Munster Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby
Date: Fri 29th November 2019
Venue: Irish Independent Park
Richard Cockerill has been at work in the press this week, sowing the seeds of his annual attempts to wind up Glasgow Warriors players and fans, but before Wasps back-to-back and the 1872 double-header he’s got a tricky fixture away to Munster.
Stuart McInally returns to the starting XV and it is a welcome return also for Hamish Watson, now recovered from the injury sustained against Ireland in the Rugby World Cup. That back row of Bradbury, Watson and Mata sets the mouth watering.
On paper this is a very strong Edinburgh team up against a pretty raw Munster side, away from Thomond Park. It shouldn’t be seen as a done deal but would be worth Edinburgh putting the effort in to pick up valuable points against their conference rivals.
There are rumours also of a return to Edinburgh for Greig Laidlaw who apparently will not stay at Clermont beyond this season. He might not set the hearts of fans in love with Edinburgh’s new attacking approach on fire, but it would be more experience in the squad should his wage be affordable. If not, he could end up in the Gallagher Premiership instead.
Munster: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold, Dan Goggin, Alex Wootton; Ben Healy, Nick McCarthy; Liam O’Connor, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea; Jack O’Donoghue (C) Tommy O’Donnell, Arno Botha.
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Keynan Knox, Jed Holloway, Conor Oliver, Neil Cronin, JJ Hanrahan, Rory Scannell.
Edinburgh Rugby: Blair Kinghorn, Eroni Sau, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, Pietro Ceccarelli, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata.
Replacements: Mike Willemse, Rory Sutherland, Simon Berghan, Lewis Carmichael, Ally Miller, Charlie Shiel, Simon Hickey, George Taylor.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster Rugby
Date: Sat 30th November 2019
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium
Jonny Gray is finally back in action following his enforced rest period and will be looking to push Glasgow on to greater things than they have shown so far this season.
Also getting a start is the much-discussed Huw Jones who had been rumoured to be looking at short term deals abroad to see out the season – his agent has since denied such rumours are true – who partners Sam Johnson in midfield.
Jones is part of a starting XV that is hugely experienced – the back row unit has 548 appearances between them. Experience counts for a lot but they welcome a Leinster side missing more than a few of the big names.
Unlike Munster and Edinburgh, Leinster have a comfortable points cushion over Glasgow in their conference after Glasgow’s poor start so may be looking at this one as a development exercise, or indeed are just really confident in their frightening level of depth.
Kiwi prop Aki Seiuli will make his first Glasgow appearance from the bench, which also features (fresh from Super 6) Adam Ashe and Stafford McDowall.
Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Nikola Matawalu, Pete Horne, Ali Price; Oli Kebble, George Turner, D’arcy Rae, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Aki Seiuli, Adam Nicol, Kiran McDonald Seran, Adam Ashe, Nick Frisby, Stafford MacDowell, Kyle Steyn.
Leinster Rugby: Hugo Keenan, Adam Byrne, Jimmy O’Brien, Conor O’Brien, Cian Kelleher, Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Devin Toner, Josh Murphy, Will Connors, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Jack Aungier, Oisin Dowling, Scott Penny, Hugh O’Sullivan, Ciaran Frawley, Fergus McFadden.
Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)