This Friday’s PRO14 clash between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium sees both sides come into the game undefeated. Munster currently lead Conference A on 14 points while this weekend’s opponents lie in second place, just a point behind Rassie Erasmus’ side.
The two former champions met on four occasions last season in all competitions with Munster coming out on top in all four meetings. Each of those games were close though, Glasgow securing a losing bonus point in the last three outings.
Glasgow boast the best defence in the conference, giving up just 2 tries in three games, while Munster have only conceded 3. The Irish province have a far superior points difference of 69 compared to the Warriors 28, following big scoring wins in their opening two games at home to Benetton and the Cheetahs.
Team news (Munster):
Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus hasn’t changed things around too much this season, again this week the South African has made just one change, as inside centre Rory Scannell comes in to make his first start of the season.
Dave Kilcoyne, is included amongst the replacements, having successfully rehabbed from the knee injury he sustained in the win over Cheetahs.
This Friday will mark 10 years since veteran forward Billy Holland made his competitive debut for the province. He starts in the second row alongside the free-scoring Jean Kleyn, who has gone over for 4 tries in 3 games.
Holland says that he expects a tough test against a Warriors side that have improved under new head coach Dave Rennie.
“They’re playing some seriously good rugby this year and Dave Rennie has added a new dimension to their play. They’ve recruited well, they’ve started well and they seem to have an added edge to their play this year, particularly in defence. It’s going to be a tough test.”
Team news (Glasgow Warriors):
Captain Ryan Wilson returns for the Warriors he comes in as the only change to the pack that started in the win over Cardiff Blues last Saturday.
Ali Price and Rory Hughes both return to the starting XV, while Peter Horne comes in to sart at inside centre. Rob Harley is included for this first time this season having overcome an ankle injury. Sam Johnson and Leonardo Sarto are also named amongst the replacements.
Warriors have made an impressive start to the season seeing off Connacht and Ospreys, while they came out the right side of a close affair in Cardiff against the Blues last weekend.
Munster will come into the game high in confidence following bonus point wins over Benetton and the Cheetah, while they claimed a good win away to Ospreys last week.
Battle of the 10’s
Finn Russell has had an impressive start to the Guinness PRO14 campaign kicking nine from nine from the tee.
The Scotland fly-half, had a successful summer, beating Australia with Scotland and then being called in to join the British & Irish Lions.
Russell’s counterpart Tyler Bleyendall will maybe feel he has a point to prove this week following a below-par performance last time out against Ospreys.
The Kiwi captains the side again against Glasgow but he may yet find himself battling it out for the number 10 shirt this season. With competition from JJ Hanrahan who’s returning to full fitness, the experienced Ian Keatley always ready and prepared to come in, and Garryowen’s Bill Johnston coming through the ranks.
Glasgow Warriors: 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, 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, 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
Match officials – Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU), AR1: Keith Allen (SRU), AR2: Lloyd Linton (SRU) TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)