PRO14 Round 4: Glasgow vs Munster

Going into this round with the season now well and truly under way unless you were on the Lions tour – we’re still waiting for our lads to stick the boot in like Sean O’Brien did this week – and Glasgow are 3 wins from 3 games, but so are Munster.

A draw aside, that’s likely to change on Friday night, as last season’s bogey team come to visit Scotstoun.

The encounters between the two teams last season were often tetchy affairs at best and volatile at worst – StandingLegGate anyone? – so it is perhaps fitting that Glasgow’s, um, coolest head Ryan Wilson returns to captain the side that squeaked past Cardiff. The front row that has started all of Glasgow’s games so far reforms again this weekend, while new cult favourite Callum Gibbins will be itching to take on that Munster pack.

In the backs Finn Russell resumes his Scotland pairing with Ali Price while Ruaridh Jackson continues to be quietly effective at full back. Pete Horne replaces Alex Dunbar at inside centre as he picked up a knee knock in Wales – word from Rennie was that could keep him out for a while.

There’s a welcome return from injury for Rob Harley on the bench and Sam Johnson and Leo Sarto also return to add late impetus should it be required.

While Edinburgh are perhaps dreading encounters with some of the league’s big beasts, Glasgow are probably relishing this one in order to see how far they have progressed in their development, especially against a team who turned them over four times home and away last season.

As for Munster there are plenty of the names that stifled the Warriors down so effectively last season present, but they too are missing their Lions save for 2013 model Simon Zebo.

Without Keith Earls or Conor Murray to wind up, where will the Warrior Nation turn their attention next?

Glasgow: R Jackson, L Jones, N Grigg, P Horne, R Hughes, F Russell, A Price; J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, S Cummings, R Wilson (capt), C Gibbins, A Ashe.
Replacements: P MacArthur, A Allan, D Rae, B Alainu’uese, R Harley, H Pyrgos, S Johnson, L Sarto.

Munster: A Conway, D Sweetnam, C Farrell, R Scannell, A Wootton, T Bleyendaal (capt), D Williams; L O’Connor, R Marshall, S Archer, J Kleyn, B Holland, S O’Connor, T O’Donnell, J O’Donoghue.
Replacements: N Scannell, D Kilcoyne, J Ryan, F Wycherley, R Copeland, J Hart, J Taute, S Zebo.

Glasgow’s unavailable players: Adam Hastings (thigh), Lelia Masaga (calf), Tommy Seymour (thigh), Fraser Brown (ankle), Alex Dunbar (knee), Jonny Gray (wrist), Stuart Hogg (shoulder), Oli Kebble (foot), Paddy Kelly (ankle), Ratu Tagive (achilles), Richie Vernon (achilles) and Samuela Vunisa (knee).

Referee: Nigel Owens

Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 22 September, live on BBC Two Scotland (kick-off 7.35pm)

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36 comments on “PRO14 Round 4: Glasgow vs Munster

  1. Neil on

    i dont get the swinson cummings combo in 2nd row , feels way to small and the pack with the front row playing… guess im just not looking forward to scrum time.

  2. JohnMc on

    As FF has said, this looks like a less than full strength Munster side though I’m sure they will be, as ever, a tough outfit. Zebo on the bench was a surprise.
    Good to see Price as the starting 9.
    Glasgow’s first really big test this season. A bit of history now between these two sides, so wouldn’t be at all surprised if handbags are wielded at some point.

  3. Sean on

    After missing the Ospreys game, can’t wait to get back to Scotstoun tonight. A bit of a concern over front 5 looking a bit light weight. Coaches have stuck with it so must believe in the unit. Back row looks strong and not a bad second choice 11-15. A lot of these guys will be playing a lot of games through the season when the Scotland players are away. Already a difference to the toonie tombola in Rennie’s approach. Looking forward to seeing how we go and hopefully turning over Munster!

  4. TeamCam on

    Rennie reckons Gray, Brown and Seymour will be back in contention for the Treviso game, which is pretty good news. Sadly Dunbar may not make the AIs, but as long as Taylor and Jones are still fit, that’s acceptable.

  5. Nicholas on

    As a Scotsman living in London I REALLY want to see Glasgow do the business in Europe this season. Almost as much as I’d like a 6N win at The Principality, or a Calcutta Cup win.

  6. Bulldog on

    I have a quiet respect for Rory Hughes.He has a robustness about him and I hope it is his night.It will be interesting to see how Nigel Owens is managing the change of emphasis.Big test and a big night for the warriors.

  7. pragmatic optomist on

    Agree what you say about Hughes. The other 4 backs look seriously lightweight.
    A bit like having 4 scrum halves playing at the same time in the backs.
    Hopefully they’re on the front foot and don’t have to much defending too near the line.
    Not much of a contest against the Munster beasts.

  8. Clarkie on

    Is Greg Peterson injured (can’t see him on the list) or has he left? Would have liked to see big Bri get a start ahead of Swinson as he would add some real bulk to the front 5. Hope Horne does well in the centre as I expected him to be 4th choice 12 with the emergence of Grigg and Johnson as well as 3rd choice 10, but he does seem to communicate well on the pitch and really help his team mates. Should be a great match, I expect Gibbons to relish the challenge against the Munster back row, come on Glasgow!

  9. JohnMc on

    Great stuff, Glasgow. Only just got in and first task was to check BBC website with some apprehension to see result/score. Deep joy. Well done, you Warriors.
    As an aside, Treviso confirmed tonight they’ve moved up from not being mugs to being a lot more than that.
    And Leinster stuffed to boot. Interesting times!

