Match Preview | Connacht
Glasgow Warriors will kick-off their 2020/21 campaign this Saturday evening, as Danny Wilson’s squad travel to Galway to take on Connacht.
It will be
the fourth time in five years that the Warriors open their Guinness PRO14 season
on Ireland’s west coast, as the two teams meet for the first time since
will be looking to pick up where they left off at the end of the 2019/20
season, when a 15-3 victory over Edinburgh saw them close out the campaign in
A trip to
the Sportsground always provides a tough test, however, with Connacht looking
to avenge the last-gasp defeat they suffered at the hands of the Warriors back
Glasgow’s opponents shape up ahead of Saturday evening’s clash:
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Friend’s side finished the shortened 2019/20 season in fourth place in
Conference B, with eight wins and seven defeats from their 15 matches.
The men in
green returned to rugby in style in August, as four tries secured a 26-20
bonus-point victory over eventual runners-up Ulster at the Aviva Stadium.
undone a week later, however, as first-half red cards for Abraham Papali’I and
Shane Delahunt consigned Connacht to a 49-12 defeat at the hands of Munster.
supporters bade farewell to a host of long-term club servants over the summer,
as the COVID-19 shortened season brought about a premature end to the club
careers of some fan favourites.
Guinness PRO12-winning winger Niyi Adeolokun was amongst those to leave the
Sportsground as he joined Bristol Bears, with Australian back-rower Colby
Fainga’a making the switch to Lyon.
second-rower Joe Maksymiw also left the Galway side to join Guinness PRO14
rivals the Dragons, whilst Tom McCartney and Eoin McKeon both hung up their
boots for the final time in their professional careers.
his coaching staff recruited shrewdly in the off-season, bolstering the
Connacht squad with some acquisitions from their provincial rivals.
Arnold and flanker Conor Oliver made the switch from Conference B rivals
Munster, whilst highly-rated prop Jack Aungier and second-rower Oisin Dowling
joined from reigning champions Leinster.
Australia 7s coach Friend also took the opportunity to bring in one of his
former charges, as speedster Ben O’Donnell agreed to join Connacht from the
abbreviated form of the game.
international fly-half Jack Carty has long been a stalwart in the Connacht
side, and the 28-year-old is likely to once again be the man to make his side
tick. A reliable goal-kicker and threatening with ball in hand, Connacht’s
success is likely to depend on Carty’s performance.
Rugby and Guinness PRO12 winner, Bundee Aki is another man around whom
Connacht’s game plan revolves. One of the league’s most physical carriers, the
centre is a key driver of momentum for both club and country.
Jarrad Butler has quickly become a talismanic figure in the green of Connacht.
Comfortable in any of the back-row positions, the New Zealander leads from the
front every time he steps over the whitewash.
season’s meeting between the two sides having been cancelled due to the
COVID-19-enforced shutdown of the Guinness PRO14, you have to go back to
2018/19 for the most recent meetings between Glasgow Warriors and Connacht.
minute drop-goal from Stuart Hogg settled a titanic affair at the Sportsground
in round one, as the full-back’s intervention saw the Warriors emerge with a
27-26 victory over their hosts.
went on to do the double over the Irish outfit in round 16, as Grant Stewart
and Robbie Nairn each crossed for a brace in a 43-17 win at Scotstoun in
referee Craig Evans will be the man in the middle for Glasgow’s opening match
of the 2020/21 season, as he takes charge of his 11th championship
Gallagher and Eoghan Cross will be his assistants, whilst Olly Hodges will be
on hand as Television Match Official if required on Saturday evening.
can watch the match live on Premier Sports 1 this weekend, with kick-off
scheduled for 5.15pm on Saturday evening.
also be live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland MW, as well as full live coverage
on our Match Centre at glasgowwarriors.org.
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