Glasgow Warriors head coach Danny Wilson was caught by surprise when the Vodacom Bulls team named for Friday night’s clash in Pretoria did not include Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback. DYLAN JACK reports.
Bulls coach Jake White pulled a massive surprise when he named 19-year-old Canan Moodie at fullback for Friday night’s game, with James Verity-Amm coming into the starting lineup on the right wing.
Arendse, whose sensational performances had him named SA’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship Player of the Month for March, has been ruled out of the game with a fractured thumb which could keep him out for up to six weeks.
Speaking after naming the Glasgow team to face the Bulls, Wilson said that change is something they were not expecting, but would discuss ahead of the crucial tie at Loftus Versfeld.
“We planned a lot knowing that the fullback – he has been outstanding and a real threat from a running point of view – was going to start. It is something we have briefly spoken about. The [Bulls] team was only announced 45 minutes ago, but it is something we are going to be talking about more going into the game.”
Wilson has made seven changes to the team that ran out against the Stormers in Cape Town last weekend, with the Warriors knowing that a win of any kind will secure them a place in the URC knockout stages.
One of those changes has Duncan Weir joining his fellow Scotland international Ali Price in the halfbacks.
Wilson said that the decision to field Weir, with over 120 appearances, was made as Glasgow expect a tactical battle against Bulls and Bok veteran Morne Steyn.
“That is part of it. We need to make sure that we develop and prepare our squad tactically this time, it is horses for courses. Altitude, in terms of the kicking game, does become, whether we like it or not, important. You have to be able to have a kicking game. You have to be able to exit well. Otherwise, we will have a massive pack of forwards sat on our 22 and be facing driving lineout after driving lineout.
“Field position and the territory battle at altitude are going to be big. So, Duncan is part of that process. As we know he is a very educated, excellent kicking 10, but can also play that running game when we have asked him to. Ross didn’t have his best game on the weekend, by his own admission, but he has played quite a bit of rugby for us at the moment. There was always going to a be point where we had to make sure we are managing the squad and giving opportunities. Duncan will get his opportunity and hopefully he takes it.”
Glasgow will be captained by blindside flank Ryan Wilson, who has returned to the starting lineup after missing the loss against the Stormers.
Glasgow Warriors – 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Josh McKay, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Cole Forbes, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Ryan Wilson (c), 5 Richie Gray, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Subs: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Kiran McDonald, 20 Thomas Gordon, 21 Jamie Dobie, 22 Ross Thompson, 23 Sam Johnson.
Photo: Twitter – @GlasgowWarriors