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Munster v Glasgow Warriors - teams and prediction

URC ROUND SEVEN: Round Seven of the United Rugby Championship kicks off with a blockbuster between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Musgrave Park.

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The trip to Cork is very crucial for the Glasgow Warriors as Franco Smith’s team has a chance of putting some daylight between themselves and Leinster in what has been an absorbing race at the top of the URC table so far.

The Scottish side have been in fine form. They comfortably beat Leinster in the opening round and recorded an impressive win over another Irish giant Ulster last week.

A win against the champions in their own backyard will be another big statement for the Warriors, who have racked up an impressive record at home under Smith’s coaching, with an unprecedented 19 consecutive league wins in the URC.

Their only previous visit to Ireland this season ended in a disappointing 26-34 defeat to Connacht.

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However, that defeat was in Round Two and since then Glasgow has been building momentum and a win over Munster will solidify their credentials as proper contenders for the URC trophy.

At the same time, beating Munster will put a serious dent in the reigning champion team’s own quest to be a top-four finish.

Indeed, it shouldn’t be forgotten that it was Munster who ended the Glasgow challenge last season.

Graham Rowntree’s men achieved the only positive result for a visiting team to the Scotstoun in the URC when they won the quarterfinal 14-5 (the Glasgow home record is built around regular season successes) to start off the winning sequence that ultimately saw them installed as champions.

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Knowing the importance of the fixture, Smith travels to Musgrave with 10 internationals in his starting XV.

“The URC is such a competitive competition, yet travelling to Munster remains one of the most difficult challenges in the league,” Smith said.

“Munster are defending champions for a reason; they are a team filled with experience and international quality who know how to perform on the big stage.

“It will be a huge challenge for us and we know we have to be at our best tomorrow [Friday].”

It has been an eventful week at Munster, with RG Snyman announcing he will be departing at the end of the season, which was followed by the confirmation that he will be out injured until March.

His lock partner, fellow Springbok Jean Kleyn, who signed a two-year extension in the face of a rumoured big offer from a French club, will also miss this weekend’s encounter due to injury.

On top of that, Ireland international loose forward Peter O’Mahony has resigned the captaincy after more than 10 years in the saddle and having led his team to a trophy drought-breaking win over the Stormers in last year’s URC Final in Cape Town.

O’Mahony is out injured at the moment after sustaining a shoulder injury against the Stormers that will also force him to miss the first round of the Champions Cup. In his absence, hooker Diarmuid Barron has led the team, but coach Rowntree said he will continue to pick the team leader on a game-to-game basis for now.

Rowntree said Munster are enjoying the vibe at their alternative venue in Cork and didn’t believe it would lessen their chances of winning that they will be playing on a 3G pitch, which Glasgow might be more used to as their home ground Scotstoun has a synthetic 4G surface.

“I like the atmosphere down there. Obviously, we play a lot on 4G and we have got a 4G facility here that we can train on if we want.” Rowntree said.

“We are used to it now. I actually really like the atmosphere down there.”

Prediction
@rugby365com: Glasgow Warriors by three points

Teams: 

Munster: 15 Shane Daily; 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Seán O’Brien, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Craig Casey; 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 John Hodnett, 6 Tom Ahern, 5 Tadhg Beirne; 4 Edwin Edogbo, 3 Stephen Archer; 2 Diarmuid Barron (captain), 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Scott Buckley, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Brian Gleeson, 20 Alex Kendellen, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Alex Kendellen.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Kyle Rowe, 13 Sione Tuipuluto, 12 Stafford McDowall (captain), 11 Ollie Smith, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Sione Vailanu, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Lucio Sordoni, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Nathan McBeth
Replacements: 16 Angus Fraser, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Max Williamson, 21 Thomas Gordon, 22 Ben Afshar, 23 Tom Jordan

Date: Friday, December 1
Venue: Musgrave Park, Cork
Kick-off: 19.35 (19.35 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Dan Carson (Ireland), Sam Holt (Ireland)
TMO: Aimee Barrett Theron (South Africa)

 

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