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Magners Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Connacht

Magners Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Connacht

Connacht came so close last weekend to ending their winless run away from home in the Magners League. Can Eric Elwood’s men bounce back from that late loss to the Scarlets and leave Firhill Stadium with their first win on Scottish soil since September 2006?

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 17

GLASGOW WARRIORS (8th) v CONNACHT (3rd), Firhill Stadium, 6.30pm

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Team News: Connacht coach Eric Elwood has named his starting line-up to play Glasgow Warriors in Friday’s Magners League tie at Firhill Stadium.

The selected matchday squad sees just one change from last weekend’s narrow loss to the Scarlets in Llanelli. Andrew Browne makes his return from injury on the replacements bench, taking over from Dave Nolan.

Ray Ofisa (neck), Niva Ta’auso (hand) and Bernie Upton (head) all passed fitness tests and travelled with the squad to Glasgow on Thursday morning.

Troy Nathan (shoulder), Jamie Hagan (hamstring) and Miah Nikora (dead leg) have also shaken off their respective knocks.

Scrum half Frank Murphy continues to deputise as team captain, in place of the injured John Muldoon.

The westerners head into the game in third place in the Magners League table, with Ian Keatley the competition’s top points scorer (43 points) and Fionn Carr the joint top try scorer (3 tries).

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors coach Sean Lineen has finalised his side for the Celtic clash, which comes just five days after their 23-11 defeat at the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Robert Harley, who has impressed off the bench in recent weeks, will get his first start of the season.

He comes in at blindside flanker, joining returning team captain John Barclay in the starting back row.

Scotland international Barclay adds some valuable experience to the pack, having recovered from a troublesome Achilles injury.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Bernardo Stortoni; DTH van der Merwe, Max Evans, Graeme Morrison, Hefin O’Hare; Ruaridh Jackson, Colin Gregor; Jon Welsh, Fergus Thomson, Ed Kalman, Tom Ryder, Richie Gray, Robert Harley, John Barclay (capt), Richie Vernon.

Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Kevin Tkachuk, Moray Low, Aly Muldowney, Calum Forrester, Henry Pyrgos, Duncan Weir, Peter Murchie.

CONNACHT: Gavin Duffy; Troy Nathan, Niva Ta’auso, Keith Matthews, Fionn Carr; Ian Keatley, Frank Murphy (capt); Brett Wilkinson, Sean Cronin, Jamie Hagan, Michael Swift, Bernie Upton, Michael McCarthy, Ray Ofisa, Mike McComish.

Replacments: Adrian Flavin, Ronan Loughney, Rob Sweeney, Andrew Browne, Shane Conneely, Cillian Willis, Miah Nikora, Tiernan O’Halloran.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: David Changleng, Iain Bruce (both Scotland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Glasgow Warriors to win: 1/6; Draw: 25/1; Connacht to win: 10/3

Pre-Match Quotes: Eric Elwood (Connacht) – “(Even thought we lost to the Scarlets), I think we showed great character last weekend. When you’re playing 20 minutes of the game with 14 men, it’s a great testament to the fighting capabilities of the lads.

“We made it a bit difficult on ourselves by not getting out of our own half, but when we got into the oppositions half three times we got three great scores.

“We are aiming to pick our strongest team (to play Glasgow). We feel there are points to be got from the Glasgow game, and if we have to taper our sessions to field the best team, we will.

“It’s important for us. In certain positions we don’t have options, so it is important to give the guys a rest to enable them to play.

“Glasgow is always a tough place historically. They are battlers, a very physical team with a good set of forwards that compete at the breakdown.

“They work hard in defence and are very committed, so we will not get anything easy.”

Sean Lineen (Glasgow Warriors) – “Robert (Harley) is being rewarded for all his hard work. He’s got a fantastic attitude and has made a big impact every time he’s come on.”

“Friday night will be a huge physical test. Connacht are coming into the game with some momentum, so we know we’re going to have to really front up.”

Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Glasgow Warriors – Points: Ruaridh Jackson 15; Tries: DTH van der Merwe, Richie Gray 1 each; Connacht – Points: Ian Keatley 43; Tries: Fionn Carr 3


Friday, October 5, 2007 – Glasgow Warriors 16 Connacht 15, Firhill Stadium
Friday, November 30, 2007 – Connacht 10 Glasgow Warriors 6, the Sportsground
Friday, September 19, 2008 – Connacht 15 Glasgow Warriors 8, the Sportsground
Friday, May 15, 2009 – Glasgow Warriors 30 Connacht 9, Firhill Stadium
Friday, October 23, 2009 – Glasgow Warriors 34 Connacht 20, Firhill Stadium
Friday, March 5, 2010 – Connacht 19 Glasgow Warriors 19, the Sportsground


– Glasgow Warriors’ slip-up at the Newport Gwent Dragons ended a five-match winning run in Magners League regular season matches

– The Warriors’ only defeat in their last nine encounters at Firhill Stadium in all competitions was a 30-7 loss to the Cardiff Blues on February 19 last

– Glasgow have not lost at home to an Irish side since Ulster were the visitors in April 2009

– Connacht’s narrow 35-33 loss at the Scarlets last Saturday was notable for winger Fionn Carr who became just the second Connacht hat-trick scorer in Magners League history, following Wayne Munn against Caerphilly in 2001

– The westerners have not won in Scotland since a visit to the now disbanded Border Reivers in September 2006

– Glasgow are unbeaten in their last three games against Connacht, while Connacht’s only previous win in Glasgow was a 30-19 victory at Hughenden in September 2003