgow could finish the game with a pack weighing 919kgs).
  • This is the second youngest Warriors’ starting XV of 2021/22 – marginally older (16 days on average) than the side that began the game against Exeter (which took place 21 days ago).
  • Heavy-hitting hooker George Turner is the Warrior to Watch.

Teams

GLASGOW WARRIORS

OSPREYS

Josh McKay
Kyle Steyn
Sione Tuipulotu
Sam Johnson
Cole Forbes
Ross Thompson
Ali Price
(c)

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Dan Evans
Mat Protheroe
Michael Collins
Owen Watkin
Luke Morgan
Gareth Anscombe
R. Morgan Williams

Jamie Bhatti
George Turner
Zander Fagerson
Scott Cummings
Kiran McDonald
Ryan Wilson
Rory Darge
Matt Fagerson

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Nicky Smith
Elvis Taione
Tomas Francis
Rhys Davies
Adam Beard
(c)
Will Griffiths
Jac Morgan
Morgan Morris

Fraser Brown
Oli Kebble
Enrique Pieretto
Lewis Bean
Thomas Gordon
Jamie Dobie
Duncan Weir
Walter Fifita

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

Dewi Lake
Gareth Thomas
Tom Botha

Lloyd Ashley
Sam Cross
Matthew Aubrey
Josh Thomas
Joe Hawkins

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

Giant winger, Walter Fifita, will become Warrior number 340 when he comes off the bench. For the current season, he will be the 12th debutant and the 42nd player used by Glasgow.

Overall, Walter will be the 30th player to make their club debut under Danny Wilson. 20 of those men are still with the Warriors – 18 in the current full-time squad and 2 with the Academy.

Matchday Milestones:

Richie Gray’s absence means that there are no Glasgow forwards who will have featured in all of the club’s opening 10 fixtures for 2021/22. There are 3 backs who will have played in every match – Ross Thompson, Sione Tuipulotu and Cole Forbes.

This will be the 20th time that Dan Evans has started a game against the Warriors, across his time with the Scarlets, Dragons and Ospreys. His first encounter with Glasgow came on 4th April 2009 when his opposite number was Colin Gregor. Since then he has started at full back against:

  • Bernardo Stortoni (twice)
  • Peter Horne
  • Peter Murchie (6 times)
  • Stuart Hogg (twice)
  • Tommy Seymour
  • Ruaridh Jackson (4 times)
  • Huw Jones
  • Ollie Smith
  • Josh McKay

Warrior to Watch:

George Turner will be in the number 2 jersey for the fifth match in a row for Glasgow – his longest streak of consecutive starts since joining the club. Coming off the back of an outstanding year in 2021, during which he started 7 of Scotland’s 9 Test matches, the hooker is putting huge pressure on the players who have previously been ahead of him in the Depth Charts for club and country.

Glasgow supporters have become accustomed to George’s hard-hitting style. There is no unrestrained version. Whether it’s carrying in attack or tackling in defence everything is done at full tilt, all the time. The former Edinburgh player may not have arrived with the same fanfare as some of Dave Rennie’s other early signings but he has established himself as a fan favourite thanks to his wholehearted approach.

Turner’s setpiece work has also developed significantly since he arrived at Scotstoun. The Warriors currently have the best success rate on their own lineout ball in the URC. While he may not have Richie Gray to aim at on Saturday night, the return of Ryan Wilson is a big boost as George has combined extremely well with the club captain to provide quality attacking ball for his side.

Glasgow at home to Ospreys in the PRO12/PRO14/URC era:

  • 8 wins
  • 1 loss
  • 3 try BPs
  • 35 points out of a possible 45 (78%)

Previous match-up at Scotstoun:

Officials:

Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU, 16th league game)
AR1: Ben Blain (SRU)
AR2: Graeme Ormiston (SRU)
TMO: Sam Grove-White (SRU)

Mr Busby’s regular season record for 2020/21:

Matches – 11
Average penalty count – 23.4 per game
Home side penalties conceded percentage – 54.1%
Average card count – 1.5 per game
Penalties per card – 15.1

While there is always room for improvement, the Warriors’ much criticised discipline has been on an upward trajectory, particularly in their home fixtures. After coughing up 26 penalties in the double header against the South African sides (with the Sharks and Lions only combining for 16 pens conceded) Glasgow subsequently ‘won’ the penalty count in their fixtures against Leinster, Dragons and Exeter. You would have to go back more than two years to find a lower number of penalties conceded by the Warriors than the 6 they gave up versus the Chiefs.

Mr Busby is a high penalty count ref compared to many of the officials in the league so in his third appearance in a Glasgow fixture he will provide a real test of this improved discipline.


Additional ref stats from: https://www.cardiffrfcfans.com/analysis/referee_heads.php?countryID=3

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