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Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Preview: Glasgow Warriors v Connacht

Andrew Lawton 12 Apr 2018

A win for Glasgow Warriors over Connacht at Scotstoun on Friday will secure top spot in Conference A and with it a home semi-final in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

The Warriors have only lost three times in the Guinness PRO14 this season and are unbeaten in their last three matches against Connacht, winning the reverse fixture 18-12 at Sportsground in September.

What’s at stake?

For Glasgow, this is the first of three attempts to win Conference A, but Connacht, sitting in sixth place, have Champions Cup qualification ambitions on their mind.

With Toyota Cheetahs ineligible to play in European competition, the fifth-placed team in Conference A will have a play-off against the fourth-placed side in Conference B to decide who plays in next season’s Champions Cup.

Connacht need to win at Scotstoun to have any hope of overtaking Ospreys into fifth and will need to turn around the form that has seen them taste defeat in their last three Guinness PRO14 fixtures.

Team news (Glasgow Warriors)

Scotland internationals Alex Dunbar and Fraser Brown return to the Glasgow starting XV as two of seven changes to the side that started the defeat at Scarlets last weekend.

Alex Allan and Zander Fagerson start alongside Brown in the front row, while Scott Cummings will partner Jonny Gray behind them.

There are two changes at half-back, with Henry Pyrgos and Peter Horne coming in for Ali Price and Finn Russell, both of whom start on the bench.

Ryan Wilson suffered a chest injury against Scarlets and is replaced by Matt Fagerson.

Team news (Connacht)

Flanker Jarrad Butler is named as captain for the second game in a row and is joined in the back row by Eoghan Masterson at six and Eoin McKeon, who continues at No.8.

Quinn Roux returns to the second row to partner Ultan Dillane, while in the front row, hooker Tom McCartney and Finlay Bealham join Denis Buckley.

Peter Robb had a successful return from injury last time out and is joined in the midfield by Bundee Aki, and the final change sees Darragh Leader start at full-back in place of Tiernan O’Halloran.

Talking points

Warriors head coach Dave Rennie said: “It was a pretty flat performance last week.

“We created opportunities but our lack of accuracy let the foot off the throat converting just one of our seven line breaks. Against quality sides, you’ll get punished.

“Connacht lead the competition in ball carries with the ability to look after possession for long periods of time. It will be a great test of our defensive resilience.”

Connacht forwards coach Jimmy Duffy said: “We are definitely targeting victory against Glasgow at the weekend.

“It will be a huge challenge, and after their loss at the weekend, they will be gunning for us, so it’s going to be a competitive fixture.

“We have been within range of a lot of teams this year which shows we are competitive, but we are looking for continuous improvement and that is the driving factor.

“We need to express ourselves and realise our potential.”

Key battle – Peter Horne v Jack Carty

The Warriors are trialling a new half-back pairing for this game with Henry Pyrgos at scrum-half and Peter Horne getting the nod at 10, ahead of Finn Russell.

Horne has featured more at centre this season and his opposite number at Connacht, Jack Carty, will look to target the Scot, searching for any signs of weakness.

In a game that Connacht need to win, they will be looking for anywhere they can gain even a slight advantage and Horne will need to be at his best to marshall the game.

Key stat: Warriors have a 100 per cent record at Scotstoun in the Guinness PRO14 this season, with nine wins from nine, gaining 44 league points and allowing their opponents zero.

Did you know? Connacht’s only two victories over Warriors since 2001 both came in their Championship winning season of 2015/16.

Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Sam Johnson, DTH van der Merwe, Peter Horne, Henry Pyrgos, Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins (C), Matt Fagerson

Replacements: Grant Stewart, Jamie Bhatti, Siua Halanukonuka, Kiran McDonald, Chris Fusaro, Ali Price, Finn Russell, Niko Matawalu

Connacht Rugby: Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, UItan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (C), Eoin McKeon

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Gavin Thornbury, John Muldoon, Caolin Blade, Tom Farrell, Stacey Ili

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)

AR1: David Wilkinson (IRFU) AR2: Jonny Erskine (IRFU)

TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)

TV: BBC Alba, TG4

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality, visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages, visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s, visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

First-half masterclass sees Glasgow defeat Connacht

Jimmy Booker 13 Apr 2018

Glasgow Warriors displayed attacking flair and excellent finishing to secure top spot in the Guinness PRO14 Conference A and confirm a home semi-final with a 35-22 win over Connacht Rugby.

A blistering opening period by Dave Rennie’s side saw them run in three tries and open up a 22-point lead over their Irish visitors which they held onto with comfort.

It was their tenth victory from ten at Scotstoun this season and sent another message to their Guinness PRO14 rivals ahead of the semi-finals.

Finlay Bealham crashed over in just the second minute to give Connacht the dream opening and hint of a possible upset but Stuart Hogg crossed the whitewash for the hosts almost immediately after the restart, Peter Horne making no mistake with the boot as the home side hit back immediately.

Horne then added three penalties as Glasgow stretched their lead to gradually wrestle control of the encounter.

Jack Carty cancelled one of these out on 25 minutes with three points of his own, but again the Warriors roared back and were over through Alex Dunbar moments later, Horne adding the extras in typically clinical fashion.

And the home side dealt another blow to Connacht’s hopes of a comeback in overtime – after a scrappy push for the line, Fraser Brown got the telling movement and Horne’s trusty left boot adding two more to make it 30-8 at the break.

And any danger of Glasgow taking their foot of the gas with such a commanding cushion was put to bed three minutes into the second half.

Henry Pyrgos finished off a flowing break with a desperate dive under pressure, crashing home at the base of the post. Referee Frank Murphy awarded the hosts the bonus-point score after consultation with the TMO.

A spirited Connacht then thought they had found their second score of the night, but TMO again ruled against them as it deemed the ball was not grounded.

Connacht did strike ten minutes from time through Caolin Blade, who finished off following a superb break from Stacey Ili, Carty adding the extras.

And the scoreline was made more respectable when Murphy awarded a penalty try to the visitors four minutes from the end after an infringement at the scrum.

But despite a hugely improved second-half display, it was too little, too late for Connacht as Glasgow secured the victory.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138