With losses for both teams in the opening round of the new PRO14 season, both coaches have naturally made adjustments while beginning preparations for the inevitable loss of players during the upcoming International window.
Munster v Edinburgh
Sat 10th October
Thomond Park, Limerick
Jamie Ritchie and Duhan Van Der Merwe return to the starting lineup for Edinburgh, with both newly announced co-captains Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist starting.
Blair Kinghorn is out injured but other than that it’s a strong looking back line and largely first-choice pack. Any worries will revolve around depth on the bench where there a number of inexperience names.
You can read more previewing this game on Gav’s piece here.
Munster: Mike Haley, Andrew Conway, Alex McHenry, Rory Scannell, Matt Gallagher; Ben Healy, Craig Casey; Jeremy Loughman, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan; Fineen Wycherley, Tadhg Beirne, Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander (Capt).
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, James Cronin, Roman Salanoa, Gavin Coombes, John Hodnett, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Dan Goggin.
Edinburgh: Damien Hoyland; Darcy Graham, Mark Bennett, George Taylor, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Nic Groom; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally (Co-captain), WP Nel; Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist (Co-captain); Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Nick Haining.
Replacements: Mike Willemse, Pierre Schoeman, Simon Berghan, Andrew Davidson, Mesulame Kunavula, Dan Nutton, Nathan Chamberlain, James Johnstone.
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 185th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher, Peter Martin (both IRFU)
TMO: Joy Neville (IRFU)
Unavailable due to injury: Blair Kinghorn, Luke Crosbie, Magnus Bradbury, Henry Pyrgos, Viliame Mata, Fraser McKenzie, Chris Dean, Charlie Shiel, Matt Gordon
Glasgow v Scarlets
Sun 11th October
Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Ali Price starts at scrum-half for the second week in a row while Huw Jones continues his adventure at fullback. It seems to be working so far for Glasgow, but could it really be a route back to international rugby as Danny Wilson suggested?
Sam Johnson is not yet at full fitness so Stafford McDowall and Nick Grigg continue in the centre. No sign yet of either Leone Nakarawa or new signing, Samoan International TJ Ioane. Richie Gray is set for his 50th Glasgow cap off the bench.
Having Zander Fagerson and Tom Gordon back from Covid isolation is good news, but that’s a strong Scarlets team. Discipline will need to be better, especially at scrum time but with Zander back can hopefully they can get the whole scrum moving forward rather than just Oli Kebble wheeling it.
Gordon probably offers a bit more going forward than Fusaro, but which one is truly first-choice at the moment? Elsewhere in the back row, the highlight of the game could be a head to head (sort of) between Matt Fagerson and Blade Thomson, both of whom will be eyeing a spot in Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad – set to be announced early next week – with Number 8 arguably one of the most openly available shirts in the Scotland XV.
Glasgow Warriors: Huw Jones; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Stafford McDowall, Ratu Tagive, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown (Capt); Rob Harley, Scott Cummings; Ryan Wilson, Tom Gordon, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: George Turner, Aki Seiuli, D’arcy Rae, Richie Gray, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Pete Horne, Niko Matawalu.
Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny; Tom Rogers, Jonathan Davies (Capt), Johnny Williams, Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Sam Lousi, Blade Thomson, Josh Macleod, Sione Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Ken Owens, Phil Price, Javan Sebastian, Lewis Rawlins, James Davies, Kieran Hardy, Rhys Patchell, Steff Hughes.
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 36th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Ben Blain, Hollie Davidson (both SRU)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)
Additional reporting: Iain Hay