Glasgow ready to seal top four place
PRO 12 LEAGUE Glasgow v Connacht:THIS GAME still matters for Glasgow. Defeat could see the Scarlets or possibly even Ulster leapfrog over them into the fourth play-off position.
That would be a disaster for Seán Lineen’s team after some impressive European results and more consistent form than their chief rivals Edinburgh managed this season. Glasgow had three players selected in the Pro 12 team of the season – Duncan Weir at 10, prop Jon Welsh and lock Tom Ryder – a semi-final spot would legitimise that recognition.
Lineen’s team will be keen to blitz Connacht as a bonus-point victory could leave them third, thereby ensuring they avoid Leinster in a semi-final in Dublin in seven days. They were hammered 38-13 at the RDS in the November Heineken Cup Pool match.
Connacht coach Eric Elwood has made three changes, promoting three Irish players, with Adrian Flavin ahead of Ethienne Reynecke at hooker, Johnny O’Connor in for the departing Ray Ofisa at openside and Eoin Griffin starting at inside centre as Kyle Tonetti is shifted to the wing.
They are in pursuit of their best ever finish of eighth in the table but could yet finish 10th.
“Glasgow are riding high in the league at the moment, their coach is leaving, they’re leaving Firhill and they are also gunning for a top four position so we know the pressure’s on them and they’ll be coming out all guns blazing but at the same time we’re looking to cause an upset and finish a record eighth, that would be a very good return for us this season,” said Connacht veteran John Muldoon.
“We’re really looking to finish on a high and saying goodbye to some great servants of the club, that goes for everyone, from fellas like Henry (Fa’afili) who has been here for just a year to the likes of Ray (Ofisa) who’s been here for over six years. We’d like to give them the send-off they deserve, and on top of that wish (CEO) Gerry Kelly the best of luck in his retirement as well so we’re really looking to a big performance.”
Still, Glasgow’s form and current incentive indicates the result will go in their favour.
GLASGOW WARRIORS: S Hogg; F Aramburu (capt), A Dunbar, G Morrison, DTH va der Merwe; D Weir, H Pyrgos; J Welsh, D Hall, M Low; T Ryder, R Gray; R Harley, C Fusaro, J Barclay. Replacements: P MacArthur, M Cusack, R Grant, A Kellock, C Forrester, C Cusiter, R Jackson, C Shaw.
CONNACHT: G Duffy (capt); K Tonetti, E Griffin, H Fa’afili, T O’Halloran; M Nikora, F Murphy; D Buckley, A Flavin, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon, J O’Connor, G Naoupu. Replacements: D Murphy, S Maguire, R Ah You, M Kearney, R Ofisa, P O’Donohoe, M Jarvis, J Loxton.
Referee: P Fitzgibbon(Ireland).
Verdict: Glasgow win.