  10. Virverax on

    Satisfying-very satisfying indeed. Dominant performance by Glasgow, got the edge in the needle stakes and made Munster pay for the gamble of sending a second string side. Ryan Wilson led well , Finn Russell deserved man of the match (Gibbins close though), great physicality team spirit and defence. By no means perfect though and scrum still a worry as was ball retention and errors in the first half. Sarto gets a special mention for staying on and his great work in the last try and Cummings for finishing it off. This game was a joy to watch!

  11. Frazer on

    Great game of rugby, Glasgow clinical at times but still not firing on all cylinders. Munster were not really at the races, undisciplined, and although their scrum was solid their lineout struggled.

    Couple of points I noted: our front row was good enough in the loose but their scrummaging needs work. I also think Turner’s lineout throws are a bit floaty. Second, it looks like we are still trying too hard for that killer offload. Rennie said in the week that we need to slow it down and go through the phases to take a bit of pressure off the defence – which was very good again.

    Still, BP win against Munster and top of the league is not to be sniffed at at all.

  12. Mikelinds on

    Front row aside, Glasgow took them apart. I know Munster weren’t at their strongest. Neither, by a long way were Glasgow.

    Rennie looks like he wants them to play even faster than Toonie so I think that’s great all round.

    Thought Sarto should have got a bit more praise from the pundits, obviously a nasty knock and did well thereafter. Gibbons is Favaro with a rugby brain.

    So far, excellent, and that, tonight aside without playing very well. 👍🥃

    • Ade on

      Great point about Gibbons Mike. I was devastated to see Simone leave at the end of last season and couldn’t see the point of it at all. Three games in and you wonder how Glasgow managed to win a game without Gibbons being in the squad.

      Case in point the try scored by Jones tonight. Fantastic sense of adventure to run the ball from that position, but the way Gibbons read the play was excellent, and the inside pass at high speed was dreamy – made me think about the 2 on 1 Sean Lamont butchered in Wales a few years back.

      Hard to say that a single player could define a clubs season, but if Gibbons stays fit through the international windows then you can see Glasgow sitting very pretty come play off time. In some ways it is similar to John Hardie at Edinburgh, the difference being that Gibbons is augmenting a proven squad, whereas Hardie was expected to save a sinking ship. Can’t wait to see the 1872 games with Gibbons against Hardie or Watson.

  13. pragmatic optomist on

    Great games from Cummings, Gibbins and Sarto.
    The scrum and not controlling the ball in the tackle are still issues, but a great performance nonetheless.
    Strange that the big backs were injured (Hughes, Sarto) while the ‘midget squad’ (Horne, Grigg, Jones,Jackson) were all fine.
    I’d have given the MOM award to Sarto myself, even if his tackle to give away the first try was a shocker. A great broken field runner.

    • Mikelinds on

      Yeah, agree, Sarto was top. The try was only just after he got the knock, he was obviously suffering so he got targeted. The ‘midgets’ as you say were outstanding, to think that might be Glasgow’s second choice three’s is frightening.

      Plenty to do up front. That might just cut it in Pro 14, but won’t in cup.

      Still, very, very encouraging. I like everything Rennie is doing.

      • Bulldog on

        What a great day at the office.

        I think we need to believe this is Glasgow’s first choice side. They played as a team, made mistakes, recovered. Managed the first half better than usual and what a second half.

        No big ego’s to feed, just honest play for the team , play for the town rugby. Modest, unassuming names enjoying their night.

        Full Marks to Sarto and Finn Russell who will be in agony this morning.

      • Ade on

        Bulldog – Glasgows first choice team? Hardly. Consider you have Dunbar and Seymour on the short term injury list, and Brown, Gray and Hogg on the long term sick. Those five would all come back into the side and have a positive impact. It is credit to the guys that have been involved that they were able to dismantle a reasonable Munster side without missing the quintet named above.

        There will be harder games ahead though, and that’s when you will want to see the likes of Gray and Hogg back in harness for the extra nous and edge they will bring.

      • FF on

        Pretty sure gray and brown are back imminently and will be available for AIs. Not much has been said about Hogg’s return though. Also Huw Jones is going to be vying for a starting berth.

  14. Neil on

    i have not seen jackson make many mistakes either since he has been back and had some nice kicks to take the pressure of us, lee jones is pushing on from his consistent form and starting to add some try scoring potency which is great to see , seymour has his work cut out for him to get back into the squad at this rate, sarto again one of his first touches of the ball and tears munster a new one.

    biggest worry is the scrum and its going to bite us in the ass sooner or later , batti turner and fagerson exceptional in the loose but dreadful in scrum, swinson had a better game but im still not convinced we have enough bulk power in that pack.

    the fact J.gray fraser brown and potentially hananukonaka and kebble are still to return to the 23 squad will hopefully address our scrum issues.

    Last thing , is that 16-17 kicks in a row russell has nailed ? seems the need for laidlaw is going quickly.

    • Mikelinds on

      Good spot, Finn’s kicking from tee has come on miles (?Bit of coaching from CP). That said, from hand as well. He pretty well nailed everything tonight.

    • Ade on

      The possible lack of oomph in the scrum is counterbalanced by the skill set elsewhere on the pitch. At least that is how it looks with Rennie coming from Super Rugby. The worry is that teams like Sarries, Clermont, and maybe Toulon will match those skills in the loose and beast you in the scrums…..

      Still early days yet, and when you think that Fagerson, Rae, Bhatti, Turner are all relative babes in arms, it might be short term pain for long term gain.

  15. Andyc on

    Superb stuff. Pro 14 underrated league imho I said last week Treviso result may not be seen as that odd in the long run and the South Africans will improve. Think it will be a great season

  16. TeamCam on

    Great stuff from the Warriors – never should have doubted them. Yes, the scrum needs to be sorted out, but when the team click they are unstoppable. The most satisfying part is that they still haven’t reached their potential and, as others have noted, still have a buttload of great players to come back from injury. Exciting times.

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