Munster return to Scotstoun Stadium, the scene of last May’s semi-final defeat, as they look to gain revenge on Glasgow Warriors and hold onto top spot in the GUINNESS PRO12.
GUINNESS PRO12: Saturday, December 20
GLASGOW WARRIORS (3rd) v MUNSTER (1st), Scotstoun Stadium, 2.40pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)
Team News: Head coach Anthony Foley has rung the changes for Munster’s GUINNESS PRO12 round 10 showdown with Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday.
Foley makes eight personnel changes to the starting side that suffered defeat to Clermont Auvergne last Sunday. In rotating the squad, there are five changes to the pack with Kevin O’Byrne and Stephen Archer joining John Ryan in the front row.
Billy Holland is named alongside Paul O’Connell in the second row, while Sean Dougall and Robin Copeland link up with captain Peter O’Mahony in the back row.
The changes to the back-line see Denis Hurley and Pat Howard (pictured below) return as the province’s starting centre partnership, with the versatile JJ Hanrahan making the positional switch to out-half this week.
In the final switch, Johne Murphy starts at full-back and joins wingers Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway in a strong back-three combination.
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors boss Gregor Townsend has shuffled his deck for the visit of Munster with the first of the changes seeing Peter Murchie replace Stuart Hogg at full-back.
Sean Lamont comes in for Sean Maitland on the right wing, and the club’s record try scorer DTH van de Merwe takes over from Tommy Seymour on the opposite side.
Richie Vernon continues at outside centre, with Peter Horne coming in for the injured Alex Dunbar. Finn Russell keeps his place at out-half, while Niko Matawalu comes in for Henry Pyrgos at scrum half.
It is an all-new front-row, compared to the one which started against Toulouse last weekend, with Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown and Euan Murray replacing Ryan Grant, Pat MacArthur and Jon Welsh respectively.
Leone Nakarawa replaces Tim Swinson in the second row, with Jonny Gray continuing in the engine room. Rob Harley moves to the blindside flanker, Tyrone Holmes comes in at openside and Josh Strauss once again captains the sidefrom number 8.
Among the replacements is Dougie Hall, who returns from a six-week spell out injured, and James Downey, who could come on to face his former team.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: Peter Murchie; Sean Lamont, Richie Vernon, Peter Horne, DTH van der Merwe; Finn Russell, Niko Matawalu; Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, Euan Murray, Leone Nakarawa, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Tyrone Holmes, Josh Strauss (capt).
Replacements: Dougie Hall, Alex Allan, Jon Welsh, Tim Swinson, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, James Downey, Tommy Seymour.
MUNSTER: Johne Murphy; Andrew Conway, Pat Howard, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; John Ryan, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Sean Dougall, Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Niall Scannell, Eusebio Guinazu, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Dave O’Callaghan, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Felix Jones.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Andrew McMenemy, Lloyd Linton (both Scotland)
Television Match Official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)
Pre-Match Quotes: Brian Walsh (Munster) – “Glasgow have definitely been the form side of the PRO12 so far. They’ve had a similar fortnight to us in terms of losing to Toulouse twice and being close to them both times.
“Obviously us going over to Glasgow, there’s a bit of history there, and I’m sure at home Warriors will be looking to get their PRO12 campaign back up and running and flowing with the confidence that they’ve been playing with so far this season.
“It’s a very tough task to head to a place like Scotstoun, and coming out of the intensity of Europe can put a strain on your squad – the knocks and bangs and the short turnaround – but we got the review of Clermont out of the way and we’re now very focused on putting in a performance in Glasgow and hopefully getting a result.”
Gregor Townsend (Glasgow Warriors) – “After our European double header with Toulouse, our focus now returns to the PRO12 and our clash with the league leaders.
“Munster are incredibly tough opponents and we know we face another huge challenge at Scotstoun on Saturday afternoon.
“With both teams coming off the back of losses in Europe, we will see two highly motivated sides and with Munster sitting one point above us in the PRO12 it is shaping up to be a cracking match. Once again we’re expecting a large crowd to get behind the team.”
Top Scorers – 2014/15 GUINNESS PRO12: Glasgow Warriors – Points: Duncan Weir 54; Tries: Niko Matawalu, Tommy Seymour 3 each; Munster – Points: Ian Keatley 68; Tries: Simon Zebo 4
RECENT LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Saturday, April 14, 2012 – Munster 35 Glasgow Warriors 29, Musgrave Park
Saturday, December 1, 2012 – Munster 31 Glasgow Warriors 3, Thomond Park
Friday, March 29, 2013 – Glasgow Warriors 51 Munster 24, Scotstoun Stadium
Friday, October 25, 2013 – Glasgow Warriors 6 Munster 13, Scotstoun Stadium
Saturday, April 12, 2014 – Munster 5 Glasgow Warriors 22, Thomond Park
Friday, May 16, 2014 – Semi-final – Glasgow Warriors 16 Munster 15, Scotstoun Stadium
– Glasgow Warriors’ last four fixtures in the GUINNESS PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day
– The Warriors have won their last twelve PRO12 matches at Scotstoun Stadium, continuing their club record for home wins since losing there to the Dragons in November 2013
– Munster’s only defeat since round 1 of the GUINNESS PRO12 came at home to the Ospreys in round 4
– The Munstermen have not lost a PRO12 regular season game outside of Ireland since they visited the Scarlets on March 1
– In last season’s PRO12 each side won its respective away game before Glasgow won the semi-final 16-15 at Scotstoun
– The Warriors have won three of their last four clashes with the Munstermen, including a 22-5 success at Thomond Park last April