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

KO 7.35 at Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday 19th February 2022

Live on Premier Sports 1

  • Rhyno Smith and Carl Wegner are the only players in the visitors’ XV who also started for Benetton when these sides met in Treviso just under three months ago (there are 7 returning starters for the Warriors).
  • Benetton have 17 players absent on international duty as well as another 9 injured (and 4 of those players were in Italy’s initial Six Nations’ squad and appear to have picked up injuries while away with the Azzurri).
  • In the last three years Benetton’s only win outside Italy in the URC, Rainbow Cup or PRO14 came in March 2020 when they beat the Dragons at Rodney Parade.
  • The average age of Glasgow’s starting backline is 25.4 years. The average age of the starting pack is 29.9 years.
  • Behemothic prop Oli Kebble is the Warrior to Watch.

Teams

GLASGOW

BENETTON

Ollie Smith
Walter Fifita
Kyle Steyn
Sam Johnson
Rufus McLean
Domingo Miotti
George Horne

15
14
13
12
11
10
9

Tommy Bell
Lorenzo Pani
Joaquin Riera
Filippo Drago
Rhyno Smith
Tomas Albornoz
Alessandro Garbisi

Oli Kebble
Fraser Brown (c)
Simon Berghan
Kiran McDonald
Richie Gray
Ryan Wilson (c)
Thomas Gordon
Jack Dempsey

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Thomas Gallo
Giacomo Nicotera
Nahuel Tetaz
Irne Herbst
Carl Wegner
Manuel Zuliani
Yaree Fantini
Lorenzo Cannone

Johnny Matthews
Nathan McBeth
Enrique Pieretto
Lewis Bean
Ally Miller
Jamie Dobie
Ross Thompson
Stafford McDowall

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

Corniel Els
Matteo Drudi
Filippo Alongi

Marco Lazzaroni
Matteo Meggiato
Alessandro Izekor
Luca Petrozzi
Ratuva Tavuyara

Head to Head:

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

Glasgow Greetings:

There are first starts for both Walter Fifita and Domingo Miotti. Big Walter’s only other appearance came off the bench against Ospreys in early January while Domingo’s sole previous cap was as a sub versus Dragons at the beginning of December.

Matchday Milestones:

George Horne will make a third consecutive start at 9 for just the second time in the last four seasons. Oli Kebble will play his 12th match in a row for Glasgow – the longest streak among this season’s squad.

Warrior to Watch:

While he might be listed at 124kg on the club’s website, Glasgow prop Oli Kebble has been quoted at weights as high as 140kg by the coaching staff. Whatever the truth of it there’s no question he is a man mountain. Playing at both loosehead and tighthead this season he has been a rock at scrum time, in particular with strong performances at Scotstoun against some heavyweight competition in the Champions Cup.

In the URC, Oli has been one of Glasgow’s top carrying options and has a 98% tackle completion rate to show that he’s working hard on both sides of the ball. He’s a wee bit overdue for a try with his last one coming back in October 2020 – although given his predilection for scoring against Welsh teams it’s possible he has the upcoming fixtures against Scarlets and Cardiff in his sights!

With Rory Sutherland due to miss the remainder of the Six Nations, Oli will know that Gregor Towsend and co. will be watching the prop’s performance against Benetton. Expect a huge shift from the big man as he goes out to prove he deserves a return to the Scotland setup.

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

  • 7 wins
  • 1 loss
  • 5 try BPs
  • 1 losing BP
  • 34 points out of a possible 40 (85%)

Previous match-up at Scotstoun:

Officials:

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 56th league game)
AR1: Keith Allen (SRU)
AR2: Dunx McClement (SRU)
TMO: Ben Blain (SRU)

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

Matches – 18
Average penalty count – 21.6 per game
Home side penalties conceded percentage – 54.3%
Average card count – 1.5 per game
Penalties per card – 14.3

Since the retirement of George Clancy, Mr Murphy seems to have become the league’s go-to for taking charge of Warriors’ fixtures. This will be the Irish whistlers second trip of the season to Scotstoun, having taken charge of nearly a quarter of Glasgow’s games during 2020/21.

Eleven weeks ago against the Dragons, the Warriors managed to avoid any cards but it was a different story in the previous campaign. Across five fixtures, Mr Murpy red carded Adam Hastings and sin binned Richie Gray, Nick Grigg, TJ Ioane, Ryan Wilson and Cole Forbes (twice!). Possibly not the ref that Fraser Brown would want in charge when he’s trying to avoid picking up a third consecutive yellow card in games at Scotstoun…


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

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